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At the Rink blog

Goalie contact a big issue in wake of Lucic collision

Tuesday, 11.15.2011 / 1:12 PM

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

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At the Rink blog
Goalie contact a big issue in wake of Lucic collision
BOSTON -- The Milan Lucic-Ryan Miller collision from Saturday night's Boston Bruins-Buffalo Sabres game has become a hot-button issue around the League.

There was no shortage of talk about it in both dressing rooms this morning at the TD Garden after the Bruins and New Jersey Devils completed their morning skates. Lucic had a hearing with the NHL on Monday but received no supplemental discipline. During the Bruins' win, he was assessed a two-minute minor for charging.

Boston coach Claude Julien was asked about a possible alteration to the rule about contact with the goaltender or the possibility of limiting a goaltender's ability to move out of his crease.

"There's a difference between a hit and a collision. And that's always going to be a gray area in everybody's minds," Julien said. "Some people are going to call certain things a hit, some people are going call it a collision. I mean, as far as I'm concerned as a coach, I'll abide by any rule they want to put in there. If they say you can't touch him at all, then it's you can't touch him at all. If they keep the rule the way it is, then let's keep the rule the way it is.

"I know for a fact that if Milan had intended on hitting him, he would've never got up. We all know how hard he hits. So that speaks for itself."

New Jersey netminder Johan Hedberg will be tasked with facing the Bruins tonight. He doesn't think goaltenders have a right to expect special treatment.

"That's what I don't think is right. You have to respect the game in the game, too," he said. "You can't expect the rules to protect you at times. That goes for everybody, including us as goaltenders. Who knows, the guy might be coming in full-blast, he looks away, he doesn't see that you're out there and you've got to make sure that you're ready for it. I think it's part of the game."

Hedberg and Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask both recalled instances where they were in a position like Miller was and got hit. Rask said he understands that sometimes these incidents with contact are unavoidable.

"Everybody knows it. That was just an accident," he said. "Everybody knows that you don't try to take a goalie's head off or anything. Things happen in the game. It's just part of the game and sometimes accidents happen."

As for Buffalo head coach Lindy Ruff's comment that by the League not suspending Milan Lucic it's declaring "fair game" on goaltenders, the Bruins didn't want to engage in much of a war of words.

"No comment on that. They can say whatever they want," Rask said.

Added Julien: "That's just talk. We're certainly not going to get into that. People get frustrated, people talk and you don't hold those kind of things against people like that. They're entitled to their opinion. And you just move along here. We can't react to everything that's being said out there. Everybody has their own opinion, and we're just happy it was dealt with the way it was and we're ready to move on."

The Bruins and Sabres next meet Nov. 23 in Buffalo.


Quote of the Day

I just think about how much it hurts. The feelings aren't going to go away, probably never. It's just something that sticks with you for a long time.

— San Jose forward Logan Couture to The Canadian Press on the Sharks' first-round loss to the Kings after taking a 3-0 series lead