NHL rescinds Lucic's misconduct

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NHL rescinds Lucic's misconduct

BOSTON -- Just hours after the Bruins had fallen short in a heated 4-3 Stanley Cup rematch to the rival Vancouver Canucks, the NHL announced Milan Lucics game misconduct for leaving the bench during an altercation had been rescinded.

The major penalty was coupled with a two-minute minor for roughing less than four minutes into the first period after Lucic arrived to the defense of Shawn Thornton getting swarmed by six Canucks attackers.

Video replays after the game confirmed that Lucic was perfectly in the right, but the damage was done with the Bs power forward missing the final 56 plus minutes of the game.

Video replays revealed Lucic with one skate on the ice and one skate on the bench at the time of the Thornton confrontation with Alex Burrows, who speared the Bs enforcer near the throat between the two benches. Daniel Paille, the player that Lucic was replacing on the fly, was standing in the bench area watching the entire confrontation.

So Lucic was within his rights to be on the ice, and really didnt deserve to be ejected from one of Bostons biggest games of the year. He had entered the ice legally over the boards and was about to step back onto the bench through the door when he changed course and joined a scrum.

"The referees reacted to what they saw," NHL Director of Officiating Terry Gregson said. "The only player they saw coming from the bench area from either team was Lucic. But with the benefit of replay, we can see that Lucic had previously entered the ice over the boards legally to join the play and actually was contemplating stepping back onto the bench through the door when the altercation ensued.

"It should be further noted that a review of the video confirmed that all players on both teams involved in the altercation had entered the ice legally for the purpose of joining the play. None entered the ice for the purpose of joining or starting an altercation, which is prohibited by Rule 70."

But it seemed the refs made the call under some duress to keep control of the game for the remaining 56 minutes, and Lucic ended up on the losing end of the equation in a game that could have gone much differently with No. 17 taking regular shifts on the ice.

I feel badly that they had seven guys on the ice and Looch was on a change and he gets ejected for coming in to my defense, said Thornton. So, I feel bad that we lose one of our best players after all that. But I guess thats the end of it."

Thornton attacked snapped back at Burrows with an unwitting Sedin caught in the crossfire, and that turned into six Canucks skaters along with two players on the bench holding him down attacking the forward like a prison-style group beating.

Im a big boy I can handle myself. Im not worried about that. I was more upset with the spear to the throat. I thought, I mean I dont lose my cool for no reason, said Thornton. Im a pretty I see myself as a pretty honest player. But, Im not going to let someone spear me in the throat. Im also a man so I stand up for myself.

Lucic jumped in along with Nathan Horton, Zdeno Chara and David Krejci among others to defend the fallen Thornton. At the time it seemed questionable whether the Bs power forward actually left the bench, but it was too late once the official call had been made that Lucic was done for the day. The Bruins coaching staff spent the rest of the day scrambling to replace Lucic and Brad Marchand after both players were thrown out of the game.

Give full credit to Benoit Pouliot and Gregory Campbell to filling into that humungous void, but its just not the same for a Black and Gold team looking for all of their firepower against a motivated Canucks bunch.

When you lose your top two left wingers you put yourself in a little bit of a whole, said Chris Kelly in the understatement of the year. But we had guys step up. I thought Pouliot had a great game getting juggled around the lineup, and helped set up that Peverley goal.

Following the game Bs coach Claude Julien felt Lucic would be in the clear in the eyes of Brendan Shanahan and the Player Safety Department, and he was eventually proven correct with this evenings announcement.

Im not blaming the referees theyre in the middle of a scrum there but Looch was on the ice already. It wasnt an illegal change; he didnt come off the bench, said Claude Julien. There are no issues there in my mind; its clear.

Whats unfortunate is that we lost a pretty good player early in the game, and thats what is more disappointing: A guy looking forward to playing this game, hes from Vancouver, and he gets tossed out, but he actually didnt do anything wrong. Well let the league, again, take care of that stuff because theres nothing more we can do.

The Bruins and Lucic have the consolation prize of the big wingers game misconduct being rescinded and a tacit admission by the league he did nothing wrong. But that doesnt do a lot of good when the proverbial has already been spilled with the game already lost to Vancouver, does it?

Cassidy: 'Trying to set a standard' of being one of the NHL's better teams

Cassidy: 'Trying to set a standard' of being one of the NHL's better teams

BOSTON – The Bruins have won seven of eight games under interim coach Bruce Cassidy and are fortifying their position as the third playoff team in the Atlantic Division with each passing victory.

The 4-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes at TD Garden on Tuesday night probably shouldn’t be all impressive based on the Yotes standing as the second-worst team in the NHL, but it was a classic trap game coming off a long West Coast road trip. Instead of falling for the trap the Bruins exploded for three goals in the second period, energized by a shorthanded Riley Nash strike, and continue to extend the winning stretch they need in order to punch their playoff ticket.

The postseason clincher is still a long way away from reality, but Cassidy said the B’s are starting to achieve the elevated level of play they’re aiming for while finally getting the full potential out of their team.

“I just want the guys to make sure that they play confident, solid hockey and believe in themselves. And play to a [higher] standard,” said Cassidy. “We’re trying to set a standard where we’re one of the better teams in the National Hockey League. They’ve been there before, the leadership group here. That’s where we’re striving to get through in the end.”

They haven’t exactly shied away from the competition either, twice beating the first-place San Jose Sharks and shutting out the first place Montreal Canadiens in the final straw that saw Michel Therrien axed in favor of Claude Julien.

The B’s have now opened up a three-point cushion over the Maple Leafs for their playoff spot and they’ve averaged 4.13 goals per game (33 goals in eight games) while allowing just 2.13 goals per game (17 goals in eight games) in the eight games going from Julien to Cassidy. 

The challenge now is to maintain that level of play over the final 19 games of the regular season to drive home their playoff bid and finish strong at a point where in each of the past two seasons they’ve utterly imploded.


 

Wednesday, March 1: Bruins okay with not dealing

Wednesday, March 1: Bruins okay with not dealing

Here are all the links from around the hockey world as NHL trade deadline day is upon us with no promise of fireworks in Boston.

*As referenced above, there’s a good chance the Bruins won’t be doing much today and they’re perfectly okay with that.

*Craig Custance grades every move made ahead of the trade deadline with plenty of action out of the way early.

*The Vancouver Canucks will not be trading Ryan Miller, which is smart given the normal market for No. 1 goaltenders.

*The New York Rangers lost out on the Kevin Shattenkirk rental sweepstakes at the deadline, so they’ve opted for Brendan Smith instead.

*The Florida Panthers may make a move at the deadline (which they did in acquiring Thomas Vanek) but they will not make or break their team with deadline deals.

*Doug Armstrong says that Shattenkirk was frustrated by his role with the St. Louis Blues, and that played into his trade to the Capitals.

*For something completely different: It’s a national holiday in Canada as Jay and Dan will be returning to their natural habitat.