By Stu Hackel
When we first wrote Monday about Milan Lucic’s hit on Ryan Miller in last Saturday’s Sabres-Bruins game, the gist of that post was that the decision taken that day by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety would be pivotal in helping clarify what is permissible with regard to contact with goaltenders. The rules themselves are pretty straight-forward, but as we wrote, “Whether the NHL will back them up here is the issue.”
However, it wasn’t the Player Safety boys who backed up the rules — they didn’t; they gave Lucic a free pass. It turned out that the NHL’s general managers — who purely by coincidence were scheduled to meet on Tuesday and who provide direction to Brendan Shanahan’s group — defended the rule and instructed the league to be more forceful next time when dealing with hits like Lucic’s.
And that is a boost not just for goaltenders, but also for player safety in the NHL.