For now, the Boston Bruins continue to support Milan Lucic and his family, but what would happen salary cap-wise if the team decided it was better to part ways with Lucic and terminate his contract?
Milan Lucic was officially charged with assault and battery on a family member on Tuesday and pleaded not guilty at his arraignment at the Suffolk County Superior Courthouse in Boston. He was released on personal recognizance with a no-abuse order and no alcohol while the case was pending. A pre-trial date of Jan. 19 was set.
In a reply to an email request from Boston Hockey Now for a comment on Lucic formally being charged, the Boston Bruins public relations department replied with this statement:
‘The Boston Bruins have been in communication with the Lucic family, offering our support and assistance. The organization is supportive of Milan’s decision to enter the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance program. He remains on an indefinite leave of absence from the team. With respect to both his ongoing rehabilitation and the legal process, we will have no further comment at this time.’
Since the news broke on Saturday morning that Milan Lucic had been arrested for a domestic violence incident involving him and his wife, the Bruins have been nothing but supportive of the entire Lucic family, including him.
“The Boston Bruins are aware of the situation involving Milan Lucic Friday evening. Milan is taking an indefinite leave of absence from the team. The organization takes these matters very seriously, and we will work with the Lucic family to provide any support and assistance they may need.”
That was the initial statement made by the team to the Boston Herald and multiple news stations late Saturday morning.
“The biggest thing for us is we care a lot about their family,” Boston Bruins captain Brad Marchand said ahead of his team’s 5-2. win over the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden on Saturday night. “We’re a family in here. We’re all very, very close, so we’re also very concerned, you know, and upset for them and what they’re going through. We have a lot of support for Brittany (Lucic’s wife) and the kids and Lucic himself. Because of that respect for them, you know, that’s going to be it for now.”
After details of the arrest and allegations began to leak on Saturday night and into Sunday morning, including his wife saying in her 911 call that Lucic tried to choke her, the Bruins still reserved comment on the allegations and the arrest and instead continued to express support.
“Right now, it’s all about support for ‘Brit’ [Brittany Lucic] and the kids, and Milan himself, and that’s it,” alternate captain Charlie McAvoy replied on Sunday when asked about the developing situation surrounding his teammate.
The official comment from the team above on Tuesday night indicates that nothing is close to happening on the contract front for Lucic, but should they choose to, they can change course and punish Milan Lucic since he has been officially charged. They can fine, suspend, or even terminate Lucic’s one-year, $1 million contract.
The “Morality Clause” of the Standard Player Contract (SPC) states that a team can terminate a deal with a player who breaches the contract with “conduct detrimental to the best interest of the Club. Each player must ‘agree to conduct himself on and off the rink according to the highest standards of honesty, morality, fair play, and sportsmanship and to refrain from conduct detrimental to the best interest of the Club, the League, or professional hockey generally.’
As was the case when the Los Angeles Kings terminated the contract of Mike Richards after he was arrested at the border for illegal possession of prescription drugs in 2015, the Bruins can choose to terminate Lucic’s contract and be free of the $781,250 remaining carried. Currently, they are actually free from his cap hit as Lucic remains on long-term injury reserve and in the Player Assistance program, and it appears for now, they won’t take any action with his contract, but the option will remain should they change their mind.