Every fan imagines the perfect NHL hockey game including a winning team, preferably the home team, and a losing team. As well as some good hits and possibly even a fight of two. The rough play in the NHL makes fans go crazy and sets a tone for the game, until it becomes a hazard. Both former Boston Bruins players Milan Lucic, who is known across the league for his physical style of play, and defenseman Dennis Wideman, took it a little bit too far.
Lucic who now plays for the Los Angeles Kings picked up a game misconduct and a roughing minor against the Arizona Coyotes Saturday night. Traffic in front of the net caused the stick of Coyotes defenseman Kevin Connauton to slash Lucic in the wrist causing a minor penalty. Play resumed until Lucic “sucker punched” Connauton in the head taking him straight down to the ice. The punch eventually sent Lucic into the locker room and into a hearing with the NHL Department of Players Safety. A day later officials suspended Lucic for one game without pay for his actions, heading into the All Star Break.
Lucic continued his actions Wednesday night when the LA Kings took on the Colorado Avalanche. During a scrum in front of the net, Lucic’s right fist accidentally caught the face of linesman Jay Sharrer. In this case though Lucic was quick to apologize to the official because it was truly an accident that he got in the way.
Now lets seriously think about the situation here. Lucic has been traded from team to team not for his scoring ability or skill but for the physical aspect he brings to the game. He has only netted 12 goals along with 17 assists, which is pretty good for his case, but he also has the second most penalty minutes on his team this season. Since he is known for fighting and rough play, the same ref Brad Meier has thrown him out of games before, irony or not? Is this a small case of targeting from the officiating point of view in the league? From the higher officiating crew, the punch was delivered in a way that Connauton could not defend himself what so ever. It was not a traditional case of a confrontation between two players of separate teams. Therefore, Lucic himself got hit with a one game suspension that carries a hefty thirty thousand dollar price tag.
Will this make Lucic think about why he did it? Maybe. But, will he ever stop playing the way he does? No. You can’t expect to do something to a player known for that kind of play and simply not expect anything back in return whether or not it was a blind side punch. He knows what is wrong and what is right in situations like these. Connauton deserved it in Lucic’s eyes while Sharrer was truly a casualty, to which he received an apology.
On another team in the league, defenseman Dennis Wideman of the Calgary Flames collided with linesman Don Henderson After a nasty hit from Nashville Predator winger Miikka Salomaki in the Wednesday night contest. Wideman was not penalized for the hit but did apologize to the official on ice after the fact. Wideman is now in for a hearing with NHL Hockey Operations on February 2nd. He has however been suspended indefinitely until hockey officials come to a decision.
In this case here, Wideman is a class act. He thoroughly did not put any intension into hitting Henderson, nor would never want to. He took quite the hit in the corner and basically came up in a daze. Just trying to get off the ice was the goal and apparently there was no way to get around Henderson in the process. His head was clearly down the entire way to the bench until he came in contact with the referee. Fortunately, Wideman is a good guy and shouldn’t face any charges. If he is accused of intentionally hitting Henderson, he will face no fewer than a 20 game suspension.
Cover Photo via Yahoo Sports