|Milan Lucic says hatred for Canadiens will ‘go up another level’||04.30.14 at 4:16 pm ET|
Forget all the talk about keeping the emotions in check for a moment.
Understand that the essence of the rivalry between the Bruins and Canadiens is – at its core – about despising the opponent. It’s just like the Red Sox and Yankees, only the Red Sox and Yankees haven’t met 32 previous times in the playoffs.
Milan Lucic understands this. He will be a marked man in Boston by anyone wear blu, blanc et rouge. And it’s not just because of his hits on defenseman Alexei Emelin in the regular season. The Canadiens know that if they’re to keep Boston’s top line in check, it starts with putting a body on Lucic before he does the same to you.
Does Lucic hate the Canadiens?
“I do, and if you ask them the same question I’m sure they’d give you the same answer about if they hate us,” he said Wednesday after the team’s final full practice before Game 1 Thursday night at TD Garden. “It’s just natural for me, being here for seven years now, just being a part of this organization, you just naturally learn to hate the Montreal Canadiens, and the battles we’ve had with them over the last couple of years have definitely made you hate them.
“I think this being the first time meeting them outside the first round I think it’s definitely going to go up another level.”
|Bruins can’t wait for fourth win vs. Red Wings like they did with Leafs||04.25.14 at 12:27 am ET|
DETROIT — The Bruins know too well that 3-1 doesn’t mean a series is over.
Even without taking into consideration their blown 3-0 lead against the Flyers in the 2010 Eastern Conference semifinals, all they have to do is think back to the first round a year ago.
Just like they did last season in Toronto, the B’s earned an overtime win in Game 4 to take a 3-1 series lead. What happened next the last time around were two straight 2-1 losses to a force a Game 7 that they would have lost were it not for a major comeback.
What happens this time around can be different, and the B’s will keep last year in mind.
“We were in this position last year, same thing, winning in overtime in Game 4 in Toronto,” Milan Lucic said Thursday after the B’s 3-2 overtime win over the Red Wings. “We all know what happened after that, so we’re not taking anything for granted here. We all know how hard it is to close out a series and we all know how desperate they’re going to be headed into Saturday.”
The team that the Bruins had up 3-1 in the first round last year hadn’t been to the playoffs in nine years. The one the B’s face now are in the playoffs for a 23rd consecutive season. Though the B’s also faced a solid coach in Randy Carlyle in the first round, this Red Wings team is an experienced and extremely well-coached team. If the B’s go into cruise control, guys like Pavel Datsyuk will take advantage and the Red Wings will close the gap.
So, with a recent reminder of what can happen, the B’s — particularly David Krejci‘s line, which won’t have to play against Datsyuk with the Bruins getting last change at home — need to keep the pedal to the metal.
“You can’t really describe it with words,” Krejci said. “You just go out there and you use those experiences. Everything happens so fast out there, so you’ve got use what happened in the past and learn from it.”
If the Bruins can close out the Red Wings and advance to the second round, they will face the Habs for the first time since they played in the first round in 2011. Oddly enough, that first-round series also saw the Bruins win Game 4 in overtime.
The B’s showed in Games 3 and 4 that they can win at Joe Louis Arena — something they hadn’t done since 2007 in the regular season — but they’d be silly to want to return for a Game 6. Saturday presents an opportunity to get to the second round without any of the dramatics.
The B’s are better-served saving those for the later rounds, anyway.
“We can talk about it all we want, but it’s going to show in our play,” Lucic said. “We’ve learned a lot of hard lessons in the past, like Toronto, and fortunately we were able to get out of that and move on, and last year we had Chicago down, 2-1, and we probably didn’t play our best Game 4 and lost that in overtime and weren’t able to recover after that. You don’t want to do anything to give the other team life in a series.”
|Milan Lucic fined $5,000 for spear on Danny DeKeyser, says he’s still an honest player||04.19.14 at 1:59 pm ET|
Bruins forward Milan Lucic was fined $5,000 Saturday for spearing Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser in the groin in Detroit’s 1-0 Game 1 victory over the B’s.
