John-Michael Liles had a hearing today with the NHL Department of Player Safety just two days after delivering a hit to the head of Nikita Kucherov during the Bruins’ 1-0 overtime win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. The ruling came quickly, and the outcome wasn’t quite surprising.
In a tweet, the Player Safety Department announced that Liles did not receive any supplemental discipline for his forearm to the head of Kucherov.
For those who missed the hit, here’s the clip below:
Despite the collission, Liles was not called for a penalty on the play. Kucherov, who went to the locker room for the remainder of the first period, returned to the ice in with his teammates in the middle stanza and played the rest of the game. That, coupled with Liles’ pretty clean history — he’s only been fined once on record for kneeing Ryan Smyth back in 2006 — arguably factored into the decision.
After the B’s 1-0 win on Tuesday, Liles, acquired at the trade deadline, noted that there was no intent to harm Kucherov.
“I was trying to step into him as he went by me,” Liles told the media. “I didn’t think I came up that high on him, I just tried to step itno him and I don’t know if he was falling or if he ducked. Obviously, he was down for awhile and I didn’t see a replay on it so I’m not really sure.
“I’m not trying to hit him high; most guys I can’t even reach their heads. So, I was just trying to do my job at the blue-line to step up and just get a piece of him. I didn’t think my elbow came up high at all.”
The league agreed and that’s all that matters for Liles, who skated with Zdeno Chara on the Bruins’ top defensive pair at today’s morning skate.
Since coming over from the Hurricanes — tonight’s opponent — at the trade deadline, Liles has two assists in five games while averaging nearly 20 minutes of ice time per night with the Black and Gold.