Milan Lucic has been fined $10,000 for his hunting down of Tampa Bay Lightning forward Mathieu Joseph during the Oilers vs. Lightning game on Tuesday.
The Oilers lost 5-2 to the Lightning on Tuesday evening but it wasn't the game or the score most people are talking about on Wednesday. Less than 24 hours after the game ended, the discussion surrounds the series of events on the ice that saw struggling for tough-guy forward Lucic hunt down and reprimand Mathieu Joseph for a hit on Oilers defenseman Kris Russell earlier in the third period. (the hit on Russell and the ensuing attack by Lucic can be seen below):
Not long after the game, Lucic was advised he would have a phone hearing with the NHL's Department of Player Safety for the hit and subsequent roughing up of Joseph. A phone hearing meant as little as a fine and as much as a short suspension should the department consider the act worthy of Lucic sitting a game or two.
In the end, Lucic was fined $10,000 and will not miss any game time.
Most fans in Edmonton believed Joseph had this coming to him. The referees had missed the earlier call for a penalty when Russell got hit and Joseph had been running around the entire game looking to hit any Oiler that moved, sometimes crossing the line of a legal body check. Lucic had seen enough of the referee's inaction and took matters into his own hands. Those that thought Lucic was well within his rights to try and police the game will feel the fine stiff but be happy there's no time lost.
Others are adamant Lucic should have gotten more of a punishment considering the scene of him hunting down a player and looking for retribution.
In the end, most agree the play wasn't suspendable but the optics of Lucic chasing Joseph around the ice, knocking him down and doing everything short of laying a beating on the player was enough to warrant a fine. Ultimately, the NHL couldn't let that image go unpunished.
The Oilers and Lucic will likely take the fine in stride knowing they've sent a message around the NHL. Don't touch our guys or Milan Lucic will be coming after you.