BOSTON – Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic admitted to acting out of frustration when he pitch-forked the Red Wings’ Danny DeKeyser just before the second intermission of Friday’s Game 1 of the teams’ opening-round Stanley Cup playoff series.
“Obviously, kind of the heat of the moment thing when you’re not thinking and you do something like that,” Lucic said Saturday afternoon. “I’ve been in the league for seven years and I think I’ve only done that three times. I don’t know why I did it, like I said I think it’s a heat of the moment things that unfortunately I did.
DeKeyser made a clean body check on the Bruins’ 6-foot-3, 235-pound forward in the defensive zone. But as the play shifted up ice, Lucic, who was trailing the play, swung his stick upwards like a pitchfork between DeKeyser’s legs.
“I didn’t really know what happened, I was just kind of skating back to the bench and to be honest right after the play I didn’t even know who did it,” DeKeyser said. “I’m fine. Just something that happens during the game. Just deal with it.”
For his actions, which occurred behind the play at 19:55 of the second, the NHL’s department of player safety fined Lucic $5,000 on Saturday. No penalty was assessed on the play.
“I believe in playing within the rules,” said Lucic, who had a telephone hearing with the league but will not be suspended. “I definitely won’t be heading down that road again.”
Lucic also speared Montreal defenseman Alexei Emelin in a game last month. Lucic denied it at the time, and later called Emelin a “chicken” for a hip check. Lucic said Saturday he’s concerned about gaining a reputation as a dirty player, but cheap shots like the one Friday don’t look good in the court of public opinion.
“It’s just funny, I never do that,” Lucic said. “But unfortunately I’ve done it twice in the last little bit here so I’m not going to make it a habit. I don’t know why I did it both times. It’s not going to be a habit of mine. I believe in playing it in between the rules, the right way, that’s what I’ll continue to do.”
There wasn’t a lot of after-the-whistle shenanigans in the series-opener, which is perfect for the Red Wings, who prefer to intimidate through their skill and speed.
“We want to play in between the whistles,” Wings defenseman Brendan Smith said. “All that junk that happens after, there’ no point of it. We wanted to stay very disciplined in that sense and just play our game and use our speed and take advantage of it.”