Blog Entry

Ryan Miller suffered concussion on hit from Lucic

Posted on: November 13, 2011 8:17 pm
Edited on: December 14, 2011 7:08 pm

By Brian Stubits

The weekend got worse for the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday when GM Darcy Regier told Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News that his top goaltender, Ryan Miller, suffered a concussion in the team's 6-2 loss to the Bruins on Saturday night.

The play has already been discussed plenty. Miller went to the open ice to play a puck and took a big hit from Milan Lucic.

Miller remained in the game but was removed after the second period. Harrington reports Miller is feeling better the day after the hit.

The next question in this equation is if Lucic will be suspended. That's what the Sabres are looking for. There has been a lot of discussion on this call, whether or not Lucic even did anything wrong. But according to the letter of the law, goaltenders are not "fair game" when outside of the crease. Lucic was not in the right to hit Miller.

UPDATE: Lucic will have a hearing with Brendan Shanahan on Monday at 1 ET according to Bob McKenzie of TSN.

Again, here is what Rule 69.4 has to say specifically.

69.4 Contact Outside the Goal Crease - If an attacking player initiates any contact with a goalkeeper, other than incidental contact, while the goalkeeper is outside his goal crease, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed.

A goalkeeper is not “fair game” just because he is outside the goal crease. The appropriate penalty should be assessed in every case where an attacking player makes unnecessary contact with the goalkeeper. However, incidental contact 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 unnecessary contact.

When a goalkeeper has played the puck outside of his crease and is then prevented from returning to his crease area due to the deliberate actions of an attacking player, such player may be penalized for goalkeeper interference. Similarly, the goalkeeper may be penalized, if by his actions outside of his crease he deliberately interferes with an attacking player who is attempting to play the puck or an opponent.

"If this hit and other types of hits like this are not suspended, we are opening up the possibility of losing goaltenders to injury," Regier said sternly to Harrington. "And not just injury, but concussion. ... When I look at the position of goaltending. in a lot of ways it's not unlike quarterback in football. I feel very strongly the protection has to be provided and players committing these types of action should be punished.

"The last thing we need to do in the NHL is to be losing our Stars to concussions on plays like this."

Bruins goalie Tim Thomas gave his opinion on the matter on Sunday, from Jimmy Murphy at ESPN Boston:

"Basically from my perspective, I was just trying to, after that happened, make sure that I was on my toes. I didn’t know if there would be a kind of retribution hit. That’s kind of the old school way. That’s really all I’ve got to say about it. I will say that as a goalie, you’re not even prepared for people to hit you in a situation like that. You’ve been trained over the course of your whole career that you’re not going to get hit in situations like that. So it must have taken him by surprise."

That sounds about as sympathetic as Thomas can be for his fellow goalie while still toeing the party, or in this case team, line.

I wouldn't be surprised if Lucic does face some discipline for the hit. Whether you like the rule or not, that's what it says, that a goalie is not fair game and the fact that Lucic followed through high increases the chances of further penalty. And you know Shanahan will consider the fact that Miller was concussed on the play too.

It's worth noting that another goalie this season have already sustained concussions. Rick DiPietro was out for a very short time before returning to his place in the three-headed goalie monster for the Islanders. James Reimer of the Ducks was also hit high to the head by an opponent and has been out since mid-October with what the team is calling "concussion-like symptoms" but refuses to call a concussion.

The Sabres will recall Drew MacIntyre to fill in while Miller is out. Luckily for Buffalo, Jhonas Enroth has played very well this season as Miller's backup, getting a lot of action with Miller's recent struggles.

Photo: US Presswire

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.


Since: Dec 11, 2006
Posted on: November 14, 2011 2:12 pm

Ryan Miller suffered concussion on hit from Lucic

-  Lucic will be suspended.  I can guarantee that.  How long depends on whether or not the league wants to send a message.

-  Losing Miller isn't a big deal.  Other than it's questionable whether our true #1, Enroth, has a capable backup to give him rest.  Remember, Miller was already on the cusp of losing the "#1" title to Enroth before this incident.  Now we have possibly the best man between the pipes since Hasek in this kid.  Miller can milk it for as long as he wants.  Maybe there was another reason noone came to the defense of Miller....hmmmmmm????????

-  Looks like Boston fans are pretty desperate these days.  Why shouldn't they?  Their team wins 5 straight games and are only 1 game over .500?  I can guarantee this will be the highlight of your way your crack team makes the playoffs.  Just looking forward to the next game when Kaleta (not coming off suspension) McCormick (not wearing fresh stitches from his fight the night earlier) and Kassian, Foglino and McNabb (from Rochester) are waiting to enact some revenge.  Better tell Thomas and Lucic to have their helmets strapped on tight.  Real tight.  My guess is Timmy won't be in there, but I can see Kaleta taking the cheapshot either way.  And I would pay top dollar to see Kassian or McNabb anihilate Lucic in a fight.  That would be a given...and something I'd pay top dollar to see haha

Since: Feb 22, 2008
Posted on: November 14, 2011 1:57 pm

Ryan Miller suffered concussion on hit from Lucic

All of you pathetic Sabre fans who are begging for a suspension (like that will change the result of the game)...all I ask is this.

What rule do you feel that Lucic should be suspended under?

Please do tell.

He broke a his 2 minutes.  Period.

Since: Jan 11, 2008
Posted on: November 14, 2011 12:29 pm

Ryan Miller suffered concussion on hit from Lucic

Easy solution:  run over their goalie and get two minutes.

