John-Michael Liles to have hearing for hit on Nikita Kucherov
Just over a week removed from their hearing with Zac Rinaldo — who earned a five-game ban in the AHL upon his assignment to Providence — the NHL Department of Player Safety will be meeting with another Bruin.
On Wednesday, the Department of Player Safety tweeted that they’ll have a hearing with one of the newest Bruins, John-Michael Liles, for his hit on Nikita Kucherov during the B’s 1-0 overtime win over the Lightning on Wednesday night.
Boston’s John-Michael Liles will have a hearing tomorrow for an illegal check to the head on Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov.
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) March 9, 2016
Within the final minutes of the first period, Liles delivered a forearm to the head of a ducking Kucherov. The Lightning winger went to the locker room for the remaining two-plus minutes of the first but returned to join his teammates in the second period. No penalty was called on Liles for the incident.
Liles, who has two assists in five games with the Bruins, spoke to reporters about the incident during his postgame interview session with the media and stated there was no intent to harm.
“I was trying to step into him as he went by me,” Liles said to 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.”
With Zach Trotman and Joe Morrow as the two extra defensemen the last two nights, and Kevan Miller still day-to-day, GM Don Sweeney may have to callup an extra blue-liner if Liles is banned. Colin Miller, who has six points in eight games since being assigned to Providence, would be the top candidate to fill a roster spot if needed.
We’ll see if the NHL buys Liles’ argument, but his reputation of being a pretty clean player — his only discipline on record came in a fine for kneeing Ryan Smyth back in 2006 — and the fact that Kucherov returned could help the B’s trade deadline acquisition during tomorrow’s hearing.
Should Liles be suspended? Vote in our Twitter poll and have your voice heard.
Today’s poll question: Should John-Michael Liles be suspended for his hit on Nikita Kucherov last night? — Bruins Daily (@BruinsDaily) March 9, 2016