My Captain is Smarter Than Your Hothead

Doug Pensinger

I'm sure this post won't generate traffic AT ALL.

Look, I understand that Boston fans are used to a certain amount of ... let's call it pugilistic endeavors from the majority of their lineup.  We get it: they're big and bad.  I'm sure the Avalanche knew that coming into Beantown.  It isn't exactly the most subtle marketing/branding/team-building scheme in the history of organized sport.

Milan Lucic has a reputation as a hard-punching, lunchpail, roster lynchpin.  He's a really good player.  He's also surprisingly photogenic. He's had a colorful history of hits and borderline dirty play at the NHL level.  Also some that was clearly over the line.  He plays with a ton of emotion.  That emotion being typically unrepentant rage.  That being said, why in the world would anybody fight him in a tight-checking, early-season game against a non-divisional opponent in Boston's own barn?  You know what that is?  Stupid.  To add to that, why would a young player coming off a significant head injury last season agree to get face-punched so that Lucic can light a fire under his teammates collective asses?  You know what that is? Fucking stupid.

Lucic went out on his last shift of the 2nd period last night looking to get his team riled up.  He didn't give two shits about scoring, he wanted to tustle if that's what it took.  He was "fired up" and frustrated after coming up empty after two periods.  He took exception to a player pulling him off a hugging match in front of the Avalanche net.  That player was Gabriel Landeskog. Lucic then decided that the NHL standard headlock/facewash was an affront to his person and tried to engage Landeskog in a fight.  The same Landeskog who missed almost a month last season after getting a friendly Brad Stuart temple massage that resulted in a concussion.  If anybody in Boston had the slightest interest in looking outside their tiny little world, they'd know that the lingering effects of that hit lasted all season, even after Landeskog rejoined the team.  Claude Julian and other are opining that the 10-minute call was "soft" and likely a result of Lucic's reputation and not his actions.  He may be right, but you know how you get a reputation as a hothead?  By doing stupid shit when you're angry and demonstrating a lack of control and sound decision-making abilities.

So again, why would the 20-year-old captain give Lucic EXACTLY what he wanted and fight him?  Why would Colorado's captain play into the hothead's hands and give Boston a hop in their step heading onto the second intermission?  What possible benefit would Landeskog fighting Lucic have provided the visiting Avalanche?  Even ignoring the concussion history? I'll save you some time: NONE.

Now I know that plenty of people in the black and gold community are labeling Landeskog with language they should have outgrown when they started putting that GED to work.  Some of them even landed a major gig with a newspaper proving once again that journalism is hard.  But the stone cold reality is that Lucic's infamous temper got him an extra 10 minutes of alone time, severely hampered his team's chances (especially on the power play), and effectively removed him from the game.  Until the end where Matt Duchene blew their doors off on the way to an empty net goal.

Scoreboard bitches.

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