|Bruins set to square off with Capitals||11.05.10 at 4:01 pm ET|
Claude Julien probably meant it when he said on Friday that he and the Bruins were “anticipating as hard a game as we’ve had all year,” as the B’s final regular season trip to the nation’s capital likely won’t be an easy one.
Bruce Boudreau‘s club enters Friday night’s tilt with the Bruins second in the Eastern Conference with 16 points. Since the Bruins took two straight from the Capitals last month, Alexander Ovechkin‘s squad has gotten back into a groove, winning four of its last five games. In fact, half of the Capitals’ losses this season have come against the Bruins.
With Tim Thomas expected to get the start on Thursday, he will put an impressive 12-4-2 career record against the Capitals on the line. He’s allowed two goals to the Capitals this season, though one was the result of a blatant giveaway on his part that led to a Jason Chimera freebie.
Milan Lucic has a team-high three points against the Capitals this season, picking up a goal and two assists over the B’s two games against Washington. Matt Hunwick, David Krejci, Jordan Caron, Nathan Horton, Michael Ryder, and Zdeno Chara also have goals against the Capitals this season.
Here is the projected lineup:
Lucic ‘ Krejci ‘ Horton
Caron ‘ Bergeron- Recchi
Wheeler -Seguin- Ryder
Marchand ‘ Campbell- Thornton
Chara ‘ Ference
Hunwick ‘ Seidenberg
Stuart ‘ McQuaid
Want the quote of the day? Here’s one from Boudreau on his first impression of Thomas, as told to Brian McNally of the Washington Examiner:
‘Yeah ‘ I’m wondering who is this chubby little goalie that’s not allowing any goals in when he was in Providence. And he’d take his mask off and his face would be really red and I’m going ‘Wow, he can’t keep this up.’ But he always did. He played so great against our teams. I’d sit there and wonder why no NHL team has jumped all over this guy and then Mike O’Connell was smart enough to see that he was good enough and brought him up to Boston.’
Speaking of Thomas, click here to read the story behind the story of his offseason hip surgery.
|Milan Lucic turns disappointment from last season into fast start||10.20.10 at 6:39 pm ET|
Milan Lucic missed almost a third of the Bruins’ 2009-10 season because of an ankle injury, and scored only nine goals in 50 games played. Now that he’s starting this new season completely healthy, Lucic feels like he may have something to prove.
“Obviously I’m disappointed with how things went last year,” Lucic said after practice Wednesday. “Your main focus of the summer is just to get back and kind of regain that identity I created for myself and, you know, have a little bit of redemption going into the season.”
Off to a pretty good start, Lucic has scored a goal in each of the last three games, a streak he’s achieved for only the second time in his career. The first occurrence was back on Dec. 8-12, 2008.
“I think for me, thus far, I’ve just done a good job getting myself into scoring areas,” he said. “And also a big thing for me …is when I’m moving my feet and skating well, I think that’s what’s creating the most chances for myself.”
Lucic, of course, refused to take full credit for his successes so far this season. “Obviously playing with a great center like [David] Krejci and a scoring threat like [Nathan] Horton makes it easier for myself,” he said. “We’ve been able to find some chemistry here early on in the season, but I think the main thing is we just have fun playing with one another. You know, we just have to go out there and keep performing every night.”
It seems to be no coincidence that with the top line clicking like it has, the Bruins have won their last three straight games and outscored their opponents, 10-2.
“All 20 guys are doing their part to help the team get some offense,” Lucic said. “Everyone’s doing a good job back checking and having good sticks and taking away lanes. And I think that’s what’s causing a lot of turnovers for us and we’ve been able to go on the attack.”
The next challenge for the Bruins (3-1) will be translating their road success into their home opener. Lucic says there is definitely excitement to come back home and play in front of home fans, which can sometimes lead to temptation to try and put on a show for the crowd. The key for a home victory, according to Lucic, will be to “just keep doing what we’ve been doing – and that’s keeping things simple and making strong plays.”
Last season, over half of the Bruins’ losses took place on their home ice, which is “inexcusable” to Lucic.
“You play at home 41 times a year,” he said. “You’ve got to make that a hard building to play against. You want teams coming in being like, ‘you know what, I don’t like playing in the Garden.’ And that’s what every team around the league wants to do. They want to establish their building as hard to play against. That’s definitely what we want to get back to doing this year.”
The Bruins will have their first opportunity to do just that in a rematch against the Capitals Thursday night. The puck is set to drop at 7 pm.
|Bruins hold final practice before Devils game||10.15.10 at 11:32 am ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins took the ice on Friday for their final skate at Ristuccia Arena before travelling to New Jersey for a Saturday night matchup with the Devils.
All players were accounted for on Friday, and the lines remain unchanged from Thursday. The team did some shootout work about 15 minutes into the skate as teammates looked on in amusement. Johnny Boychuk did appear to get hit in either the back of the leg or the side of the skate with a Milan Lucic shot, but he seemed to skate it off and did not leave the ice. Stay tuned for more from the locker room following practice.
|Lucic has new goal: 20 of them||09.21.10 at 12:39 pm ET|
Milan Lucic is entering the first year of a three-year deal with an annual cap hit of $4.008 million. Though just 22 years of age, the physical forward will play the 2010-11 season as the fourth-highest paid member of the Bruins, behind only Zdeno Chara, Tim Thomas, and Patrice Bergeron. As he trains with teammates for what he hopes is a more healthy campaign than his 50-game 2009-10, he hopes to make himself worth every dime of his contract. In particular, he hopes to find the back of the net more.
In three NHL seasons, Lucic’s career high in goals came in the 2008-09 season, one in which he added 25 assists in his 77 games for a career-best 42 points.
