Lucic scheduled for hearing
Hit on Rinaldo on today’s agenda
WILMINGTON - The Bruins host the Canadiens at TD Garden tonight and there is a possibility they will be doing it without left wing Milan Lucic.
Lucic was ejected from Saturday’s matinee against the Flyers in Philadelphia at 16:21 of the second period for hitting Zac Rinaldo from behind. He was assessed a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct.
Lucic will have a hearing this morning with the NHL via telephone. He said after the win over the Flyers that he doesn’t expect to be suspended.
“If I directly hit him from behind, hit him in the numbers, and buried him, I’d be the first one to say I should get a call and expect some repercussions,’’ Lucic said. “I felt like I made every effort to take him out laterally. There was no numbers, it was all shoulders.’’
Bruins coach Claude Julien said he doesn’t have an inkling of what’s going to happen today. He did say he thought Lucic let up on the play.
“He’s got a hearing, so we’ll find out more from there,’’ Julien said after practice yesterday at Ristuccia Arena.
The timing of the hearing means that Julien won’t be able to set his lineup for tonight until after he hears the ruling from the league.
“Most of the time they talk and then they hang up and then the decision comes later,’’ said the coach. “I don’t know that I’ll even have the answer [this morning]. It may only come in the afternoon for all I know. So unfortunately, I can’t be in their heads.
“[The hit] happened [Saturday afternoon], and you kind of wish that things were done a little sooner, but I’d rather them take the time and do it right than rush into it and make the wrong decision.’’
Although the Canadiens lost to the Devils Saturday night in Randy Cunneyworth’s first game as interim coach after Jacques Martin was let go Saturday morning, they always prove to be a burr in the Bruins’ saddle.
Julien said the players have to be prepared for the matchup, considering Boston is 1-2 against Montreal so far this season.
“I don’t think they’ve changed anything,’’ said Julien. “They’re hoping probably for a positive reaction as far as having more life or whatever the case may be. I didn’t see a big change in their game system-wise, that’s for sure.’’
Cunneyworth did change up his penalty-killing units but nothing much beyond that. Julien said he can’t put his finger on why the Canadiens have been such a tough matchup for the Bruins.
“There are a lot of things that are hard to explain in this game,’’ he said. “You look at Montreal and they’ve always given us a hard time, no matter what year. They seem to match up well against us, just like we’ve been doing to Toronto this year. Same thing with us and Philadelphia. It just seems that we match up well against those guys. Montreal is one that gives us a hard time. We have to understand that, respect that, and make sure you come out and play your best hockey possible.’’
Forward Rich Peverley did not practice but Julien said he’ll be back on the ice this morning. “Maintenance day,’’ the coach said. “It’s a little minor issue that requires some rest once in a while. [A day off] just makes him that much better for tomorrow. We’re trying to stay on top of that. Nothing that prevents him from playing but still an area where he’s not necessarily 100 percent.’’
One step forward
Forward Gregory Campbell had his first practice with the team since fracturing his foot against Columbus Dec. 10. Julien said he will see how Campbell feels this morning before deciding whether he’ll return to the lineup after missing three games. “When you go through a grind like three-on-threes and stuff like that, you just want to see how his foot is going to react,’’ Julien said. “It’s always better for us to make those decisions the following day and see how he is.’’ Campbell said there is a good chance he will be ready to go. “Absolutely,’’ he said. “We’ll just see what the trainers think. It’s been fine, it’s not really holding me back at all. At the beginning, I couldn’t even put my foot in the skate. There’s not much you can do for something like this, you just have to let it heal on its own time. I gave it a few days and in this case, a few days means a lot. Every day it gets better and it felt pretty good today.’’ Campbell skated briefly Friday and then went for about 45 minutes Saturday. “There was no extra swelling or anything like that, so it felt good,’’ he said.