Is Lucic really up to full speed?
|02.27.10 at 12:42 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — With 22 games left and a playoff spot up for grabs, the Bruins would like to know that they finally have everyone on their roster healthy and ready to contribute to the grind.
For Milan Lucic, that may not exactly be the case.
The Bruins were running 2-on-1 drills midway through practice on Saturday. Lucic was paired with Michael Ryder who backhanded a pass from behind the baseline that deflected off of the blade of Lucic’s skate. It must have buzzed through his bad ankle and his leg because the hulking left winger winced momentarily before resuming his spot in the drill.
“It was all good,” Lucic said. “That type of stuff happens all the time. It feels good, better since before the break. That is what is seems what the break was good for.”
Lucic still keeps the ankle pretty heavily taped but says that it is a precautionary measure.
“You kind of have to because it is so easy to re-injure that you want to be safe,” Lucic said. “I don’t like being taped before every game and every practice. It is a little different, a little annoying but it is something that you got to do to get through this.”
Coach Claude Julien more or less agreed with his forward and said that if Lucic thinks he is fine, Julien is not going to second-guess him.
“You have to take his word for what he is saying,” Julien said. “I am not going to second-guess him but an ankle injury is an ankle injury. Those things don’t totally disappear but I haven’t heard him complain about it and it is effecting him. Our trainers seem to think he is good. I think what you are seeing is more of a guy who has had so many setbacks this year that it is going to take him a while to catch up. I think that is what we talked about when he came back.”
Baseball players will tell you that wrist injuries are some of the hardest to really recover from because they tend to linger. Baseball players use their wrists for just about everything they do and every year you will see a plethora of hamate bone breaks and sheath tendon tears (Dustin Pedroia had the former, David Ortiz the latter). In hockey, the ankle is a similar type of malignant injury because it is hard to come back from considering all the stopping and starting skating requires.
The Bruins company line right now is that Lucic’s ankle is fine, yet it is easy to wonder how fine it actually is. Even after the initial buzz from Ryder’s pass that Lucic said “happens all the time” he still looked like he may have been favoring it at the end of the practice, especially after a puck battle drill in center ice. The battle went back and forth (kind of a “keep away” type of drill) and the pair broke towards the goal and Lucic slipped in the offensive zone. He came up wincing after and did not look like he wanted to put too much weight on the ankle.
No matter how well the ankle is actually feeling, do not look for the young wingman to miss any time unless another dramatic injury occurs. For now the ankle is well enough to play on and Lucic do so, no matter if it is slowing him down or not.
— The practice lines were the same they have been the last two days.
Saturday participation by sweater color:
Grey — Blake Wheeler, Vladimir Sobotka, Michael Ryder
Red — Byron Bitz, Steve Begin, Lucic, Shawn Thornton
Goaltenders — Tuukka Rask, Matt Dalton