UPDATED, 6:14 p.m.: NESN.com is reporting that the game misconduct handed out to Milan Lucic will be rescinded, as it was deemed he was legally on the ice and did not leave the bench to join the frecas early in today's Bruins-Canucks game. Rescinding it is the League's way of admitting, essentially, that Lucic should never have been shown the gate.
Hockey Night in Canada's Elliotte Friedman tweeted that according to replays that showed Lucic on the ice, he should not have been ejected:
Word is Lucic game misconduct will be rescinded, as review indicates he was on ice legally. Also, looks like a hearing coming for Marchant.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) January 7, 2012
This obviously means Lucic will not face any supplemental discipline for his part in the line brawl, which could have resulted in a lengthy ban as a "repeat offender." However, it also opens the door for speculation about the game's outcome had Lucic been available to play the entire game, as opposed to just the first four minutes.
It'll certainly be interesting to hear what kind of reaction the Bruins have to the NHL's decision and about potentially playing the majority of today's game without one of their top players, seemingly for no reason.
It was anything but "just another game" as both sides had suggested in the days leading up to the first meeting between the Bruins and Canucks since last season's thrilling Stanley Cup Final. The teams combined for over 100 penalty minutes in Vancouver's 4-3 victory, including a few items that will certainly draw the ire of NHL Director of Player Discipline Brendan Shanahan.
Less than four minutes into the action a scrum ensued as five Canucks jumped Shawn Thornton in front of their bench that quickly escalated into a vicious line brawl. Milan Lucic left the bench to join the fray, which earned him a game misconduct. Here's how last year's finalists greeted each other this afternoon:
Lucic got a two-minute minor for roughing and a 10-minute game misconduct, just three minutes into the action. He got two shifts totalling 1:17 of ice time before he was sent to the locker room for the rest of the afternoon, forced to watch the Bruins comeback attempt fall just short.
That line brawl was just the beginning of the teams exchanging pleasantries, as there were 62 penalty minutes doled out in the first period alone. Yes, just another game indeed, gentlemen.
The second period saw its' fair share of minor penalties as both teams returned to playing the high level of hockey everyone was expecting. That is until Brad Marchand caught Sami Salo by surprise in the corner to Tim Thomas' left:
Marchand, who took a great feed from Tyler Seguin and beat Cory Schneider five-hole with a slick backhander to tie the game at one in the first period, showed little regard for the puck while throwing his shoulder right above Salo's knees, sending the Vancouver defenseman tumbling over his back.
Salo remained down for a few moments and was helped to the locker room favoring his right shoulder. He did not return for the third period. Marchand was given a five-minute major for clipping and a game misconduct of his own. Surprisingly, he was not given a match penalty,
The Canucks took full advantage of the extended power play, scoring twice, including this blast from Cody Hodgson that ultimately was the game-winner:
Despite having Marchand's penalty arguably cost Boston the game, Shanahan will certainly welcome the pair of Bruins back for return visits to his office for supplementary discipline in the coming days. While Lucic's infraction was signifcantly less egregious than Marchand's, it's possible they both may face lengthy suspensions as repeat offenders.
We agree Ryan. Today though, they were their own worst enemy. We would've seen a totally different game if Lucic had played more than two shifts for 1:17. Marchand's presence would've been a welcome one in the third as well. But Cody Hodgson was also very impressive today too. If he can add scoring depth to the Canucks lineup, don't be surprised if we have a rematch for the Cup in June too.
Bruins are A scary team. They have it all and they will goon it up beat the shit out of you physically than continue to beat you on the scoreboard
The whole thing reminds us of a scene from Billy Madison, really:
"What a mess, this psycho goes on TV, lies, then retracts it. And now Eric's secretary is in a coma."
Agreed Justin. With that said though, the league absolutely had to wipe it out since a suspension could've been as lengthy as 10 games since Lucic would've been a "repeat offender." The lack of explanation is unnerving, but that's almost to be expected at this point unfortunately.