Lucic suspended one game for boarding

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TSN reports that NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan has suspended Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic one game for boarding Philly’s Zac Rinaldo:

Lucic received a five-minute major and game misconduct for the hit, which was all kinds of contentious. Rinaldo didn’t appear hurt on the play (in fact, he jumped up and tooled on Nathan Horton) and later said he didn’t think the hit was dirty.

Lucic didn’t agree with the call, saying “I felt like I made every effort to take him out laterally” and “you can see even him, his body rotating because I took him from the right side.” B’s head coach Claude Julien said much of the same, claiming that Lucic let up and Rinaldo turned at the last second.

No matter, though.

Shanahan opted to suspend Lucic anyway, and one wonders what would’ve happened if he didn’t. Looch ran afoul of the league earlier this season after charging Ryan Miller (though he ultimately avoided punishment) and holds repeat offender status thanks to a one-game suspension for crosschecking Maxim Lapierre in the face during the 2009 playoffs.

Throw in the fact other incidents involving Bruins went unpunished — Adam McQuaid’s knee on Nick Foligno, Brad Marchand’s slew-foot on Matt Niskanen — well, it was almost too much for the conspiracy theorists to handle. (With this out of the way they can now move onto other theories, like how the DaVinci Code foretold the recent concussion pandemic.)

Of note, this is just the second single-game suspension Shanahan’s issued this year. The other went to Buffalo’s Ville Leino for an elbow to the head of Philly’s Matt Read.

Zac Rinaldo was cool with Milan Lucic hitting him questionably

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While fans might be outraged, Zac Rinaldo is totally cool with how he was hit by Milan Lucic.

Rinaldo is a tough character the same way Lucic is, but he tells Tim Panaccio of CSNPhilly.com that he’s all right and that Lucic’s hit is just how the game is played.

“It’s hockey, you hit and go into the boards, I don’t think it was dirty at all,” Rinaldo said. “Shoulder-to-shoulder and just momentum. He’s big guy, maybe double my weight. His momentum carried him into the boards awkwardly. I don’t think it was dirty at all.”

That’s all well and good for Rinaldo to be cool with it, but now it’s up to Brendan Shanahan to decide if he’s OK with the hit. Lucic had his meeting with Shanahan earlier this morning over the hit and we should know soon what his fate is. Boston has a game tonight against Montreal and if there’s anything that’s true in life, the Canadiens are rooting for the league to come down hard on Lucic just for the evening.

The Big Question: How would you grade Brendan Shanahan’s job performance?

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The Big Question will be a weekly feature on PHT where we ask a question, provide some background and ask you, the reader, to weigh in with your opinions.

Today’s question: How would you grade Brendan Shanahan’s job performance?

NHL disciplinarian is a tough job, something Brendan Shanahan is discovering after enjoying a brief honeymoon in the position. No longer is everyone patting him on the back for his “tough on crime” approach or for making videos that clearly explain the decision-making process. There aren’t many, if any, teams that have yet to disagree with a Shanahan ruling that either suspended a player or didn’t.

Mostly the complaints have focused on Shanahan’s consistency, or lack thereof. If this guy got this many games, why did this guy get that many games? Watch this video, now watch this one. How’s that play any different from that one?

Shanahan knows he can’t please everyone all the time, but is he pleasing enough people most of the time to deem his performance a success?

For what it’s worth, I’ve only taken issue with a handful of his verdicts.

First was letting Wojtek Wolski off the hook for hitting Daniel Alfredsson in the head. I thought Wolski did that intentionally.

Second was the Milan Lucic-Ryan Miller incident. While I don’t think Lucic deserved to be suspended for running over Miller, I disagreed with Shanahan’s conclusion that Lucic couldn’t have avoided the collision.

Finally, I thought Jordin Tootoo’s two-game suspension for running over Miller was harsh. Not that Shanahan didn’t warn players there’d be a “heightened sensitivity to the well-being” of goalies after the Lucic-Miller incident, but a major penalty was sufficient in my view.

Feel free to disagree. Those are just my takes. Yours might be different. Which is why Shanahan’s job is so tough. There are so many variables to each incident, and with each variable there’s an opportunity for people to have conflicting opinions.

Given the difficulty of the job, I’d give Shanahan a B-plus for his performance to date. How ‘bout you?

Tootoo gets two-game suspension for running Miller

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NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan has suspended Nashville’s Jordin Tootoo two games for charging Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller. Let’s go to the video…

One thing the exhaustive breakdown (2:30 in length) fails to mention is the Miller-Lucic incident, which loomed large over this entire scenario. No surprise Shanahan steered clear of Lucic’s contentious hit, but he might’ve made a subtle allusion to it by saying:

“It should be noted that interference on the goalkeeper can be penalized with a minor. There will be times when the contact with the goaltender and the call on the ice will be suitable for the offense.”

(Lucic got dinged two minutes for charging Miller.)

Tootoo will miss games tonight vs. Phoenix and Dec. 8 at Columbus and forfeit $13,513.52 of salary to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

He will be eligible to return Dec. 10 vs. Anaheim, which is awesome because the Ducks and Predators hate each other.

GMs discuss protecting goalies at meetings

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We understand some of you might be getting sick of this whole “protecting the goalie” topic. If that’s the case, we’re sorry. However, the league’s general managers were concerned enough to talk about it this morning during their meetings in Toronto, so we have to report it. If you’re not interested, click here to read Mike Florio’s Week 10 NFL power rankings. The 49ers at No. 2? Whodathunkit!

Anyway, Penguins GM Ray Shero believes the NHL’s decision to not suspend Milan Lucic for his hit on Ryan Miller could have unfortunate consequences.

“If you get into a playoff series and these guys are going to play pucks and you run (goalies) over and get a two-minute penalty, I think you’re going to open up a set of pretty dangerous circumstances,” Shero said, as per NHL.com.

While such concerns were surely raised, it sounds like the meeting was more about clarifying the current rules than anything else.

“Brendan [Shanahan] has said the goalie is not fair game and that’s going to be the message to our team,” Shero said. “The goalie is not fair game. If the guy is going to play it outside the crease you have to be pretty careful.”

So just to reiterate, the goalie is not fair game. It’s right here in the rulebook.

Lucic wasn’t suspended because, as the rulebook states, “incidental contact, at the discretion of the Referee, will be permitted when the goalkeeper is in the act of playing the puck outside his goal crease provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact.”

Shanahan accepted Lucic’s defense that contact was unavoidable. I didn’t see it that way, but I’m not Shanahan. If I was, I’d have nicer clothes.