Lucic goes on Boston radio, talks Miller hit: “The fans enjoyed it…it was entertaining for them.”

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Shortly after his meeting with NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan, Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic appeared in studio with “Felger & Mazz” on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston.

Before we discuss the interview, some context — The Sports Hub is the Bruins’ flagship station (also, the Patriots). There’s a decidedly pro-Boston feel to its coverage…which is why it might not have been the smartest place for Lucic to appear immediately after meeting Shanahan.

You know, because the hit and hearing were kind of contentious. And still a touchy subject for the Sabres.

Regardless, here’s the clip. Some of the more choice quotes include:

On the Miller hit: “I could not have avoided him. (Laughs) No, I couldn’t have. And even if you look at the replay I straighten out my body to lessen the impact as much as I could. I mean, that’s not the type of player that I am to go around running goalies. Obviously the fans enjoyed it…it was entertaining for them.”

On if he believes the hit caused Miller’s concussion: “All I can say is that it’s unfortunate he got hurt. He got hit later on in the period when [Ville] Leino pushed [Tyler] Seguin into him — he got hit just as hard. You get bowled over twice like that, something’s going to happen and it’s unfortunate he got hurt.”

On Miller saying Lucic outweighs him by 50 pounds and calling him a piece of (expletive): “Correction on the 50 pounds…I think I’m 60 pounds heavier than him. (Laughs) So that’s one point. You know what? Whatever. He wanted to stick around and say what he said…I’m not the type of guy that likes to talk trash in the media and I’m not gonna stir things up. If I wanna talk trash, I’ll talk it on the ice so he can hear it directly.”

On Buffalo’s lack of response: “I’m not calling their team out…all I’m gonna say is everyone knows if it happened on our end of the stick what would happen. (Host asks: What would happen?) Well, how we would react — and we’ve shown in the past how we do react.”

On if he thinks this kind of hit should be legal: “Even though we made contact (Laughs)…We made a lot of contact (Host: “You ran him!”)…I braced myself to try and lessen the impact. But if a guy is going out of his way to bury a goalie, I don’t think there’s anything like that. But if it’s a collision that’s unavoidable, there’s nothing you can do about it.”

You can forgive Lucic for what at times sounded like nervous, uncomfortable laughter, but that’s about it. Regardless of what you thought of the hit, joking about it on air with Wacko Willy and The Boosh (or whatever they’re called) isn’t the savviest PR move.

At best, it sounds like he’s having a chuckle at Miller and at worst, he sounds like a sixth-grader that just pulled one over on the principal. As Dave Stubbs from the Montreal Gazette tweeted:

source:

Measure of revenge: Kings delay clinching efforts for Flames, Blues

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Deep down, the Los Angeles Kings probably realize that their season will end on game 82. Still, they kept their slim playoff hopes alive on Wednesday night … and managed to spite a team they’re growing to hate.

OK, maybe the hate is almost totally focused upon Matthew Tkachuk, yet the disdain for that talented-but-tormenting rookie was palpable.

It didn’t feel like the Kings exacted physical revenge on Tkachuk, but beating his team 4-1 ranked as classic scoreboard vengeance. With that, the Calgary Flames (and by extension the St. Louis Blues) will need to wait to clinch a playoff berth.

Now, as much as tonight was about Tkachuk, the focus was also on a pugnacious player who once dazzled for the Flames: Jarome Iginla.

In what might be Iginla’s final visit to Calgary – at least as an active NHL player – he was one of the best players on the ice. His fitting curtain call included a “Gordie Howe hat trick” with a spirited fight, an assist and a goal.

Seriously, that fight with Deryk Engelland:

That goal included a bit of luck, but hey …

Iginla was named the first star of the contest, and cameras captured his big smile in enjoying a special night. For all the nastiness of that game, it was refreshing to see such a heartwarming moment.

For more on the violence, check out this post on the early stuff and this one on Tkachuk’s missed missile launch on Drew Doughty.

Kings and Canucks will square off in first NHL exhibition games in China

graphic via NHL
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It’s official: the NHL will hold preseason games in China before next season.

The league made the announcement on Wednesday night: the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks will play two exhibitions: one on Sept. 21 (Shanghai) and Sept. 23 (Beijing). How cool is that?

“It is a privilege and an honor for the L.A. Kings to represent the National Hockey League in China as part of these two games against the Vancouver Canucks,” Kings president Luc Robitaille said. “Growing the game of hockey is something we take great pride in and it is a big priority for our hockey club and AEG as a whole. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our players and our staff, and we are looking forward to the games taking place in two tremendous facilities in two remarkable cities.”

The press conference inspired some jokes tonight.

Some of the best bits came in roping in … Kobe Bryant and David Beckham?

Alrighty then.

Click here for more details.

 

Video: Drew Doughty (mostly) avoids massive Matthew Tkachuk hit

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Hockey is such a fast sport that it’s probably not so easy to make someone your “target.” Instead, a big hit often comes down to the right combination of circumstance and timing.

Still, there’s no denying that Matthew Tkachuk is gunning for Drew Doughty (and the Kings are gunning for Tkachuk) on Wednesday.

Doughty isn’t oblivious to that notion, either, as you can see him avoid what looked like a pretty terrifying hit above.

We’ve already covered the early violence in this game, and it’s quite possible that there will be more carnage going forward. Stay tuned.

Blackhawks bolster Central lead, shine harsh light on Penguins’ struggles

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Blame it on injuries if you want, or emphasize the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall hot finish to the season. Either way, Chicago scorched the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 5-1, a contest that felt more or less over by the time the first period ended 4-0 in the Blackhawks’ favor.

The Blackhawks scored by committee on Wednesday, with Artemi Panarin (goal, assist) and Patrick Kane (two assists) being the headliners. Meanwhile, former Penguin Marian Hossa has quietly climbed to 25 goals on the season.

Meanwhile, the Penguins limped through this one and have now lost four consecutive games.

With this result, the Blackhawks look like close to a lock to win the Central Division title. Meanwhile, the Metro crown is virtually unthinkable for Pittsburgh, and the Penguins might also need to accept the likelihood that they may not enjoy home-ice advantage in the first round.

They’d probably accept that more easily if they can get healthier and get back on track. Wednesday was a little worrisome in those regards.