Milan Lucic was suspended for one game this afternoon for his hit Saturday on Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo and will not be in uniform tonight when the Bruins face the Habs at the Garden.
Lucic nailed Rinaldo from behind at 16:21 of the second period, moments after Rinaldo double teamed on a hit along the boards to Lucic’s opposite winger, Nathan Horton. With Rinaldo facing the boards, Lucic took a couple of strides and delivered a stiff check from behind to staple Rinadalo up against the glass.
There was no injury on the play, and prior to this season it would have been considered a garden variety check, one that wouldn’t have been reviewed by the league. But with Brendan Shanahan now the game’s dean of discipline, such hits are slowly, inexorably being taken out of the game, or at the very least punished.
According to Shanahan, because Lucic easily could have read Rinaldo’s number (36), the onus was on the Boston winger ”to avoid the hit completely or minimize it.”
Lucic, a 23-year-old left winger, also was suspended for one game during the 2009 playoffs for hitting then Habs center Max Lapierre.
Lucic’s absence tonight likely guarantees that Jordan Caron will suit up for his 14th game of the season.
Lucic is the first Boston player to be suspended this season. He escaped a suspension earlier this season when his Nov. 12 hit on Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller did not raise Shanahan’s ire.