This week was marked by a few moves that needed to be looked at by the National Hockey League Department of Player Safety, and it included the reckless actions of Edmonton Oilers’ Milan Lucic during his team's 5-2 defeat at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The veteran forward found in hot water with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety and was fined $10,000 for his hit on Mathieu Joseph in the third period of the tilt. After the Bolts rookie went after his teammate Kris Russell, Lucic wanted him to pay for his hit. Lucic went all over the ice to track down Joseph and once he got to him, he hit and jumped on the kid. He climbed on top of Joseph and tried to get a few punches in. At that point, the veteran forward almost started a line brawl as every player on the ice got involved, either to defend the young Joseph still laying on the ice or to take them off Lucic, who was still furious about the hit.
However, many believe that Lucic was right to do so. After all, he was following the old rules of hockey: you go after my teammate, I go after you. It is why senior writer Ken Campbell of The Hockey News believes that this fine will not deter Lucic from doing it again since the NHL did not suspend him. According to Campbell, it's the Oilers that should make him pay, or else, Lucic will do it again.
"Forcing the Oilers to keep him in the lineup, or make him a healthy scratch, is actually more punitive."
"Of course, 10 grand from Lucic’s jeans aren’t going to change his behavior and he’s just as likely to chase down another rookie and drill him when he’s nowhere near the puck before punching him in the head and igniting a line brawl. That’s standard fare for guys like Lucic. You know the guys. They’re the honorable tough guys who are supposed to keep the peace out there."
Here is why Cambell thinks this way - and the senior reporter is quite blunt and honest about Lucic's behaviour. Remember the Todd Bertuzzi saga... yeah, read this and let's see:
It was all pretty minor in nature, but that’s not the point. Because you know who else once chased a guy around the ice for his pound of flesh to respond to a dirty play? Todd Bertuzzi, that’s who. Don’t think for one minute that I’m putting this act on the same level as Bertuzzi’s attack on Steve Moore, but those in the hockey world who are applauding Lucic for standing up for a teammate, or putting on their website, ‘Gotta See It!’ with the accompanying video of the incident would be clucking their tongues and talking about how this kind of thing has no place in hockey if the whole incident had gone sideways.
We can hear it already, most of you will disagree with Campbell's statement. However, what if it was true?