“I feel like have the ability to help contribute to this team a little bit more,” Lucic said Tuesday. “I still in my three years haven’t been able to hit the 20-goal mark. I feel like that’s a realistic goal for me this year and that’s a personal goal that I should be able to meet.
“In saying that, I shouldn’t just be thinking that way. If I start thinking ‘goal, goal, goal, goals’ and just getting points, that’s when my play starts to suffer. I think if I’m just moving my feet and playing physical, everything else tends to fall into place. I think going into my fourth year, what I really want to do is try to be the best player on the ice on a more consistent level. I think that’s the challenge for myself and that’s what I’m going to be looking forward to doing this year.”
Lucic added that he hopes to spend more time on the power play. With much being made of the Tyler Seguin-Mark Recchi connection as far as learning the trick of the trade as a young player, Lucic freely admitted that when it comes to making a difference with a man advantage, he’s still taking notes from the veteran.
“There’s a lot to learn from Mark Recchi, who does such a great job in front of the net with tips and just establishing body presence. For a little guy like him, he’s able to establish really good body presence in front of the net. I’ve learned a lot from him and I’m still learning,” Lucic said. “Hopefully I can translate that into this year.”
|If you don’t know Nathan Horton’s face yet, you soon will||09.15.10 at 12:10 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The process of acclimation continues for Nathan Horton, who has been out there for each of the Bruins’ captains practice. Though he will technically be a newcomer come Friday’s opening of training camp, Horton, acquired in June from the Panthers, has been everywhere for the Bruins since arriving in town. In addition to his aforementioned attendance on the ice, he’s participated in charity events and has thrown out the first pitch at Fenway Park.
One of his more recent adventures around New England came Monday, when he and Milan Lucic delivered tickets to a season-ticket holder. Though his teammates are plenty familiar with the winger, Horton understands the fans may not quite have his mug memorized.
“We did surprise them. I’m not sure they knew somebody was coming, and then it was me and Milan,” Horton said. “[I don’t think] they know my face real well, but they know him and they were pretty excited.”
Wednesday night Horton will try his luck in Marco Sturm‘s charity poker tournament. Though the getting-to-know-you process has been an enjoyable ride thus far, Horton’s ready to get down to business on Friday.
“It hasn’t started yet,” Horton said of his new job. “It’s been fun till now, but once Friday comes I think it will be a little more serious. It’s been fun though. I get to do a lot of stuff and see a lot of the things in Boston.”
|Lucic has advice for Seguin, excited for Savard||09.08.10 at 1:01 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — It wasn’t too long ago that left wing Milan Lucic was the most popular Bruins rookie. Now preparing for his fourth season in the NHL, the 22-year-old Lucic can look back on his experience in the 2007-08 season and offer some perspective on what second overall pick Tyler Seguin might go through with the Bruins this year.
“I remember my first year, there were things I needed to do to adjust to this level and adjust to this game,” Lucic said. “There was stuff that I worked on for the first three months that I was here, just little things. You just can’t get frustrated when things aren’t going your way, you’ve just got to keep working at it.
“One thing that I always looked at when I was young like that, I just went out there and played. I didn’t want to let any type of expectations or any type of pressures get to me. I just wanted to go out there and play and have fun with it and enjoy the time that I was here.”
Seguin isn’t the only newcomer Lucic is psyched about. Lucic is generally grinning at all times, but he spoke with a great deal of excitement when asked about Nathan Horton.
“He’s a big body. He can skate and he can score,” Lucic said of Horton. “That’s the expectations on him is just to do that. Obviously, he’s going to be a big part of our team and big part of the right wingers. Hopefully it doesn’t take him too long to find his game in our system here. We’ve got some pretty good centermen here that we can match him up with, so I’m sure he’ll be fine.”
The centerman figured to be the best match with Horton might be Marc Savard, who was reportedly shopped by the team at points during the offseason. The rumors led to Savard admitting that he was “hurt” by the idea of the team trading him, but Lucic has been in contact with his friend this summer and has been training harder than he ever has in anticipation of the 2010-11 season.
Though Lucic said he’s excited to see what kind of shape Savard in is after such a good offseason, he is first and foremost glad that none of what was written about Savard came true.
“Clearly they were all rumors,” Lucic said. “Everyone’s different, everyone takes it different. Obviously, Savvy took it the way he did and his feelings were a little bit hurt. I’m happy that he’s still a part of this team because I felt in the three years I’ve been here, he’s been one of the guys that I’ve been closest with, and obviously we have our special bond off and on the ice. I’m happy that he’s back and I hope he’s happy that he’s still around, too.”
Lucic played in only 50 games last year due to a nagging ankle injury but is skating now with any hindrance or tape. He felt he was able to get into a groove in the playoffs, when he had nine points in 13 games, and feels that if he can keep it up, he’ll be effective as ever.
“I felt like at the end of the season there against Philly, I felt like I played my best hockey and I thought I was good and strong with the puck, being able to be hard with the puck and be that physical presence,” Lucic said. “It’s basically the same thing. Just go out there and do that. If I’m just being a physical presence out there, everything always seems to take care of itself.”
|Slideshow: Putts and Punches for Parkinson’s||08.09.10 at 10:51 pm ET|
WEEI.com was on hand for Shawn Thornton’s first annual Putts and Punches for Parkinson’s golf tournament, which means photographer John Vu was snapping plenty of pictures at Ferncroft Country Club in Middleton. Here is the slideshow of the event, which also featured Bruins forward Milan Lucic and goaltender Tuukka Rask (click the picture to begin). For the full low-down on the event and what it meant to Thornton, whose grandmother passed away from Parkinson’s, click here.
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