By Mike Harrington
I've spent all day seeing blogs and Twitter absolutely blow up over whatever happened between Milan Lucic and the Canadiens in the handshake line after Game Seven Wednesday night in Boston. It was chronicled here earlier today by John Vogl -- complete with the key video evidence.
To me, the post-series handshake line is one of hockey's great traditions that sets the game apart. There are those I usually respect who say it's a dinosaur and the worst tradition in hockey. They are wrong. Losing graciously is a good message to send. And, frankly, so is winning graciously. (The Canadiens could use a few lessons in that as well, and both teams took some heat in this solid column about the aftermath from CSNNE.com's Joe Haggerty.)
For Lucic to carp that "It’s said on the ice, so it’ll stay on the ice" is ridiculous. His league obviously doesn't agree. NHL.com has been putting microphones on players in the handshake line this postseason!
Here's Daniel Briere last night, with a quick tap from Lucic but a big hug for former Sabres teammate Daniel Paille:
Here's Patrick Kane after scoring the series-winning overtime goal Tuesday in Minnesota. Obviously, he's happy and has nice things to say to his opponents. But look at how the Wild players, including Jason Pominville and Cody McCormick, respond in kind.
That is how it's supposed to go. That's how it goes for virtually every player on virtually every team. Milan Lucic is not bigger than the game. You win, you shake hands. You lose, you shake hands. You don't like it? Too bad. Respect your sport. But I guess that's a lot to ask for a guy who specializes in sticks to the groin when the stripes aren't paying attention.
The final say on Lucic? For old times' sake, let's let Ryan Miller have at it: