Tag:Milan Lucic
Posted on: December 14, 2011 12:18 am
Edited on: December 14, 2011 12:28 am
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Tortorella was not happy with this charging call

By: Adam Gretz

The protection of goalies has been a hot topic in the NHL this season and it all started when Boston's Milan Lucic ran over Ryan Miller in a game back in November. During Tuesday's New York Rangers-Dallas Stars game, which the Stars won by a 1-0 margin thanks to a late third period goal from Trevor Daley and the first career shutout for rookie goalie Richard Bachman, Bachman left his crease in an effort to knock a loose puck away from Rangers forward Carl Hagelin.

There was a collision that resulted in Bachman losing his mask and being knocked to the ice, while Hagelin was assessed a two-minute minor for charging. It again needs to be pointed out that goalies, whether they're in the crease or out of the crease, are not fair game to be hit, and if the opposing team's skater doesn't make an effort to avoid the contact, the proper penalty is to be assessed.

That's not necessarily what happened with this incident, as evey replay angle shows that not only did Hagelin make an effort to avoid making contact with the Stars goalie, he's not even the player that made the actual contact with him -- it was Bachman's own teammate, defenseman Alex Goligoski, that hit him.

No penalty should have been called, and Rangers coach John Tortorella had a bit of an eruption on the bench, and rightfully so.



It's a good bet that shouting match is going to make an appearance on an episode of HBO's 24/7.

After the game, Tortorella said "The goalie came out 20 feet. Sometimes they feel they have to call something. It should've been a non-call."

He's absolutely right.

(H/T PHT for video)

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

Posted on: December 3, 2011 11:08 pm
Edited on: December 4, 2011 11:05 am
 

Ryan Miller gets run over in return

By: Adam Gretz

The last time Ryan Miller was in the lineup for the Buffalo Sabres he ventured out of his crease to play a loose puck and ended up on the train tracks that were carrying the Milan Lucic Express. The result, as you may already know by now, was a huge collision that fired up the debate about how much protection goalies get, while Miller missed nearly a month of action.

He returned to the lineup on Saturday night in Nashville in a game the Sabres won 3-2, stopping 32 of the 34 shots he faced. Not a bad night, other than the fact he was on the receiving end of yet another big-time hit, this time as he was standing in his crease attempting to make a save.

With less than five miutes to play in yhe second period Miller was crushed by Predators forward Jordin Tootoo on a play that resulted in Tootoo receiving a five-minute major for charging, as well as a game misconduct.

Here's the video, via On The Forecheck:



According to Predators beat writer Joshua Cooper, Tootoo said after the game that he anticipates having a disciplinary hearing with the league as a result of the hit. Assuming that happens, it will be interesting to see the result.

Remember, when Lucic hit Miller outside of the crease back in November (goalies out of the crease are not "fair game" according to NHL rules) he recieved a two-minute minor penalty during the game, but did not receive any supplemental discipline, which drew plenty of criticism, especially from Miller and the Sabres.

The fear was that the lack of discipline would make it "open season" on goalies, and in the Sabres very next game Miller's backup, Jhonas Enroth, was inteferred with.

Previously At Eye On Hockey

Ryan Miller hit by Milan Lucic
No suspension for Lucic
Sabres Respond

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

Posted on: November 30, 2011 6:27 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2011 6:52 pm
 

Bobby Ryan trade speculation isn't going away

ryan1By: Adam Gretz

Two days after it originally surfaced little has happened to make the Bobby Ryan trade speculation go away. If nothing else, it's actually picked up steam, and while the Ducks won't confirm that they are actively shopping their young star forward (and why would they confirm it?), they've also done nothing to deny it.

On Tuesday, the 24-year-old Ryan spoke with Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register about the increased chatter that continues to swirl around his name and said that he "wouldn't be surprised" if he was the player sent packing. Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Jeff Miller passed along the word that Randy Carlyle, the coach that is now seated on the hottest seat in the NHL following the recent firings of Bruce Boudreau and Paul Maurice, spoke with Ryan about the speculation and simply told him that he has to "find that inner peace in himself to deal with it."

The biggest rumor that's made the rounds was a potential blockbuster brought forward by Bucky Gleason of the the Buffalo News that would involve goaltender Sabres netminder Ryan Miller. That rumor started to grow when Ducks general manager Bob Murray, as well as two scouts, attended the Sabres game on Tuesday night in Buffalo. Of course, Miller did not play in that game, as he's still sidelined with an injury following his run-in with Boston's Milan Lucic. Miller has since responded by saying that he has no interest in being traded.

No matter what happens with Ryan or the Ducks, the team is in a complete free fall mode right now and currently owns the second-lowest point total in the NHL with 16, ahead of only the Columbus Blue Jackets. After starting the season 4-1 Anaheim has lost 16 of its past 18 games, including seven in a row, and 11 of 12 during the month of November.

Despite having a lineup that boasts talented forwards like Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Teemu Selanne, the Ducks are the second-lowest scoring team in the NHL, scoring just 2.13 goals per game. Only the New York Islanders are worse. Ryan is not immune to the struggles, having recorded just 11 points (seven goals, four assists) over his first 23 games.

As a team, Anaheim is getting dominated during 5-on-5 play, getting outscored 51-34 while also getting out-shot by an average of 30-25 during 5-on-5 play on a nightly basis. Even strength play was an issue for the Ducks last season as well, and this year the power play and goaltending that carried the team during the 2010-11 season (and Perry's MVP season certainly helped as well) has not been anywhere near as strong.

Add it all together and you have a team that's probably in too deep of a hole to dig itself out of this season looking to shake things up, whether it's with a coaching change or a blockbuster trade.

More Coverage: Ducks Shopping Ryan?

Photo: Getty Images

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

Posted on: November 30, 2011 6:27 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2011 6:52 pm
 

Bobby Ryan trade speculation isn't going away

ryan1By: Adam Gretz

Two days after it originally surfaced little has happened to make the Bobby Ryan trade speculation go away. If nothing else, it's actually picked up steam, and while the Ducks won't confirm that they are actively shopping their young star forward (and why would they confirm it?), they've also done nothing to deny it.

On Tuesday, the 24-year-old Ryan spoke with Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register about the increased chatter that continues to swirl around his name and said that he "wouldn't be surprised" if he was the player sent packing. Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Jeff Miller passed along the word that Randy Carlyle, the coach that is now seated on the hottest seat in the NHL following the recent firings of Bruce Boudreau and Paul Maurice, spoke with Ryan about the speculation and simply told him that he has to "find that inner peace in himself to deal with it."

The biggest rumor that's made the rounds was a potential blockbuster brought forward by Bucky Gleason of the the Buffalo News that would involve goaltender Sabres netminder Ryan Miller. That rumor started to grow when Ducks general manager Bob Murray, as well as two scouts, attended the Sabres game on Tuesday night in Buffalo. Of course, Miller did not play in that game, as he's still sidelined with an injury following his run-in with Boston's Milan Lucic. Miller has since responded by saying that he has no interest in being traded.

No matter what happens with Ryan or the Ducks, the team is in a complete free fall mode right now and currently owns the second-lowest point total in the NHL with 16, ahead of only the Columbus Blue Jackets. After starting the season 4-1 Anaheim has lost 16 of its past 18 games, including seven in a row, and 11 of 12 during the month of November.

Despite having a lineup that boasts talented forwards like Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Teemu Selanne, the Ducks are the second-lowest scoring team in the NHL, scoring just 2.13 goals per game. Only the New York Islanders are worse. Ryan is not immune to the struggles, having recorded just 11 points (seven goals, four assists) over his first 23 games.

As a team, Anaheim is getting dominated during 5-on-5 play, getting outscored 51-34 while also getting out-shot by an average of 30-25 during 5-on-5 play on a nightly basis. Even strength play was an issue for the Ducks last season as well, and this year the power play and goaltending that carried the team during the 2010-11 season (and Perry's MVP season certainly helped as well) has not been anywhere near as strong.

Add it all together and you have a team that's probably in too deep of a hole to dig itself out of this season looking to shake things up, whether it's with a coaching change or a blockbuster trade.

More Coverage: Ducks Shopping Ryan?

Photo: Getty Images

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

Posted on: November 23, 2011 8:16 pm
Edited on: November 24, 2011 12:44 am
 

Sabres respond with quick fights vs. Lucic, Chara

By Brian Stubits

Milan Lucic expected it. Just about everybody who has seen a hockey game before was expecting it. It didn't take long to make it fait accompli.

What's it? In case you have been under a rock, that would be some retaliation on the Bruins' Lucic for the hit that left Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller on the shelf with a concussion. The Sabres, Paul Gaustad in particular, admitted to their embarrassment at the response, or lack thereof, in the game earlier in November. Consider Wednesday's rematch a second chance for the Sabres. And they seized the opportunity.

Not even two minutes into the game, Lucic made his first appearance in the game, going on the ice before a faceoff. Naturally, Gaustad was sent out immediately afterward and the two had some words before the faceoff. Then this happened.

That might be why the Sabres didn't have much of a response in the first place. Lucic gave to Gaustad pretty good. But the deed was done. It's not really about if you take the other guy down, it's that you try to take him down.

"It was an unfortunate incident in Boston," Gaustad said. "I give credit to Milan for fighting. It's something where guys don't have to. He did."

So that was it, right? The Sabres got their retribution? You know better than that.

After a hit behind Tim Thomas' net, another scrap unfolded. There was lots of action, but the stand-alone fight belonged to Robyn Regehr challenging Zdeno Chara.

That one, too, turned out just about how you'd imagine: squarely in the Bruins' favor.

Regehr deserves some major credit for showing the fortitude -- or some might say stupidity -- to challenge Chara to a fight. You don't see Big Z fight often, and that's just because nobody really wants to go a round with the monster. Well Regehr did, and it's just good that Chara let up at the end of the fight.

The intensity remained for the entire game. Just check out Brad Marchand's reaction to the Buffalo bench after scoring a goal later in the game. Yea, this is pretty heated right now.

Sometimes games live up to the expectations. Considering this was the expectation, mission complete.

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

Posted on: November 23, 2011 2:28 pm
Edited on: November 23, 2011 2:37 pm
 

How will Sabres respond to Lucic, Bruins?

Lucic1By: Adam Gretz

The last time the Buffalo Sabres and Boston Bruins met we watched as Milan Lucic plowed through Ryan Miller, sparking a debate as to whether or not goalies should be "fair game" when they venture out of their crease to play the puck (according to the current NHL rules, they're not). The play even resulted in the topic of goalie protection being a last-minute addition to the agenda of the general managers meetings that were taking place later that week.

When the NHL decided not to suspend Lucic there was a concern that it meant it would now be "open season" on goalies, a fire that the NHL quickly tried to extinguish. It also left us wondering how the Sabres would respond when the two teams faced off again (as they will on Wednesday night), and whether or not they would attempt to dish out their own brand of vigilante justice. In the initial meeting, immediately after Miller was hit, the Sabres did not respond the way one would expect a team to respond after watching their starting goaltender, and arguably their best player, get run over by a member of the opposing team.

Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff has said repeatedly that the team wasn't happy with their response and that it won't happen again.

As expected, the NHL has warned both teams about any shenanigans that may take place when the two teams meet on Wednesday, but that doesn't mean something won't go down after the puck drops.

Miller suffered a concussion as a result of the play and has not been back in the lineup since, and had some strong words for Lucic in his post-game interviews saying, "I just stuck around because I wanted to say what a gutless piece of [feces] I think Lucic is."

Lucic is already expecting somebody from Buffalo to take a run at him, and that's probably a safe bet. In recent years the Sabres haven't been a huge fighting team, finishing 23rd, 27th and 25th over the past three years in fighting majors. Through the early part of this season they're eighth, one spot behind Boston, with 10 fighting majors. The leader in the clubhouse at this point is Cody McCormick with four. Patrick Kaleta and Paul Gaustad each have two, while Robyn Regehr and Mike Weber have each dropped the gloves once.

More On Sabres-Bruins
It's hard to say how it will all play out, but if I had to guess right now I'd say that somebody, and this would probably be McCormick if he plays (he's missed the past three games), given his size and experience as a fighter, challenges Lucic early in the game and the gloves come off. Hopefully that's the end of it and everybody can move on, but there's a chance, if the referees allow it and can't take control of the situation, that things could quickly get out of hand. The Bruins aren't a team that takes kindly to being challenged physically, regardless of the circumstances, and they've had their share of donnybrooks over the past couple of years.

It's also worth asking if the Sabres might try to return the favor and make their presence felt around the Boston net.

As I mentioned above, there was a concern in the immediate aftermath of the NHL's decision to not punish Lucic that it is now open season on goaltenders, and we've already seen a taste of that in the week-and-a-half since Miller was sidelined. In Buffalo's very next game Jhonas Enroth was hit by Montreal's Erik Cole skating through the crease.

On Tuesday night we watched as Toronto goaltender Jonas Gustavsson left his crease to play a puck behind the net, and was then hit from behind by Tampa Bay's Ryan Malone, resulting in no penalty (click here to watch). When Gustavsson pleaded his case to the official that watched the play unfold right in front of him, the referee simply pointed at the spot on the ice where the Leafs goalie was hit.

Whatever happens, this is probably the most anticipated game on Wednesday's schedule.

Photo: Getty Images

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Posted on: November 22, 2011 4:55 pm
 

Lucic anticipates retaliation from Sabres on Wed.

By Brian Stubits

The Sabres and Bruins will clash again on Wednesday in Buffalo, and the referees will be on high alert. Well, that's the edict that was handed down by Brendan Shanahan to the Northeast Division foes.

Also on his toes will be Milan Lucic, the Bruins forward who hit -- or "collided" with, depending on your vantage point -- Sabres goalie Ryan Miller outside of the crease earlier this month, leaving Miller out with a concussion. The Bruins forward, who wasn't attacked during the Bruins' 6-2 win that night, is expecting to be on Wednesday.

Here is what Lucic told Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe on Tuesday when asked if expects for somebody to take a shot at him:

"Yes ... I'm not going to lie ... yes."

Considering the Sabres did nothing and one of them, Paul Gaustad, was upset at both the team's and his own lack of response, it's not like Lucic is going out on a limb here. There is a lot of pressure from the fans in Buffalo, and likely within the team, to make up for their lack of a response.

Just a note to any would-be agitators, Lucic can fight and has been able to for many years.

H/t to Pro Hockey Talk

Photo: Getty Images

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

Posted on: November 15, 2011 3:47 pm
Edited on: November 15, 2011 3:55 pm
 

Protection of goalies hot topic at GM meetings

By Brian Stubits

What better time than after the Hall of Fame ceremony for the GMs to gather and discuss the issues of the day? After all, most of them are already in town for the festivities anyway.

The item on the morning agenda of the meetings? It truly was the top issue of the day: goaltender safety. Spurred by the Milan Lucic hit on Ryan Miller, the rules regarding goaltenders outside the crease have been a hot topic. While the rulebook clearly states a goalie is not fair game anywhere on the ice, it has been a muddy conversation.

From the sounds of Blues GM Doug Armstrong, it was more a matter of clarification than anything else for the GMs.

“Just want to make sure that we’re all on the same page, that when they’re out on the open ice, that they’re going to be protected,” Armstrong said. “We do want continued play in front of the net, but we want to make sure that when they’re outside the [blue] ice, that they’re protected.”

The best way that people are describing the protection of goaltenders is to draw the parallel to football and the quarterback. In football, the QB has become like an endangered species, seemingly any affront to his safety has been squashed. Drives a QB into the ground after a pass? Personal foul. Same goes for when a scrambling QB slides to the ground.

“In my opinion, I think we have to [protect goalies like QBs],” Penguins GM Ray Shero said. “I’m not talking about plays around the crease, because there will be incidental contact ... We’re talking about a regular season game, we’re talking about the incident with Lucic and Ryan Miller. You get into a playoff series and if these guys are going to be coming out to play pucks, and you can run them over and get a two-minute penalty, then I think you’re going to open up a pretty dangerous set of circumstances.

“Several of the general managers just brought up the fact there’s only 60 goaltenders in the league, and we have to be pretty careful in terms of, if they’re going to play puck outside the crease, what should be fair,” Shero said. “We’ll continue to look at it, and probably talk about it much more at the March meeting, as well.”

Is it a bit reactionary? Of course. The Lucic/Miller incident is fresh and was pretty uncommon. But the reactions after the hit proved the need for some clarification on the matter, even if it was as simple as getting rule 69.4 spread around for everybody to see.

This is where Brendan Shanahan's decision not to suspend Lucic, for the hit comes into play a bit. Many, myself included, believed that if nothing else a token suspension was called for against Lucic, something to make it clear that goalies can't be run over. But Shanahan believed Lucic did not intend to hit Miller and that it was more of an unfortunate collision. He reiterated the point to the GMs that goalies will be protected and offenders could still be suspended. From Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com:

"Shanahan told GMs that players should NOT read into Lucic ruling that goalies are fair game. Quite the opposite, Shanahan warned GMs."

The GMs don't want to see more incidents like it and want to nip it in the bud now before frontier justice like that alluded by Sabres coach Lindy Ruff knocks another goaltender out for a period of time. I believe for most GMs it's a matter of self-preservation if anything else (in this case self being their team's interests).

“That’s going to be the message to our team -- the goalies are not fair game,” Shero said. “If the guy’s going to play it outside the crease, you have to be pretty careful.”

Perhaps I'm too cynical, but I believe the root of that statement from Shero comes out of the fear of losing Marc-Andre Fleury for some time.

As for rest of the meetings, also on the schedule was the 1-3-1 trap that caused such a stir last week after the bizarre scene between the Flyers and Lightning which led to a stalemate. To that, Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman gave a reasonable response, saying they don't want to overreact to something that has only happened once. Perhaps Flyers GM Paul Holmgren put it best: "I'd like to see us attack the situation a little bit differently than we did last game."

The other big item on the docket was realignment, something Flyers chairman Ed Snider brought up again in Toronto. But right now that's all just chatter among the GMs. The decision on realignment will made at the Board of Governors meeting in December.

All of these conversations and more will get hashed out again in March the next time the GMs gather.

Photo: Getty Images

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

 
 
 
 
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