|Milan Lucic fully healed after battling injuries in playoffs||08.19.11 at 8:23 pm ET|
LOWELL — Milan Lucic was sporting a borderline foreign look as he threw out the first pitch at the Lowell Spinners’ game Friday night at LeLacheur Park. After last being spotted celebrating the Bruins’ Stanley Cup championship at the team’s parade, the barbaric beard worn by Lucic and his teammates was nowhere to be seen. Instead, Lucic had a light beard no longer than his buzz cut.
“It’s actually too long now. It needs to be shaven,” Lucic said. “There’s times when you look back and you kind of miss [the playoff beard], but it’s definitely nice to have a clean face after that run.”
Not only does Lucic have a clean face, but he has a clean bill of health, something he did not have during the playoffs. Lucic, who had developed a reputation as a big playoff performer (he has six goals in the last eight games in which the B’s could eliminate an opponent), was forced to deal with injuries throughout the team’s playoff run. Though he did not miss a game in the postseason, he dealt with a sinus infection and broken nose over the course of the playoffs, and suffered a broken toe when rookie Tyler Seguin hit him with a slapshot in practice during the Eastern Conference finals.
While Lucic’s toe injury did not require surgery, he was operated on for his broken nose, an injury that dates way back to March 4 of 2010 (the biggest break, Lucic says, came during a fight with Colton Orr). Now walking without the limp that he sported over the last two rounds of the postseason and breathing better than ever, Lucic is ready to enter his fifth NHL season without hindrance.
“It’s nice to finally be breathing out of both nostrils again, I will say that,” Lucic said. “I felt the most effects from it in the first series against Montreal this year. I had a sinus infection, and I was feeling under the weather, and that kind of sucks. It really did suck, but it’s great now, everything’s fixed now, so it’s all good.”
Things are also good for Seguin, a man whom Lucic says he harbors no hard feelings. Though Lucic didn’t enjoy the pain at the time, he said the 19-year-old redeemed himself by playing a huge role in the series in which he injured his teammate. The highlight of the playoffs for Seguin, who was playing in place of the then-concussed Patrice Bergeron, came when he had a four-point (two goals, two assits) period in the B’s 6-5 victory over the Lightning in Game 2 of the conference finals.
“I’ve got to get him back,” Lucic said with a laugh before adding, “I told him after he had that big game in Game 2 where he had two goals and two assists that I’ve forgiven him for that.”
The 23-year-old Lucic, who led the Bruins with 30 goals in the regular season, said the excitement over winning the team’s first Cup in 39 years has not subsided, and that he is still in the process of realizing what the B’s accomplished.
“I think it sinks in more as time goes on, but it’s still pretty fresh in our minds,” Lucic said. “I don’t think it will truly sink in until next season actually begins, maybe even halfway through, because then you start to realize once you get into the grind and get into things, you realize how hard it was and how hard you worked to actually win it last year and get yourself in that position. Even though it’s been two months and a bit, it’s still definitely fresh in my mind and I’m definitely enjoying it.”
There were reports prior to Lucic’s day with the trophy that he would have to celebrate in seclusion due to angry Canucks fans, but after holding a public celebration, Lucic said his day was nowhere near what some had made it out to be. Lucic, his girlfriend and his family brought the Cup to the Serbian Orthodox Church in East Vancouver before embarking on a harbor cruise with the trophy. Lucic said the day was far more happy than hostile.
“To be honest, I don’t know who wrote that article that blew that whole thing way out of proportion,” Lucic said. “I still had a public event where five or six hundred people came by and had their picture taken with the Cup, so it was a lot of fun.”
Lucic is back in Massachusetts for good and will be in attendance when captains’ practices (optional skates put on by captains) commence in early September. He said he has kept in contact with Nathan Horton and that the right wing’s “head is all good” after suffering a playoff-ending concussion in Game 3 of the finals.
|Update: What happened with the Stanley Cup at Logan Airport||07.17.11 at 12:25 pm ET|
It’s hard to imagine Nathan Horton smiling too much on a day like this.
According to a tweet from Tammy Horton-Plante, wife of the Bruins first-line winger, the Stanley Cup was lost at Logan Airport on Sunday. Horton was scheduled to have the Cup on Sunday and bring it to Dunnville, Ontario, where a parade was scheduled. While the Cup was missing from the parade, it turns out that it was never actually missing, and that the initial assumption that it was a Logan Airport snafu may be inaccurate.
