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Fraser: Should Miller have been disciplined for stick work?

Kerry Fraser

11/16/2011 4:07:38 PM

Got a question on rule clarification, comments on rule enforcements or some memorable NHL stories? Kerry Fraser wants to answer your emails at cmonref@tsn.ca!

Hi Kerry,
 
This is a fantastic forum to get a better insight to the rules and regulations of the NHL.
 
One question I have regarding the incident, and I don't believe anyone has brought this up. But why has no one mentioned what Ryan Miller did after the contact.  He took a viscous swing with his stick directly at Lucic. Shouldn't that part of the play also be reviewed by Shanahan and his committee? It clearly appears that Miller intends hit Lucic with his goalie stick.
 
Thanks again.
 
Daron Weber from Pittsburgh
 
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Hi Kerry,
 
You have such an informative blog. Much appreciated. I think if any suspension was warranted in the Lucic-Miller incident it's that it would be Ryan Miller who should have received one. Immediately after Miller went down he swung his stick at Lucic in a wide circle with full force. The fact that he missed (luckily for Lucic) is immaterial. If you make an aggressive swing with your stick with a probable intent to injure, in my view, that deserves a suspension!
 
What are the rules involving use of your stick such as Miller displayed post hit? Should he have deserved a penalty or at least a further look from the league based on the rulebook?
 
Thanks for taking the time to talk to fans!
 
Ryan Wright
 
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Hello, my question is about the Miller/Lucic incident but it's not about the missed call you are referring to...it's about another missed call. Since when is it acceptable to swing your stick at another player? Especially a goalie stick. Why was this missed call not brought up by the referee or the league?
 
Yann

Darren, Ryan and Yann:

A minor penalty could have been assessed for slashing to Ryan Miller on the play since contact is not a requirement under the rule. Given the aggressive contact that Miller received on the hit from Milan Lucic it would have incredibly unjust and out of balance to give him a minor penalty in relation to the two minutes that Lucic was assessed for charging.

Had a five-minute major penalty been assessed to Lucic (which I stated his actions were worthy of) then 'perhaps' a minor to Miller, resulting in a three-minute differential could have been assessed but I can't really see the fairness in that either.  A major penalty to Milan Lucic needed to stand on its own.

Following contact, given the distance between the two players and the location Miller found himself (sitting on his butt) the goalkeeper would have required a much longer stick to make contact.  At best, any contact made would have had been to a protected area of Lucic' shin pads. Since contact was not made, it makes this a moot point.

The fact that Miller, after being clocked by Lucic and listed as out indefinitely with a concussion, took a one handed swipe (not swing) with his stick at Lucic from a prone position on the ice is not worthy of any disciplinary action from Brendan Shanahan.

I'm in Edmonton right now with Hall of Fame goalie Billy Smith. From an 'old time' hockey perspective, which I don't advocate, you might find Smitty's take on the play
interesting. 

When I asked the four-time Stanley Cup Champion (and best clutch playoff goalie I ever saw) how he would have reacted to a hit like Lucic put on Miller the fearsome goalie replied, "Lucic would have never gotten me. I would have taken him out at the knees!"

I can tell you if by some slim chance Smitty had been caught off guard, the stick would not have been swung from the seat of his pants to a protected area of his adversary. A match penalty would have resulted with a goal stick that would have broken on impact to a well placed location. This might have occurred prior to or during the brawl that would have resulted.

Thank heavens that 'old time' hockey is just a memory for some of us. This is just one of the reasons why it is not appropriate to hit a goalkeeper in modern day. Contact with them, whether in or out of the goal crease, must be avoided at all costs.

Failing this, the cost to a player (as in the Lucic situation) must result in loss of pay for a minimum of two games and a seat in the press box.  That is the message that must be sent.

*Footnote: Theo Fleury just helped set me up on Twitter. You can now follow me @kfraserthecall!