WILMINGTON, Mass. — Two days later, Milan Lucic’s feelings about Alexei Emelin remain the same.
Lucic called Emelin a “chicken” after the Montreal Canadiens defenseman sent him flying with a low hip check during the Boston Bruins’ 2-1 shootout loss Monday night. The Bruins winger said after Wednesday’s practice that he hasn’t watched video of the hit, but he isn’t backing down from his original claim.
“I haven’t seen the replay, but my opinion has not changed,” Lucic said. “Whether it’s a legal, or a cheap shot, or whatever you want to call it, when you’re playing against a guy like that, you always have to have your guard up.
“If he was a tough player, he would stand up and hit you fair and clean. I’ve been in the league for seven years now, and I’d say I have over 1,400 hits over the seven years. I’ve never went at a guy’s knee, or anything like that. That’s my opinion on it, and you can take it whatever way you want.”
This wasn’t the first incident between Lucic and Emelin, two of the larger players on their respective teams. Emelin tried to deliver a check on Lucic during a Bruins-Habs matchup late last season and ended up tearing his own ACL and MCL in the process.
“Maybe he’s trying to get revenge for him stepping up on me last year and him blowing his knee out,” Lucic said. “I have no idea what his thought process is. I don’t need to go into more detail other than you’ve got to keep your guard up when you’re playing a player like that.”
Monday’s hit was only one instance in a game that was as chippy and physical as fans have come to expect from the two Atlantic Division rivals. The Bruins and Canadiens don’t meet again in the regular season and are unlikely to be matched up in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, but there’s a good chance they could face off in the conference semis under the NHL’s new playoff format.
If you missed the hit the first time, check it out in the video below.
Photo via Twitter/@TheTorontoSun