Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay called the late punch thrown by Boston’s Milan Lucic at Freddy Meyer “a dangerous thing” as the coach and team reacted to the NHL’s decision not to suspend the forward following Thursday’s incident.
Lucic was given a match penalty for the punch, defined by the NHL as a deliberate act to injure another player.
“Those are difficult decisions,” Ramsay said. “You don’t want to see a player throw sucker punches. It’s a dangerous thing. It’s dangerous for everyone, not just Freddy Meyer. The league makes its decision and there is nothing we can do about it. I don’t particularly like to see guys get suspended but you can’t allow guys just to throw punches.”
Lucic received a total of $3,500 in fines for the hit and the obscene gesture he made at the Thrashers bench.
Meyer said he watched the video of the hit on Lucic that sparked the 10-skater fight and still considers his hit clean.
“It’s the league’s decision,” Meyer said. “They obviously had some kind of review of the case and thought the appropriate discipline would be a fine versus a suspension. I don’t have a real opinion on it. It is what it is.
“The league obviously thought it was a clean hit. I didn’t get any disciplinary action from the hit.”
The teams meet again Thursday in Atlanta. Ramsay said he doesn’t expect the feud to escalate.
“Opportunities are there throughout the night for body checks, for clean hits,” he said. “That’s all we ever want from our players is good solid play.”
The Thrashers put Anthony Stewart of the top line with Andrew Ladd and Rich Peverley for Monday’s practice.
“We are just trying to make sure we keep the guys from getting complacent,” Ramsay said. “Sometimes you hang out with a line and you get a little lazy with what you are thinking and your talk. … It makes them talk and think together. We’ll just try it and see how it goes.”
No spark from Bergfors
Ramsay said he was hoping that inserting Niclas Bergfors back in the lineup for Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay would provide a spark.
The forward missed seven of the past eight games before playing 13:36 against the Lightning.
“He was all right,” Ramsay said. “We were hoping for a spark. … Everybody that goes out of the lineup needs to try to come in and make a difference. We need that. We need everybody to try to be difference makers.”