Is it me, or are the referees officiating NHL games even blinder than they are usually? I do not say this just as a fan of the Boston Bruins, but I ask this to all of you as a fan of hockey. Last night, the Boston Bruins played the Florida Panthers. At 17:42 in the second period Bruins forward Milan Lucic is struck from behind from Mike Weaver and is sent into the boards. For those who haven’t seen it, here is that series. I’m not sure what is more telling. The ref (Chris Lee) who saw and blatantly ignored it, or the group of fans that saw it and were just as outraged as Lucic was.
The ref’s ignorance was inexcusable. Lucic’s face went incarnadine, and I don’t fault him for his reaction. Regrettably, his action scored him a two minute penalty from cross-checking, a two minute penalty for roughing, and then on top of that, a ten minute misconduct for telling the referree exactly what he thought of the blown call. Thankfully, the Boston Bruins have the best penalty kill team in the National Hockey League. (They are currently on a PK streak of twenty one, and have a 95+% rating.)
Coach Claude Julien later defended Lucic after the game. “When I looked at it between periods, it appeared to be a cross-check, and [Lucic] wasn’t quite close to the boards. We felt that there maybe could have been an original call and we could have been on the power play vs. being down for four minutes. That’s Milan showing his character. We like him for what he is. He just reacted to what he thought was a dangerous play on him. I’ll accept that. So will the team. As you saw, we made sure we killed that off.”
If I had just started a family with my wife, and some one threw a dirty hit on me that could have ended my career and jeopardized my family’s well being…. I have to give to Lucic for not beaning him over the back of the head with his stick.
For comparison, Milan Lucic received a major and a game misconduct for this incident of boarding against the Flyers’ Rinaldo. So either the refs are overtly blind, or