I’m confused about the NHL quickly rescinding Milan Lucic’s game misconduct after the Canucks’ 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins.
The league is apparently saying that Lucic was on a legal line change, and thus was allowed to be on the ice while the line brawl was happening. But I have a couple of issues with this.
With a hat tip to the poster from HF Boards who pointed this out, first is NHL rule 70.1 which states:
70.1 Leaving the Bench – No player or goalkeeper may leave the players’ or penalty bench at any time during an altercation or for the purpose of starting an altercation. Substitutions made prior to the altercation shall be permitted provided the players so substituting do not enter the altercation.
It’s obvious from the many replays that Lucic was still on the bench when the brawl started. You see him standing in front of the bench for a long time before getting on the ice. And when he gets on the ice, he immediately joins in the brawl.
But secondly – and perhaps more importantly – was Lucic even supposed to be – legally? – on the ice?
The NHL’s own time chart doesn’t have Lucic on the ice just prior to the brawl.
Now this makes sense as it was Lucic’s line coming on the change. And on the replay, you do see Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille leaving the ice and David Krejci and Nathan Horton coming on.
The problem is, Lucic was supposed to come on for Shawn Thornton, and obviously, Thornton hadn’t left the ice yet as he was fully engaged with Alex Burrows and the other Canucks.
Maybe the league has a better explanation than this, but from what I’ve seen, I don’t know how Lucic can escape the automatic suspension for leaving the bench to join an altercation.