Lucic skated up behind DeKeyser in the second period of the then-scoreless game, stuck his stick between DeKeyser’s legs and forcefully yanked it up, causing DeKeyser to fall to the ice in the pain (video). It was Lucic’s second spearing incident in the last month, as he did it on March 24 against Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emelin.
Prior to the news of the fine, Lucic said he didn’t know why he committed the cheap shot.
“Obviously, it was kind of a heat of the moment thing when you’re not thinking and you do something like that,” Lucic said Saturday. “I’ve been in the league for seven years now. I think I’ve only done that three times. I don’t know I did it, but like I said, it’s one of the heat-of-the-moment that unfortunately I did. I believe in playing within the rules. For me, I definitely won’t be headed down that rode again.”
Asked if the fact that he’s now done it twice in such a short period of time should earn him a reputation, Lucic said he still feels he’s an honest player.
“I never do that. I haven’t done that but unfortunately I’ve done it twice in the little bit here,” Lucic said. “I’m not going to make it a habit. I don’t know why I did it both times, but it’s not going to be a habit of mine. Like I said, I believe in playing between the rules the right way and that’s what I’ll continue to do moving forward.”
While Lucic’s action — and the fact that it’s become a habit — was really bad, it is true that such spears have happened over the years and may not have even gotten a second look years ago. Lucic said it’s happened to him before.
“It happens more times than not,” Lucic said. “But with how much video there is today, it’s a lot harder to get away with.”
“I mean, yeah, I’m fine,” DeKeyser said Saturday. “It just happens during the game. You deal with it.”
Added DeKeyser: “It’s playoff hockey and it’s going to be a little physical out there. Stuff like that will happen from time to time. Emotions kind of run high during the games and that’s what it is.”
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|Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Jarome Iginla fail to get going in Bruins’ Game 1 loss to Red Wings||at 12:02 am ET|
Going into this series, it seemed like a pretty safe assumption that Patrice Bergeron and Pavel Datsyuk would match up frequently. Maybe you’d give the Bruins a slight edge there given that Datsyuk is coming back from an injury, but for the most part, you’d expect that to be a back-and-forth dogfight. Sure enough, that’s more or less how Game 1 played out — their lines went against each other pretty much every time out, and the matchup was essentially a wash until Datsyuk’s goal with 3:01 left in the game.
In theory, that matchup should have freed up the Bruins’ top line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Jarome Iginla to pick on Detroit’s lesser lines and banged-up defensive corps. That didn’t happen, though.
In fact, that line played one of its worst games of the season in Game 1. It went up against the trio of Gustav Nyquist, Riley Sheahan and Tomas Tatar for the majority of its shifts (thanks to shiftchart.com for the excellent data), and found itself chasing the puck most of the night. Lucic, Krejci and Iginla were able to get what should have been a favorable matchup against Detroit’s second pairing of Kyle Quincey and Danny DeKeyser — an OK, but far-from-great duo — for about half their shifts, but they never really got a chance to take advantage because of how much time they spent in their own zone.
A lot was made of Detroit’s speed going into the series, and this was really the one place that it showed. Nyquist and Tatar motored their way through the neutral zone and into the Bruins’ end time and again, with the back pressure from Krejci and company a little too late too often. From there, the cycle was on, as Boston’s top trio had to resort to chasing the puck rather than possessing it. When they did get it, they struggled to get through the neutral zone and sustain any sort of offensive pressure.
The result was Lucic, Krejci and Iginla all finishing with Corsi percentages under 40 (according to the fantastic extraskater.com), marking just the sixth time this season their possession numbers as a line have dipped that low. In near perfect symmetry, Nyquist, Sheahan and Tatar all finished with Corsi percentages over 60. If the more basic shot on goal stat is your thing, Sheahan’s line had eight, while Krejci’s line had four. It is worth mentioning, however, that Krejci’s line had arguably the Bruins’ best chance all night when Lucic tipped an Iginla shot that wound up trickling just wide about 30 seconds before Datsyuk scored. Read the rest of this entry »
|Jimmy Howard admits Red Wings were ‘pretty lucky’ to beat Bruins||04.18.14 at 11:20 pm ET|
It was the key moment of Game 1.
