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Lucic draws no sanctions for hit

By Michael Vega
Globe Staff / November 15, 2011

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WILMINGTON - Milan Lucic, the bruising Bruins forward, avoided any league sanctions for his hit on Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller in Saturday night’s 6-2 victory at TD Garden after NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan ruled that Lucic did not merit any supplemental punishment. Lucic drew a minor penalty for charging after his hit on Miller at 13:12 of the first period.

“That’s never a part of our game plan, to go after a goalie and run him or anything like that,’’ Lucic said. “If you look at my record, for a big guy who does go to the net a lot, I think I don’t even have a handful of goalie interference penalties in my career.’’

Shanahan said the charging minor was the proper call because it followed Rule 42.1, which reads, “a goalkeeper is not fair game just because he is outside the goal crease area.’’

“I had the hearing because I did make an initial assessment of the play as I do with all plays, but I did have some questions for Milan and I wanted to hear directly from him,’’ Shanahan told NHL.com.

“They were regarding his intent; at what point did he know there was going to be a collision; and whether or not he felt he had the time to avoid the collision. I was satisfied with his answers.’’

Miller suffered a concussion on the play, and while Shanahan said the injury was unfortunate, added, “I saw nothing egregious about this hit that would elevate it to supplemental discipline.’’

After blocking a shot by Thomas Vanek in the neutral zone, Lucic gave chase to the loose puck, his head buried as he churned his legs.

Miller ventured out to the hash marks of the right faceoff circle in an attempt to sweep away the loose puck, but the 175-pound goalie got mowed down by the 6-foot-4-inch, 220-pound Lucic. Miller’s facemask flew off when he spun violently and tumbled to the ice. Replays, however, appeared to show that Lucic did not target Miller’s head, which never touched the ice as a result of the collision.

“I pushed the puck a little too far ahead of me and started skating after the puck as hard as I could,’’ Lucic explained after yesterday’s practice at Ristuccia Arena. “I looked up and [Miller] was still in the net, then when I looked down at the puck, I continued on and the next thing I look up and he’s coming out full speed at me.

“Obviously, it was a hard collision and I did everything I could to brace myself,’’ Lucic said. “Like he said, I know I have 50 pounds on him, so he might’ve got the worst of it. But if you look back at the video, I was cringing because I was winded and it was such a hard collision and he got a good piece of me as well.’’

The Sabres yesterday complained about Shanahan not suspending Lucic, claiming goalies now have to worry about getting hit.

Late last night, Shanahan said, “I think Buffalo’s comments are irresponsible to suggest that it’s open season. I will have this warning for players: It’s not. If you run a goalie you’re going to have to explain yourself and you don’t explain it sufficiently, and if I don’t buy it, you’re going to be suspended.’’

Sporting two black eyes, a white bandage across his nose, and a protective full-cage helmet, Daniel Paille returned to the ice to participate in his first full practice since breaking his nose after taking a Steve Staios slap shot off his face last Monday against the Islanders.

Asked about Paille’s status for tonight’s game against the Devils at the Garden, Bruins coach Claude Julien said, “It would depend on how he felt and how he looked and everything else. The minute he’s OK’d by the medical staff, then it becomes my decision to make.’’

Paille underwent surgery last Wednesday and was back on the ice for a morning skate with the team before Saturday’s game.

Defenseman Andrew Ference, who suffered a lower-body injury last Thursday against the Oilers, was the only player not to practice. It was not certain when Ference would return . . . Tyler Seguin was named NHL First Star of the Week after he recorded four goals and two assists and finished plus-4 in three games.

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