After thoroughly reviewing the play and having a disciplinary hearing, NHL Senior Vice President of Player Safety and Hockey Operations, Brendan Shanahan, has decided to NOT suspend Boston forward, Milan Lucic, for his hit on Buffalo goalie, Ryan Miller.
The incident occurred when Lucic skated into Miller about half way through the first period of last Saturday night’s game. Lucic was on a potential break but lost control of the puck, thus making Miller come far out of his crease (the right faceoff circle) to clear the puck before Lucic can get to it again. After having cleared the puck, Lucic (still in full stride chasing after the puck that was now, no longer there) collided at full speed with Miller. The collision caused Miller to fall to the ground and his mask to fly off. Miller stayed in for the remainder of the first period and played all of the second period before being replaced by Jhonas Enroth to start the third period. The Buffalo Sabres later confirmed that Miller had suffered a concussion as a result of the collision with Lucic.
"I had the hearing because I did make an initial assessment of the play as I do with all plays, but I did have some questions for Milan and I wanted to hear directly from him," Shanahan told NHL.com. "They were regarding his intent; at what point did he know there was going to be a collision; and whether or not he felt he had the time to avoid the collision. I was satisfied with his answers."
Shanahan went on to say that according to Rule 42.1, which reads "a goalkeeper is not fair game just because he is outside the goal crease area." The minor penalty assessed to Lucic at the time of the incident was the right one.
"The minor penalty called on the ice was the correct call," Shanahan said. "And, while it's unfortunate that Miller was hurt I saw nothing egregious about this hit that would elevate it to supplemental discipline."
Staying on the topic of Rule 42.1, what if the league allowed players to hit goalies as long as the goalie is outside of his crease and has the puck? Ofcourse the hit must be clean.