Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli met with the media prior to Tuesday’s game, recounting what he and the league’s other GMs discussed today when they met with the league’s chief disciplinarian, Brendan Shanahan.
Not surprisingly, the general managers talked at length about Shanahan’s decision not to suspend Bruins’ forward Milan Lucic after the winger concussed Buffalo Sabres’ goalie Ryan Miller Saturday night.
Lucic was assessed a two-minute charging minor on the play for steamrolling Miller near the right faceoff dot. Lucic was not suspended by Shanahan because the disciplinarian did not feel Lucic had intended to hurt Miller.
The league’s general managers disagreed. A straw poll was taken, and a slight majority voted the play should have resulted in a five-minute major penalty, as well as a suspension, because they thought there was intent to injure on Lucic’s part.
“You can imagine the discussion that came from there,” Chiarelli said. “We all have our own interpretations.”
Chiarelli said Shanahan mostly listened as the general managers discussed the play and the apparently varying opinions on what does and does not constitute intent to injure. Chiarelli said no major rule changes were coming, but that the situation will be monitored closely moving forward.
He also added that if a similar play happens in the future, Shanahan might opt to suspend the guilty party.
“It’s fair to say there’s heightened awareness on that,” Chiarelli said. “There’s no changes coming per say, it’s just that it’s, Brendan wanted to make it clear.”
Shanahan did address remarks made by Sabres’ coach Lindy Ruff, namely his declaration that it’s now, “Fair game on goaltenders.”
“[Shanahan] wanted to make it clear, and he made it clear,” Chiarelli said. “Goalie’s aren’t fair game.”
The GMs also discussed last week’s debacle between Philadelphia and Tampa Bay, when the Flyers protested the Lightning’s 1-3-1 neutral ice formation. Philadelphia showed their displeasure with Tampa’s passive system by refusing to skate the puck from their own zone for long periods of time, resulting in an embarrassingly slow period of play during a nationally televised game.
“I think at the end of that discussion, we decided that we would continue to monitor that trend,” Chiarelli said. “Steve Yzerman made some good comments . . . When he played for the Red Wings early in his career, they were run and gun and he had a boatload of points every year.
“It was only when they tightened up defensively that they started to win championships. I thought that was really the point by him. You don’t want to see what happened the other night on a regular basis. It wasn’t pretty to watch, but we’re aware of that trend and we’ll keep monitoring it.”