The aftermath of Lucic’s sucker punch on Kevin Connauton [Screenshot].
Milan Lucic seems to be good at making enemies. Don’t get me wrong – as a hockey player, I have immense respect for the guy. He’s big, he’s strong and he’s talented… But he’s got a hell of a temper on him too. He’s one of those players who’s real easy to love when he’s playing for your team, and hard not to hate when he’s playing against your team.
Last night, he definitely made fans of the Arizona Coyotes hate him a little bit more. It was about 7 minutes into the third period, with Lucic’s Los Angeles Kings on a power play while trailing 3-2. There was a scramble in front of the Coyotes’ net, with Lucic and Drew Doughty both looking for the rebounds. As Doughty found it and shoved it toward the net, Coyotes defenceman Kevin Connauton collapsed in front of his goalie to keep the Kings forwards from getting too close. Whether intentional or not, Connauton brought his stick down directly on Lucic’s wrist with a slash.
It must have hurt pretty bad, because Lucic was instantly fired up and went after Connauton with a sucker punch – one of the cheapest hockey moves around. Watch it go down:
You can see Lucic is pretty fired up – and who can blame him? But there’s no defending his action of sucker punching a guy. There didn’t appear to be a penalty call initially, which would understandably be frustrating for Lucic, but by throwing that punch, Lucic screwed his team over. He negated pretty much a full power play, and his team ended up losing… Not to mention he got thrown from the game.
Now why was there no call initially? It could be the fact that Lucic has history with referee Brad Meier (#34). According to reddit user MethHardy, Meier has ejected Lucic from a game 4 times before this. Apparently there’s beef between them to the point where Meier gave Dalton Prout an “attaboy” after Prout dropped Lucic with a single punch one night back in 2014…
Lucic was ejected from that game as well… Maybe it was the trying to throw a punch AFTER there were already 2 officials between them, maybe it was throwing the glove and hitting the official with it. At any rate, this is a perfect example of Lucic being Lucic – a total tool. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get great pleasure from stuff like this.
Another thing I get great pleasure from? That time Lucic challenged then-Leafs tough guy Colton Orr to some fisticuffs… then decided partway through that he was done. Watch:
Just a little more of Lucic making himself look foolish.
And since we’re watching Lucic fail during fights…
Anyway, back to the initial play last night…
Reading the comments on the Reddit post of the clip of the sucker punch has given me a little insight to both sides. Obviously, Lucic would be frustrated that the initial slash was not called. He said his wrist and hand went numb, but fortunately the x-ray came back negative. Lucic did bring up his history with Brad Meier, and how he thinks their history affected the call. On one hand, that does seem pretty unprofessional, if that indeed is the case… But Lucic is an NHL player and has been for a few years now – long enough to know that if the initial call gets missed, retaliation will ALWAYS be punished.
And on the other hand, what did Lucic expect when he sucker punched a guy, and then spent the next few minutes afterward yelling at referees at how bad they are at doing their job. Yes, I’m sure insulting the officials’ abilities will turn the call in your favour. Derp!
Anyway, Lucic will have his hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety today in regards to the incident.
Los Angeles’ Milan Lucic will have a hearing today for roughing/sucker punch on Arizona’s Kevin Connauton.
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) January 24, 2016
Don’t get me wrong – I get that the slash on the wrist was not cool, probably hurt quite a bit, and went uncalled. In that situation, though, it might have been wiser for Lucic to wait until the next shift the two are on the ice together and take out his aggression with a thundering bodycheck – or at least invite him to fight properly, when he’s expecting it. You wanna drop the gloves? Let your opponent drop theirs too.
Well, I think I’ve made it pretty clear where I stand on this issue and with Lucic… And I personally would enjoy seeing him land a suspension (It had shades of the Bertuzzi-Moore incident, though not even close to as serious)… If only because it would hurt the Kings, and potentially leave an opportunity for the Calgary Flames to make up some ground in the Pacific Division… As if they’ll be making a run at it again this year.
Hey, I can dream!