Milan Lucic Suspension Rescinded: Why the NHL Got It Right

Patrick HoldenContributor IJanuary 8, 2012

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 07:  Milan Lucic #17 of the Boston Bruins fights with Kevin Bieksa #3 of the Vancouver Canucks in the first period on January 7, 2012 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

The game between the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins was an epic clash full of exciting action.  Anyone who said this was "just another regular season game" was certainly proven wrong.  With any luck, these two teams could meet again this season, I imagine around mid-June. 

The clash certainly had its fair share of action, and during the first period a scrum ensued. The events are as follows.

The Canucks' Alex Burrows took a slash to the leg of Bruins winger Daniel Paille. The slash was not worthy of a penalty, but Shawn Thornton certainly didn't like it.  At this point, Milan Lucic had hopped the bench and was on the ice legally.  Shawn Thornton skated towards Burrows, and seconds later there were six Canucks on Shawn Thornton. 

Upon seeing the Bruins come to help out Thornton, Henrik Sedin exited the ice.  (Shocking, I know.)  An all out brawl ensued, which included Milan Lucic, who had never fully exited the ice. Milan Lucic made a legal change and never got back onto the bench, only joining the brawl upon seeing six Canucks on top of one Bruin. 

According to the NHL Rulebook Rule 70.10: 

"The first player to leave the players' or penalty bench during an altercation or for the purpose of starting an altercation from either or both teams shall be suspended automatically without pay for the next ten (10) regular League and/or Play-off games of his team."

Did Lucic exit the bench with the intent of starting or joining an altercation?  The obvious answer is no.  He exited the bench with the intent of starting the next shift.  The rule doesn't say having six men on the ice is a 10-game suspension.  


The Canucks had six players on the ice at the start of the brawl, so there is a Canucks player that did the exact same thing as Lucic. 

No one exited the bench to join the fight.  The NHL was right to rescind the suspension following the language of the rulebook. 

It is as simple as that.  The Bruins lost a top six winger on an incorrect call.  In no way should we blame the refs, however.  They made a judgement call, it so happens they were wrong. 

Let it be known that NHL Tonight did a great frame-by-frame breakdown showing that Lucic does not deserve a suspension. 

I also find it hilarious that people actually believe the NHL gives the Bruins special treatment.  The conspiracy theory with Colin Campbell is simply ridiculous.  The CIA also killed Kennedy, the moon landing was a Spielberg production and there were WMD's in Iraq.  People love a good conspiracy.  Please grow up, it's borderline insane. 

It is true some Bruins have dodged suspensions, but it's not like no other players in the league avoid suspensions.  The Bruins are under a bigger microscope.  If you watch the video closely and follow the language in which the rulebook is written, it is obvious Milan Lucic does not deserve a suspension and the NHL was correct in rescinding the game misconduct. 

The video speaks for itself.  The misconduct was not rescinded because the Bruins get special treatment, it is because it is the right call.