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Milan Lucic defends hit on Logan Couture: 'I didn't cross any line'

Milan Lucic defends hit on Logan Couture: 'I didn't cross any line'
Los Angeles Kings left wing Milan Lucic plays during a preseason game against the Arizona Coyotes on Sept. 22. (Chris Carlson / AP)

Reputation apparently made the trip to Los Angeles, riding along with one of the newest Kings, left wing Milan Lucic.

Lucic figured that his match penalty near the end of Wednesday's opener — when he retaliated against San Jose's Logan Couture after the center's low check on him — was a byproduct of name and history.

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"I think that's why I got a match [penalty], it's just because of who I am," Lucic said. "If I would have made that hit and someone came after me the same way, he wouldn't have got a match. It just comes with who you are."

There was no supplementary discipline handed out by the league to either Lucic or to Kings captain Dustin Brown in the aftermath of the Sharks' 5-1 victory over the Kings.

Brown's first-period hit on Couture was analyzed and dissected on social media — there was no penalty called on the play — but Brown said after practice Thursday that he did not hear from the league's Department of Player Safety.

Nor did Lucic.

"They review all that stuff and there's nothing that's come of it," Lucic said. "Like I said last night, I didn't cross any line. Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.

"It's like a schoolyard or anything. You've got to stand up for yourself when the time is right. If this was 10 years ago, and a play like that happens and it was 5-1, it would be a lot messier."

Brown, who has long been a controversial figure in the Kings-Sharks rivalry, said he wasn't aware of his hit being "a big deal" until after the game.

"I stopped and he was going north and I was going south," Brown said. "You know on the ice whether it's a borderline hit or not. And it didn't feel like it to me."

Lucic, who was traded from the Boston Bruins to the Kings in June, didn't waste time to become fully involved in the long and heated rivalry.

"I didn't think there was players that you're not allowed to hit in the league," Couture said afterward of Lucic.

Lucic said a teammate told him later what Couture said to reporters. Then Lucic had plenty to more to say on Thursday.

"I didn't like the play. I didn't appreciate the play," Lucic said. "His comments, saying, 'I didn't know some players weren't allowed to be hit.' I have no idea why he would say that about me.

"I get hit as much as I hit. That's a dumb comment on his part. Whatever. It just adds fuel to the fire for the upcoming games."

McNabb's task

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Kings Coach Darryl Sutter provided some insight into a late lineup move with the defense for the opener — veteran Matt Greene in and youngster Brayden McNabb out.

Sutter said McNabb needed to "play better."

"He had a tough camp," Sutter said. "…Brady will come around, and play, and play well for us. But he was outplayed in training camp by guys that played last night."

KINGS VS. ARIZONA

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday.

On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 790.

Etc.: There are plenty of new faces with the Coyotes, including former Kings center Brad Richardson, who signed a three-year, $6.25-million contract in the summer as a free agent.

Twitter: @reallisa

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