Most NHL players react to their suspensions with a brief, pre-rehearsed statement that either includes a hint of remorse or respectfully disagreeing with the ruling.

Some include both.

Not Milan Lucic.

On Tuesday the hulking Flames winger approached the two-game sentence handed down by the league on Sunday the same way he approached Kole Sherwood Saturday night:


"It’s a schoolyard out there," said Lucic, making his first comments since the ban. "You’ve got to defend your teammates or you kind of get walked over.

"It was pretty clear the guy slashes or spears (Flames goalie David Rittich) and I was just standing up for him. I’m more than willing to do that.

"I’m more than happy to defend Ritter on that play and more than happy to defend (Austin) Czarnik the first game of the year and will do that moving forward. This suspension won’t change that."

It’s the sort of mindset his teammates are happy to hear, and the type of attitude that prompted GM Brad Treliving to bring Lucic in for James Neal this summer.