Milan Lucic, the big player who insists on playing as small as possible.
The Bruins bruiser can throw his weight around with the best of them and turn the momentum of a game (or a career, if you ask Mike Komisarek) with a big check. But he’s not just a physical player – Lucic can score too. He’s reached 30 goals once and 20-plus goals on two other occasions. The moral of the story: Lucic has a place in the NHL.
But, holy moly, what’s with his cheap stick tactics?
Lucic has had his run-ins with the Canadiens defenseman in the past, the most recent transgression being a stick to Emelin’s groin area in late March. That shot was famously followed by Lucic calling Emelin a chicken (you read that right).
Then came Lucic’s $5,000 fine for sticking Detroit’s Danny DeKeyser between the legs in Round 1. He didn’t call DeKeyser any names that time, but Lucic did note that “I think I’ve only done that three times.”
Now comes another stick incident.
According to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, the Canadiens are “fuming” over what they perceived to be a spear by Lucic to Emelin’s midsection. It occurred with about 12:05 remaining in the third period after Lucic had his rush into Montreal’s zone broken up by Emelin. There was no penalty on the play.
But should there have been? You be the judge:
Lucic will neither receive a fine or suspension for this play.
As a 6-foot-4, 220-pound player with a natural size advantage on most of his opponents, Lucic needs to be above this kind of cheap stick play, because he’s rather rapidly making a bad name for himself. These kinds of plays, especially from an oversized player, are indefensible.
This play did not deserve a suspension, but to not even fine him for continuing this troubling trend of his is ridiculous. If the NHL isn’t going to do anything about Lucic now, when do they come down hard enough on him to get the point across that this behavior is unacceptable?
If he does it to P.K. Subban, would it be treated any differently by the league?