MILAN LUCIC: HE’S BACK

by Ron Spence

The perfect October 28th game? Canucks 6 – Bruins 2. Lucic  with a “Gordie Howe Hat Trick.”

Milan Lucic is that kind of guy.

On October 20th, he had only one goal for the young season and there were some concerns in Beantown.

Then, three days later, he boarded Mike Van Ryn and smashed a pane of glass. People had questioned his timing, but it was obviously back.

And then, two days later, Lucic scored a hat trick against Atlanta, won the game, and ended Boston’s three game losing streak.

THE MVP RAISES THE MEMORIAL CUP

courtesty of canada.com

The Boston Globe described Lucic’s play prior to his scoring outburst.

“It wasn’t long ago that Lucic was on the fourth line,” wrote Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe, “skating alongside Yelle and Thornton. Lucic struggled in training camp, appearing a step behind the play and rarely putting himself in position to lay the smack on opponents or score a timely goal.

But as the season has progressed, Lucic has regained his timing and landed, most recently, on the No. 1 line, where he was sorely needed last night. It’s the kind of culture Julien has made sure to institute, rewarding deserving players with playing time and demoting others when they don’t deserve to be on the ice.

“He wasn’t necessarily on the fourth line because we were disappointed in him,” Julien said. “He had a slow start. We slotted him in the position where we thought he should start. Once he started getting his game back, he slowly got up the ladder. Tonight, I thought he was where he deserved to be.

“The results were there for him. This is the Boston Bruins. It’s about heart and soul and going out and working hard. Looch is a perfect example of that. He won us a hockey game tonight with the way he played and the identity that we talk about.”

That identity was certainly present last spring – during Boston’s playoff games against Montreal.

“He’s been their best player by a long shot,” Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau noted. “He’s played really well. I like the way he plays. He’s physical, he’s got good speed, he gets involved. Nothing dirty. I really enjoy watching him.”

The Globe’s Kevin Paul Dupon, wrote of Lucic on April 15 – during the playoffs: “Lucic, as of yesterday morning, led the playoffs with 18 hits, four more than the Rangers’ Daniel Girardi and the Flames’ Dion Phaneuf, a pair of defensemen. Only 19 years old, Lucic has become a presence, a force, cut in the same bold form as Hall of Famer Cam Neely. He has yet to demonstrate Neely’s shot, or touch, or cruising speed, but he is slowly knitting those elements together….”

courtesy of bruinsnhl.com

B.C. hockey fans know Lucic’s style of play.

They watched fondly as he: led his Vancouver Giants to a Memorial Cup win – and an MVP Trophy; captained the Canadian Junior team to the 2007 Super Series championship; and made the Boston Bruins’ squad as an 18 year old.

Milan Lucic shows his not-so-tender side against the Leafs' Mark Bell.


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