Author: Matt Reitz

Vancouver Canucks v Boston Bruins

Lucic game misconduct penalty rescinded


The NHL has rescinded the game-misconduct penalty that was assessed to Milan Lucic in the wild first period of the Bruins/Canucks game Saturday afternoon. Initially, the on-ice officials ruled that Lucic left the bench to join an altercation. With the benefit of replay, league officials saw that Lucic had initially jumped on the ice during a normal line change, then was starting step back onto the bench before getting involved in the scrum.

Here’s the explanation from the National Hockey League Senior Vice President and
Director of Officiating Terry Gregson:

“The referees reacted to what they saw,” 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

NHL Rule 70.1 – Leaving the Bench reads: “No player may leave the players’ or penalty bench at any time during an altercation or for the purpose of starting an altercation.”

Yeah, we could watch these two teams go at it for seven games in June again.

No Lehtonen, no problem for Stars

Anaheim Ducks v Dallas Stars

Jaime Benn and Mike Ribeiro each had a pair of goals against the Edmonton Oilers as the Stars earned the 4-1 victory. The win was their second straight game and third in four contests. But despite the goal scoring, the most impressive part of the victory yet another stellar effort by rookie goaltender Richard Bachman.

Bachman’s victory was the sixth win in only eight decisions for the first-year netminder.; his remarkable play has earned him the back-up role over veteran Andrew Raycroft. Even though this is unquestionably Kari Lehtonen’s team, the organization must feel good about having a strong, young netminder grow into his potential.

The perfect example was Saturday afternoon. The team expected Lehtonen to get the start until he feel ill before the game. Bachmann proved once again that he was up to the challenge.

“I felt good. I had some pretty good practices, I felt the last few days,” the rookie Bachman said. “I am just trying to stay ready so when stuff like this happens I can go out there, feel comfortable and confident and give the team a chance to win. I felt good.”

Even without their workhorse goaltender, it really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the Stars were able to beat the Oilers at home. The Stars’ victory pushes their record to 10-0-1 at home since 2006 against Edmonton. Now if they could just play the Oilers at home 82 times per season, they’d be guaranteed playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Tampa’s Connolly set to return after WJC

Brett Connolly
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The Tampa Bay Lightning are set to receive a late Christmas gift as winger Brett Connolly returns from Team Canada’s World Junior Championship squad to join his NHL team for tonight’s game in Montreal. The 19-year-old was able to score five goals in six games for the Canadians in the prestigious under-20 tournament over the last two weeks.

The player the Lightning are getting back should be a more mature player more than one area. Coaches for Team Canada asked the talented sniper to play with a physical edge while taking a leadership position with the team. He proudly wore the “A” and was one of Canada’s better players throughout the tournament.

The performance wasn’t lost on Lightning head coach Guy Boucher—specifically the leadership Connolly showed in Canada’s exciting 6-5 loss to Russia. “I thought he showed incredible character,” Boucher said. “I was told that when it was 6-1, he was one of the first guys to stand up and say it wasn’t over, and we know what happened after.”

“He scored in almost every game he played, but what I liked was his drive and dedication to doing the details of a winner and that’s what we’re asking of him,” the Lightning coach continued. “Coming back, we don’t want to change him or put pressure on him. Right now, he’ll replace (J.T.) Wyman, because he’s a right-hander and he’s got speed like him.”

If the Lightning get a player back who is a better teammate in the locker room and a more physical presence on the ice, then the decision to release Connolly to Team Canada will prove to be a wise one. So far so good.