Milan Lucic is set for a phone hearing with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety on Wednesday for his hit on Mathieu Joseph in the third period of the Edmonton Oilers 5-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night. The phone hearing means Lucic, who received two minor penalties and a game misconduct on the play, will not be suspended for more than five games.
Angered by a cross-check Joseph put on Edmonton defense man Kris Russell earlier in the period, Lucic followed him down the ice once the Lightning forward came onto the ice for a shift. He slashed Joseph when he first came off the bench, then tracked him into the Lightning end and hit him to the right of the Tampa Bay net while he was without the puck. Lucic then appeared to throw a punch at Joseph while the rookie was on the lying on the ice, sparking a melee between the two teams.
Oiler’s head coach Todd McLellan had something to say after the game, citing that Lucic was simply doing his job. “He felt that a player took a liberty with Kris Russell, and I agree with the liberty part of it,” McLellan said after the game. “Part of the reason we have Luc here is to take care of teammates and he did that.”
“I thought it was a premeditated, blindside hit,” Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said. “I saw it live, I haven’t seen it replayed. I’m sure the league will review that. I think Joe got cut too. You just don’t want to see that.”
Lucic has struggled mightily in the points department and made my most disappointing player list, so maybe some of that struggle added to his frustration. He is at 1 goal, 4 assist in 15 games, not great.