Milan Lucic was already pretty high up on the public-enemy charts in Montreal but he soared to the No. 1 spot Monday with the news that Alexei Emelin will miss the rest of the season after smashing into the freight train that is Lucic Saturday night at the Bell Centre. The Canadiens defenseman has a torn ligament in his left knee.
This is obviously very bad news for the Habs going into the stretch and if the Habs do meet the Bruins in the playoffs, the lack of the feisty, physical Emelin will be felt within the Habs ranks.
This is of course not the first time a Bruin has sidelined a key Montreal player in recent years – there was that ugly incident a couple of years back when Zdeno Chara came mighty close to separating Max Pacioretty’s head from his body. It’s also not the first time Lucic has done some damage to a Hab. Remember that infamous fight that left Mike Komisarek hurt all those years ago. Komisarek was never the same player after that.
That said, much as it pains us, you do have to give Lucic the benefit of a doubt here. Check out the video. Emelin is lining up Lucic for a big hit and Lucic puts up his arms to fight back and leaps a little into the air. It looks like there’s some knee-on-knee action going on but it doesn’t appear to be intentional.
I got into a bit of a fight with hardcore Bruins fan – and fine, fine filmmaker – Rafael Ouellet on Twitter Monday. Don’t tell him but the director of Camion had a point, writing that “Lucic had 1/8th of a second to react/protect himself….I don’t think any of it was intentional.”
But you know the Bs are sure happy to see the back of Emelin this year. He’s been a real pest for them. Remember when he whacked Tyler Seguin and seconds later Chara was on him, using Emelin’s surgically-reconstructed face as a pushing bag. The Boston boxers don’t like Emelin and you know they’re pleased as punch – pun intended – to have one less Hab who knows how to hit.
Cos let’s face it, Montreal doesn’t even remotely compete with Boston in the toughness department. Sure there’s Brandon Prust but much as I love the guy, what’s he’s going to do after Chara pulverizes one of our guys. Prust can maybe take a swing at Chara’s mid-section.
It’s always the same. The Habs are going to have to win it with speed, skill and heart, battling against the sheer physical might and street-smart team spirit of the Bruins. And as of today, that series just got a little bit harder for Montreal to win.