After getting ejected from Saturday night’s game against the Arizona Coyotes, Los Angeles Kings left wing Milan Lucic found himself facing the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for the very infraction that saw the forward kicked out of the match.
Following a slash to the wrist by Arizona Coyotes defenseman Kevin Connauton, Lucic retaliated by slashing the backs of Connauton’s knees and then sucker-punching the fellow skater. It earned the former Boston Bruins power forward – dealt to the Kings at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft – a game misconduct at the time of the incident, and now the Department of Player Safety has added on to that.
It was announced on Sunday afternoon that Lucic had earned a one-game suspension for a punch to an unsuspecting opponent, per the league’s official Twitter. The video review, which gives a detailed explanation of the decision to suspend by the DoPS, was released as well:
Los Angeles’ Milan Lucic suspended one game for a punch to an unsuspecting opponent, Arizona’s Kevin Connauton. https://t.co/vg4AzwYQOo
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) January 24, 2016
Per the explanation:
“On Saturday night in Arizona, Kings forward Milan Lucic delivered a blow to the face of Coyotes defenseman Kevin Connauton.
As the video shows, Lucic is establishing body position in front of the Arizona goal. After a shot on net, Lucic and players from both teams scramble for the loose puck. During this battle, Connauton delivers a slash to the hands of Lucic, for which he was given a minor penalty.
Then, after the puck is frozen and Connauton is engaged with another Kings player, Lucic skates to Connauton, slashes his leg, then delivers a forceful blow to his head. This is a punch to an unsuspecting opponent.”
The explanation goes on to note that, while confrontation on the ice can usually be dealt with by on-ice officials in an adequate manner, this was a hit delivered after the initial confrontation had passed and the opponent was no longer expecting to square off.
It’s the first suspendable offense for Lucic in nearly five years, but it’s important to note that it’s not his first game misconduct of the 2015-16 season alone. Another altercation this year and the forward may see more time missed on the ice for suspension, as he’ll be considered a repeat offender at that point.
The Coyotes and the Kings play again in just over a week, and it looks like the formidable power forward will be back on the ice for that contest.