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Milan Lucic fined $5,000 for low blow on Danny DeKeyser

By Chris Peters / Hockey Writer

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Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic won’t be suspended for spearing Detroit Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser between the legs, but the NHL did fine Lucic, $5,000.

A light fine is nothing more than a light tap on the wrist at this point.

Lucic committed the infraction in the closing seconds of the second period of Boston’s 1-0 loss to Detroit in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series. After DeKeyser finished his check on the Bruins forward, Lucic followed DeKeyser up the ice before giving him a “cup-check” with DeKeyser’s back turned. As you can see on the video, Lucic even looks around to see if the officials are looking before delivering the low blow.

The league has not typically punished these intentional hits to a player’s undercarriage with suspensions before, but few have been as blatant and malicious as Lucic’s knock on DeKeyser. Also, Lucic did something extremely similar to this earlier in the season when he delivered a low blow to Montreal’s Alexei Emelin. There was no discipline either on the ice or from the NHL later.

Both Lucic cup-checks came after he received hits from the player on the receiving end of his stick earlier. For a guy that delivers some of the biggest hits in the NHL, he sure doesn’t seem to like it when another opponent gets the better of him.

This may be something the department of player safety needs to take a closer look at in terms of how it is handled.

The IIHF, for instance, has not taken kindly to this play. They notably suspended Flyers prospect Shayne Gostisbehere, who was playing for Team USA at the 2013 World Junior Championship for spearing a player below the belt in similar fashion to this. He missed the squad's quarterfinal game against the Czech Republic as a result.

If you don’t think this is a dangerous play, consider the fact that Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom suffered a “near-catostrophic” injury after he was speared in the testicles by Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp in the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The injury required surgery. And that was actually an accidental spearing. Lidstrom shockingly only ended up missing two games, but when you hear testicles and surgery, that’s nothing to joke around with. Sharp did eventually apologize to Lidstrom after learning of the extent of the injury his misplaced stick caused.

I’m going to assume there will be no apologies from Lucic. DeKeyser, who appeared to be in pain after the hit down low remained in the game.

Let's also consider the fact the NHL fined Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville $25,000 for grabbing his crotch. If you hit another player in the same area, it's one-fifth as bad as what Quenneville did? That's the message the NHL may be unintentionally sending. 

For the league not to address something like this, and considering it happened twice in one night with Corey Perry appearing to catch Jamie Benn below the belt in Game 2 of the Anaheim Ducks’ series against the Dallas Stars, is unfortunate. For players to keep doing it is even more disappointing.

For a game that preaches so much about respect, turning a blind eye to one of the most disrespectful plays in hockey or issuing no more than a slap on the wrist is ridiculous.

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