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At the Rink blog

Lucic maintains innocence in collision with Miller

Monday, 11.14.2011 / 1:24 PM

By Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

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At the Rink blog
Lucic maintains innocence in collision with Miller
WILMINGTON, Mass. -- In defending the actions of his player Monday after practice at Ristuccia Arena, Bruins coach Claude Julien not only spoke to Milan Lucic's intentions but also a past incident that should shed a little more light on what went on when Lucic and Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller collided Saturday night.

Lucic was scheduled to have a 1 p.m. phone hearing with NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan on Monday.

"I saw the same thing [as Lucic explained]," Julien said. "It certainly wasn't our plan to run him over and for what it's worth, Looch has done the same thing to one of our coaches [assistant Geoff Ward] last year. He buries his head when he chases the puck, by the time he lifts it up, somebody's there. Last year was a coach, this year was Miller."

The Lucic-Miller collision occurred in the first period of the Bruins' 6-2 win against the Sabres after Lucic blocked a shot at the Boston blue line. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound forward lost the puck and was trying to catch up to it when the contact, which knocked Miller's mask off, happened.

"At first, I was skating as hard as I could after the puck and I looked up and he was still in his net. And when I looked down at the puck, I was continuing on and the next thing I look up and he's coming out full speed at me," Lucic said. "Obviously it was a hard collision and I did everything I could just to brace myself. Like he said, I have 50 pounds on him. So that's probably why he might've got the worst of it. Even if you look at the video, I was cringing after the play, too, because I was winded, because it was such a hard collision. He got a good piece of me as well and that's pretty much it."

Miller not only finished that period, but also played in the second. After the game Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said Miller had a sore neck, but Sunday the team revealed the goaltender was suffering from a concussion.

"If you look at it, I've looked at the hit 100 times because he said that he got a concussion. I've looked at it and his shoulder hit my chest, so there was no hit to his head," said Lucic. "His helmet came flying off, but his head didn’t hit the ice. Later on in that period, one of their guys lifted [Tyler Seguin's] stick and threw him into the net as well. So who knows what it was? But I mean it's obviously unfortunate that he got hurt on the play."

Lucic said he was surprised that Miller was able to continue in the game if his collision was the one that caused the concussion.

"With the new protocol and the concussion stuff, I know the last three NHLPA meetings that I've been part of, they've clarified about concussions and head injuries, the main thing that they talked about is there's no such thing as getting your bell rung or seeing stars anymore," said Lucic. "That's considered a concussion. And if you're in that position, you have to do whatever you can to take yourself out of play. And obviously, Ryan plays a big part in the NHLPA and what he does, and I respect him what he does there. That's pretty much it."

 After the game, Miller directed some expletive-filled comments toward Lucic through a brief media scrum. Lucic was taking a "sticks and stones" approach to those words.

"Obviously he felt like he needed to stick around and say what he said," said Lucic. "For me, (in) one ear and out the other, I just move on and focus on what I need to do to continue helping this team be successful."

Lucic is currently second on the Bruins with 14 points and 8 goals. His past discipline history includes a fine for a punch in a scrum last December and a one-game suspension for a hit after the whistle during the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoff series with Montreal.

Julien, who stressed that he didn't want to talk about any League decision that hadn't been made yet, still pointed out that there have been similar incidents in the past that didn't result in bans.

"You've seen it before. Guys run over goaltenders," said the coach. "At one point, [Carey] Price [had that happen] in Montreal, stuff like that. You’ve seen collisions. [Montreal's] Brian Gionta on Toronto's goaltender [James Reimer], he's not that far out but he's out of his crease and he's coming across.

"I mean there shouldn't be game plans to run goaltenders over. I'm all for that. To say you put traffic in front of him is one thing. To run him over, I disagree with that. So again, it just kind of reinforces that it certainly wasn't meant to happen that way."
Quote of the Day

Philadelphia is where I started my NHL career and this is where I want to be so I am really happy. This definitely gives me a lot of confidence by the Flyers showing that they have confidence in me. I know they want to see me get better as a player and this is the place to do it.

— Zac Rinaldo to the Flyers website on signing a two-year contract extension with Philadelphia