Jarome Iginla fired a centering pass from the right side boards to Milan Lucic with just over three minutes left in regulation. Lucic got a clean piece of the puck for a redirect on Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard. It appeared to be the perfect pass and perfect chance in a game that had precious few of each.
But instead of the puck finding it’s way past Howard, the Detroit goalie got just enough to flick the puck wide of the goal mouth and out of harm’s way.
“It was a fortunate save,” Howard said. “It was pretty lucky. [Lucic] stuck his stick out and got a lot on it and it sort of just spun off my glove and I was able to get just enough on it. I was pretty lucky.”
The momentum swing didn’t end there. The pendulum, as it often does in a game like Friday night, swung completely the other way leading to a Red Wings rush up the ice. Wings veteran forward Pavel Datsyuk came across the Bruins blue line and, using the collision of Justin Abdelkader and Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton as a screen, fired a shot that beat Tuukka Rask on the far side for the game’s only goal and a 1-0 Detroit win.
“He was by himself there so I’m just thinking a shot there and then he drags it across and releases from our D’s legs so you just try to get the puck in your eyes and I couldn’t,” Rask said of Datsyuk’s shot. “It squeaked by me. Usually he tries to make a pass but I thought he was by himself there. I just couldn’t see it.
“It still went through me so I thought I should have it. But I didn’t see it.”
|Milan Lucic plans on covering himself – and the Bruins – in Old Time glory||04.07.14 at 8:05 pm ET|
In 2011, it was an old Bruins Starter jacket that the No. 1 star of the game wore after each Bruins playoff win.
Last year, Andrew Ference continued his own tradition by using an Army Rangers jacket to serve the same purpose, paying tribute to veterans of the battles in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Bruins can thank a legend from their past for the newest tradition, a heavily-worn “Old-Time Hockey” jacket.
“This is the new game jacket. It’s from Johnny Bucyk, so this is the new look from here on in after a win, and hopefully we can pass it along for a long time,” Milan Lucic said.
Perhaps the greatest significance of the latest tradition is honoring the past, specifically Bucyk and the Big Bad Bruins of the 1970s, a team the current Bruins are trying to emulate with a second Stanley Cup title this spring.
“There’s a lot of respect for those guys, the past of this franchise and the people that have been here, and it’s Johnny Bucyk’s jacket — he gave it to Looch because he doesn’t fit it in anymore,” coach Claude Julien quipped over the weekend. “So otherwise, he probably would have had to buy it, right? So he’s been real good to us, and we felt that this was a great opportunity for him to continue to be a part of our group, which he is, and donate something that I think the players are finding really important right now.
“And again, it’s an homage to those guys that have been here and done so well, and I think our players, as I said, have a lot of respect for those guys and they want to continue the tradition. So they’re going to wear that jacket.”
Ference might be gone, but the tradition of honoring the player who symbolizes what it means to be a Bruin each game continues, thanks to captain Zdeno Chara.
“Being the captain, he stepped up and carried the tradition of a game jacket,” Lucic said.
|Milan Lucic calls Alexei Emelin a ‘chicken,’ denies spearing Canadiens defenseman||03.24.14 at 11:22 pm ET|
One of the biggest challenges the Bruins faced in their 2-1 shootout loss to the Canadiens Monday night was keeping their cool. After the game, Milan Lucic still hadn’t quite cooled down.
Lucic took a first-period hip check from Alexei Emelin in the first period of the game. The hit was clean, but Lucic asserted after the game that Emelin was trying to take out his knees. Zdeno Chara went after Emelin for the play, earning a roughing minor.
“Whether it’s fair, legal or whatever you want to call it, if he wasn’t scared, he would stand up and hit me and not go after my knees,” Lucic said. “It just shows how big of a chicken he is that he needs to go down like that to take me down. It shows what kind of player he is, and on my end, you know you’ve got to keep your guard up at all times.”
That wasn’t the end of Lucic’s interactions with Emelin. In the third period (video here), Lucic skated past Emelin but stuck his stick between the player’s legs and lifted his stick, hitting him in what looked to be the rear end, though initial reactions around the web suggested he may have gotten Emelin in the — let’s say “groin.” Lucic denied the act after the game.
“Just skating by him and that’s all,” he said. “People are trying to say I speared him. I did not spear him, so that’s it.”
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