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.

Boston’s lineup a mystery tonight vs. Montreal

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Your guess as to Boston’s lineup tonight against Montreal is as good as anybody’s — and that includes the Bruins head coach, Claude Julien.

“Our lineup is one that’s probably the most uncertain so far this year,” Julien said after his team’s optional morning skate.

Why so uncertain? Well, Milan Lucic’s status is still up in the air pending a disciplinary hearing with Brendan Shanahan. Gregory Campbell, who missed the last three games with a fractured foot, practiced on Sunday and could return to the lineup. Rich Peverley took just one shift in the third period of Saturday’s 6-0 win over Philly and didn’t practice Sunday (lower-body injury). He could be held out as a precautionary/maintenance measure.

So depending on who’s available and how players are feeling, the Bruins could feature a major youth infusion. Zach Hamill, 23, has played the last three games against LA, Ottawa and Philly and could stick in the lineup; Jordan Caron, 21, was recently recalled from AHL Providence and could see his first action since Dec. 10.

If that’s the case, the Bruins will be more like the Baby Bears, featuring six players — Hamill, Caron, Adam McQuaid, Tyler Seguin, Brad Marchand and David Krejci — that are 25 or younger.

UPDATE: Lucic has been suspended for tonight’s game. So that opens up a spot.

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.

Phone hearing scheduled for Lucic

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Boston forward Milan Lucic will have a phone chit-chat tomorrow with league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan. The topic of conversation: Is there anything more the NHL can do for the Bruins?

We kid, we kid – it’s actually to discuss Lucic’s hit from behind on Philadelphia’s Zac Rinaldo during yesterday’s 6-0 Boston victory. (The other call is scheduled for Wednesday.)

At 16:21 of the second period, Lucic received a five-minute major and game misconduct after checking Ronaldo between the numbers and into the boards. At the time, the B’s were up big, 5-0, on the Flyers.

Clearly Rinaldo wasn’t injured on the play, as he was able to get up and beat the stuffing out of Nathan Horton.

Lucic didn’t think what he did was so bad, as reported by the Boston Herald.

“I felt like I made every effort to take him out laterally and looked at the video and slow-mo’d it and looked at the point of contact, and there were no numbers. It was all shoulders,” Lucic said. “You can see even him, his body rotating because I took him from the right side.”

B’s coach Claude Julien agreed, saying, “[Lucic] let up and a player turned at the last second. It didn’t appear to be a hit from behind.”

Lucic has been suspended before – he received a one-game ban for crosschecking Maxim Lapierre, then with Montreal, during the 2009 playoffs.

McQuaid avoids suspension for kneeing Foligno

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Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos reports Boston Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid won’t face additional punishment from NHL discipline czar Brendan Shananan after kneeing Ottawa’s Nick Foligno last night:

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McQuaid received a five-minute kneeing major and a game misconduct on the play. Foligno left momentarily before returning to the game, finishing with 17:07 of ice time.

According to CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty, the NHL Department of Player Safety felt the knee-on-knee play was more “reactionary” than “with intent to injure” and didn’t deserve any additional discipline beyond the penalties called.

That said, here’s a list of “things people will likely complain about on the intertube”:

— Sounds like Foligno’s ability to return was a key factor in the ruling. This opens up a Pandora’s Box when it comes to injury disclosure, because when Colorado’s Kevin Porter got dinged four games for kneeing Vancouver’s David Booth, Shanahan remarked Booth’s injury (out 4-6 weeks with a sprained MCL) affected his decision.

— Let’s say, for example, the Sens had held Foligno out of the game as a precautionary measure. What if the Sens didn’t offer an injury update afterward? How would that have affected the ruling?

— This, from former NHL referee Kerry Fraser (courtesy TSN):

If Adam McQuaid had stuck out his elbow instead of his leg, recent suspension history would dictate that a three game suspension would most likely be imposed.

Ruling purely on the extent of the kneeing act (like the one committed by Adam McQuaid), with the absence of injury, I believe any player guilty of this should be suspended for a minimum of one game and a maximum of three  (Three would make it consistent with dangerous hits ruled upon recently where no injury resulted).

— McQuaid is the third Bruin to avoid suspension for a controversial hit this season. The others were Milan Lucic (for charging Ryan Miller), Brad Marchand (for slew-footing Matt Niskanen). I don’t put any credence in this conspiracy theory, nor do I support it. But I can’t ignore the fact it’s out there.

UPDATE: McQuaid did receive a $2,500 fine for the hit.