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In Defense of Lucic's Cheap Shot - Welcome to Playoff Hockey


Though many will bemoan Milan Lucic's grape-busting stick work on Detroit's Danny DeKeyser in the second period of Game 1, the simple fact is that in the Stanley Cup Playoffs the ends do justify the means.

Of course, most incidents like this aren't caught on camera, and most aren't perpetrated by someone as widely disliked as Milan Lucic, but anyone who has ever laced a pair knows how much cheap stuff behind the play can take an opponent off their game.

Granted, it wasn't fair for Looch to mortgage DeKeyser's future kids to gain the mental edge but, especially when you're playing a team as composed and systemic as Detroit, getting in the other team's head is a game-changing intangible.

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Goading. Antagonization. Retaliation. These are all aspects of the game that get amplified when you're playing the same guys night in and night out. Call it cheap. Call it troglodyte gutter politics, but the fact is that, when you're in the hunt, tempers run hot, and there's no such thing as a short memory.

Detroit, which finished dead last in the league with only nine major penalties in 2013-14, is one of the most disciplined teams in the NHL. Their success hinges on it. When they lose their composure, they fall apart - which was something that the Chicago Blackhawks discovered and exploited in the Western Conference Quarterfinals last year. They flipped the turtle on its back, and it put their series in their hands.

And that's what it'll take for the Bruins to get past the Red Wings in this series.

Lucic doesn't exactly have a Lady Byng reputation, but giving someone the business when the ref is up ice is all in the game. One thing is for sure - DeKeyser will be playing with his head on a swivel when No. 17 is on the ice, and that's an important advantage when your team is struggling to find the score sheet.