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: Sep 12, 2007
Posted on: November 14, 2011 10:06 am

Ryan Miller suffered concussion on hit from Lucic

I love the people who throw out the "you've never played hockey" comments.  Bottom line, it was a cheap hit......they happen at least 10 times per game....this was on a goalie so it stands out......Lucic was penalized(and may get suspended for a game or two)....That said, it's hockey......that hit turned the game around.......similar to the "staged" fighting which in my opinion is stupid and should be banned......a fight happens when in the heat of the moment it's warranted.....Lucic was aggressive and popped Miller......he didn't charge him or hit him high....he checked him cleanly.........

For those who've never played when Lucic(or any other player is screening the net) how many slashes in the back of the legs these guys take from goalies.....Miller is no different from any other goalie.......he slashes away.....sometimes the "protected" goalies need a smack in the face too !!  Anyone disagree that HAS played?  Anyone that HAS played ever want to smack a goalie?  Come on........wake up.....

I'm sure Lucic regrets the hit now, but it was a game changer and a heat of the moment shot.  It's a penalty.....get over yourselves.....we should be talking about how no one on Buffalo stepped up for him......

Since: Jun 6, 2008
Posted on: November 14, 2011 9:58 am

Ryan Miller suffered concussion on hit from Lucic

Personally if Miller is playing the puck 20 feet outside the goal area, he should be considered fair game like any other puck carrier.  Goalies get treated better than NFL quarterbacks.  They're all a bunch of mental pussies.  If you're going to skate out to the faceoff circle to play the puck, you better expect to be hit especially if there is a guy flying down ice after that same puck.

Since: Jun 27, 2011
Posted on: November 14, 2011 8:47 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.

Since: Apr 8, 2009
Posted on: November 14, 2011 8:24 am

Ryan Miller suffered concussion on hit from Lucic

Easy solution, run over their goalie and take 2 minutes

Since: May 19, 2011
Posted on: November 14, 2011 7:57 am

Ryan Miller suffered concussion on hit from Lucic

If the NHL is going to review the actual "hit" by Lucic, they should also pay very close attention to Miller's stick as he is going down. He is aggressivly swinging it at Lucic with the sole intention of hurting him. IMO he should have got a matching penalty for that.....

Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: November 14, 2011 7:32 am

Ryan Miller suffered concussion on hit from Lucic

This whole situation is much ado about nothing. Fact is Lucic hit the goalie which is illegal. He then got called for the penalty. It should end there. I understand the NHL reviewing it but after seeing the replay many times the hit was not dirty, there was zero head contact and like another poster said he glided into Miller and did not take another stride into him. So why should he be suspended? I mean really, it was just an incidental hit. I dont see any of the people wanting Lucic suspended complaining at all about Miller, after all after Miller fell he took a healthy slash at Lucic's ankles even though he missed. Mind you I am not even complaining about that, just making a point. Most people who want Lucic suspended hate the Bruin's while those fans that know hockey and care about the game first know better.

Since: Sep 16, 2010
Posted on: November 14, 2011 6:03 am

Ryan Miller suffered concussion on hit from Lucic

Bonadrag75_Do you ever watch hockey? Look at the other comments on rules and suspentions. You're the idiot for making your half-informed comment. Lucic got the penelty, end of story. Suspentions are another issue. Goalies get run in their crease all the time and most of those don't even get called. The NHL refs are the worst and most inconsistant of all major sports officials. They down right stink.

Since: Nov 6, 2006
Posted on: November 14, 2011 12:40 am

Ryan Miller suffered concussion on hit from Lucic

Does anyone know why Miller wasn't pulled from the game and sent to the dark room for evaluation like other players are when they may be suffering from a concussion?

Since: Jan 2, 2008
Posted on: November 14, 2011 12:14 am

Ryan Miller suffered concussion on hit from Lucic

The player has a right to try to score a goal here.  Just because a goalie comes out of the crease it doesn't mean Lucic has to stop playing.  I think he gets away with the hit if it wasn't for his late action where you see him not ease up after Miller first touches the puck but he puts more force behind the hit.  Of course I've seen goalies get run over in the crease and nothing is called at all.

The fact that Stubis misses in his article here is just because you break a rule it doesn't mean you deserve a suspension.  Tripping is against the rules and you don't get suspended for that.  If Lucic is suspended it will be due to the fact he hit him high and also injuried Miller not due to the rule stated in the article.

Since: Oct 26, 2007
Posted on: November 13, 2011 11:51 pm

Ryan Miller suffered concussion on hit from Lucic

Clearly an intentional hit on Miller but not a head shot, so at what point did a body check on the goalie become a suspendable action.  The hit was to the body and Lucic got what he deserved... a 2 min penalty.  If someone gets a concussion falling down from a tripping penalty should we suspend him too?  Penalize the action not the result in my opinion.

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