Is there anybody here who really thinks if Buffalo does this to somebody else the offender will only get two minutes?  They w ill be tossed from the game, so the fact Lucic played the rest of a game he should have been tossed from SHOULD get him an extra game of suspension.  Who thinks this won't happen, either?

Since: Nov 6, 2006
Posted on: November 14, 2011 12:25 pm

Ryan Miller suffered concussion on hit from Lucic

"Out indefinitely" means he could be back for his next game. They don't know how long he will be out. Could be the season, or maybe no games. Remember, he was fine enough to play the rest of the 1st and then the entire 2nd period.

And a few thoughts for people talking about the Sabres running Thomas:

1. Nobody on the team has the stones to do so. Not much else needs to be said.

2. You cry foul play yet you are hoping for premeditated retaliation? Seems hypocritical.

"The appropriate penalty should be assessed in every case where an attacking player makes unnecessary contact with the goalkeeper.... Similarly, the goalkeeper may be penalized, if by his actions outside of his crease he deliberately interferes with an attacking player who is attempting to play the puck or an opponent."
Sounds like both players deserved 2 minutes for not letting the other one get the puck.

Since: Nov 3, 2010
Posted on: November 14, 2011 12:07 pm

Ryan Miller suffered concussion on hit from Lucic

What no go BBruins today TD???? Miller is lying, classically done by classically tasteless fans. I predict in less than a few hours now, it will be the Bruin fans that turn into big cry babies. Cheap shot all the way and the only question is how long Lucic's suspension will be. BTW, Ryan Miller is a not only an intelligent, thought provoking, stand up guy, Lucic could learn a lot about class if he shadowed Miller for a day. He would realize what it is to be a real man!!!! 

Since: Jun 27, 2011
Posted on: November 14, 2011 11:23 am

Ryan Miller suffered concussion on hit from Lucic

Its understandable that the responses that are coming from Bruins fans disagree that Lucic was in the wrong, but if the incident is viewed in strictly a Hockey sense, it was wrong plain and simple. For those that want to take a shot at a goalie, I can see your point if they play like Billy Smith did for the Islanders but this is the New NHL and if you watch more than the Bruins games you'd see that your statement is incorrect. Goalies will protect themselves but not to the point of playing dirty. Buffalo players Should have done something about the incident, but they did not and if they come out next time and run Thomas over I'm sure you'll all be crying that it was cheap and dirty. It happened, its over, and the player should get whats coming to him from the league. By the way: Miller is out indefinitely he's not faking, and Slap shot was an awesome movie but remember it was a comedy and not the way the game should be played, and I am still playing Hockey and am in my fifties, so enough said, let the true Hockey fans enjoy the game and not the goons.

Since: Nov 6, 2006
Posted on: November 14, 2011 11:05 am

Ryan Miller suffered concussion on hit from Lucic

Miller was half way to the blue line and he was in a race for the puck with Lucic. I say he is fair game in that situation. Anyway, replays will show that he tries to give Lucic a shoulder only to get sent flying. He then takes a hack at Lucic before laying on the ground to play dead. If he was concussed or their suspected he might be, NHL rules state that he needed to be taken from the game then and there. We all know he was pulled a period later because he gave up 2 goals in 16 seconds.

I'm not saying he isn't hurt, but it does seem fishy. Regardless, he needs to realize that Lucic has just as much right to that puck considering where they were on the ice. He can't expect to total protection in that situation.

Since: Mar 9, 2008
Posted on: November 14, 2011 10:45 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Aug 11, 2007
Posted on: November 14, 2011 10:38 am

Ryan Miller suffered concussion on hit from Lucic

Unfortuantely Shanahan will suspend Lucic for two games but it will be undeserved. If goalies do not want to be hit then stay in your net. You come out that far and Lucic is going that fast incidental contact will happen. If Lucic really wanted to hit him Miller would still be laying there. Some one wrote that lets see what Shanahan is made of and suspend Lucic, I say let's see what he is made of to not suspend Lucic. Shanahan has backed himself into a corner with some real pathetic suspensions.

Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: November 14, 2011 10:12 am

Ryan Miller suffered concussion on hit from Lucic

I only read the first page of responses but from what was written i fail to believe any of these writers ever played Hockey. It is not the "rule" that was broken it was the "unwritten rule" among players of all levels of Hockey that Lucic was guilty of doing. This was without a doubt an unwarrented attack on Miller and could have been any goalie, it was still WRONG. Lucic could have slid into or bumped him from the side if he found it necessary to run over the goalie but he took direct aim on him and deliberatly ran into him full force, that is cheap and very unsportsmanlike and needs to be addressed. If the fans want to see this type of Hockey lets bring back the "goons" and play Slapshot (the movie) type of game. If this was the case both benches woul;d have cleared and a timeless Brawl would have ensued. If this is the new hockey then Lucic needs to be suspended and not be allowed to play in any games against this opponent, because he deserves it.

I have to say that you are most likely the one that never played the game. I played all through my childhood years and into high school. I never played in college because I didnt go but I did play well into my thirties in different leagues. Fact is Lucic did not hit him nearly as hard as you imply. Lucic  did not take any extra strides and he got called for a 2 minute penalty which according to the rule is what was warrented. Why dont you have a problem with Miller's slash?  the fact is the refs got it right.  Last thing , to start comparing this to the movie Slapshot (AWESOME MOVIE!!) is just ludicrous.

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