It didn’t take long for Detroit Red Wing fans to find enemy number one in the opening round series against the Boston Bruins.
And his name is Milan Lucic.
Lucic speared Danny DeKeyser in the groin late in the second period of the Wings’ 1-0 win over the Bruins in Game 1 Friday night in Boston.
Lucic, who did not receive a penalty on the play, was handed a $5,000 fine by the league on Saturday.
“I don’t think there’s a place for it,” said Brendan Smith. “When I look at Lucci, I think he’s just a big man, a big enforcing man. He’d scare you in other ways instead of doing that. Maybe it’s just one of those moments. I don’t’ know if he’ll continue to do that.”
This isn’t the first time Lucic has speared an opponent between the legs. He did it to Montreal’s Alexei Emelin in similar fashion on March 24.
“Maybe a little bit (of frustration),” Lucic said on Saturday. “Obviously, kind of the heat of the moment thing when you’re not thinking and you do something like that. I’ve been in the league for seven years and I think I’ve only done that three times. I don’t know why I did it, like I said I think it’s a heat of the moment thing that unfortunately I did. I believe in playing within the rules and for me I definitely won’t be heading down that road again.”
DeKeyser fell to the ice after the incident, but didn’t miss a shift.
“It’s just funny, I never do that,” Lucic said. “But unfortunately I’ve done it twice in the last little bit here so I’m not going to make it a habit. I don’t know why I did it both times. It’s not going to be a habit of mine. I believe in playing it in between the rules, the right way, that’s what I’ll continue to do.”
DeKeyser said he isn’t feeling any lingering pain.
“It’s a tough time of year to play,” Jimmy Howard said. “Stuff like that is going to happen. You just hope the officials catch it and if not you’ve just got to play through it.
“We’ve got to keep our head out there, keep our cool, because they seem to thrive off of that,” Howard continued. “They like to get in those scrums after whistles and we just got to remember whistle-to-whistle and just skate away.”
There were only three penalties called in Game 1, two of which were to the Bruins.
“I’m not interested in the referees solving any problems,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “I think the players are out there deciding who wins and I think that’s good. I thought the game was officiated just fine last night and I thought both teams tried to be as disciplined as they could.”
“We have nothing to gain from getting into scrums and things like that after the whistles,” Niklas Kronwall said. “Do a good job of focusing on the game instead. Staying out of the box is something that’s very important because we know how dangerous their (power play) is.”
Boston was the 11th least penalized team in the league during the regular season, while Detroit was 27th.
“We want to play in between the whistles,” Smith said. “All that junk that happens after, there’s no point of it. We want to stay very disciplined in that sense and just play our game and use our speed and take advantage of it”