Speaking with WEEI.com, a JetBlue representative explained that the Cup was scheduled to fly from Boston to Buffalo on an 8 a.m. flight. It was checked in seven minutes late, however, as its 7:37 a.m. check-in went past the 30-minute cutoff time. As a result, it missed its flight and had to take a later one.
Massport told WEEI.com that after checking with both Logan and the State Police, nothing was ever called in about the Stanley Cup being missing.
After things were sorted out with TSA, Horton’s wife tweeted, “CUP day cut short if cup shows as at all sucha bummer” and followed it with “Parade will be late and cup will arrive this afternoon hopefully. X ur fingers jetblue gets it right.”
Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star was at Central Park in Dunnville for the parade, where Horton showed up with out the Cup. Tweeted McGran: “Horton says he’s embarrassed Cup not with him and he only gets it for a short time.”
‘I’m not 100 percent certain, but I think it was because (the Cup handler) was late (to the airport),’ Horton-Plante told McGran. ‘It may have been an error by the airline. But it sucks because we can’t extend a day with the Cup. Everybody gets a day. It was supposed to be 9 a.m. until midnight.”
The Cup finally arrived in Dunnville at 2:20 p.m., after the Cup-less parade had finished.
Massport has refuted a report that the Cup was en route to Florida on Sunday.
Horton won the Cup in his first year with the Bruins, though he was knocked out for the playoffs in Game 3 of the Cup finals at TD Garden. The 26-year-old suffered what the team called a severe concussion in the first period of the contest on a hit from Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome. Horton did not expect the injury to impact his preparations for the coming season. The former Panthers third overall pick scored 26 goals in the regular season before adding eight in the playoffs, three of which were game-winners.
For more on where the Cup is scheduled to go with each player, click here.
|Do Bruins have most productive fighters?||07.13.11 at 5:51 pm ET|
The list is littered with Bruins, as Milan Lucic is ranked No. 1, and all five Bruins on the 85-man list rank in the top 15.
In order to come up with the list, players with at least five fightning majors last season were sorted by their TSN player rating, which is a weighted formula consisting of goals per game, assists per game, plus-minus, power play goals, shorthanded goals, game winning goals, shots on goal, blocked shots, hits, giveaways, takeaways and faceoffs.
Here’s how the top 15 shook out:
Lucic and Horton each had seven fights for the Bruins last season. Lucic, who led the Bruins with 30 goals in the regular season, had the most goals among players with at least five fighting majors. Horton’s 26 tallies put him second among that group.
While Thornton’s value has been his ability to fight throughout his time in the NHL, he had a career year last season, totaling 10 goals and 10 assists for 20 points. McQuaid’s plus-30 rating put him in a tie with Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin, among others, for fifth-best in the NHL last season.
Scott Cullen, who put the piece together, writes that the fact that the Bruins, who finished second in fighting majors last season with 71, won the Stanley Cup, their physical style may be viewed as a winning formula. Cullen believes this could lead to other teams trying to load up on power forwards and enforcers.
The idea of ranking fighters based on their value of players is interesting, as TSN’s list comes far from ranking how the players are as fighters, though that of course is not their intention.
When it comes to dropping the gloves, McQuaid or Thornton certainly have more to offer than the B’s first-line wingers, but the fact that both the Bruins’ first and fourth lines are represented by two players each in the top 15 shows that the Bruins certainly look for grit throughout their lineup.
Though Lucic is the modern-day version of a power forward, one who wanted to suggest he picks his spots would probably have an argument. His seven fights were a far cry from the 10 and 13 he had in his first two years. Yet that’s what comes as a player develops into more of a goal-scorer, as last year was not only his first 30-goal season, but his first 20-goal season as well.
As for Horton, his first season in Boston represented a career-high in fights. He more than doubled his previous best, as he totaled three during the 2007-08 season. Over his last three seasons with the Panthers, he had just four fighting majors.
Now the number the Bruins would probably like to see up is his goal total. Horton’s 26 goals last season were the most he’s had in three seasons, but he had 28 in 2005-06, 31 in 2006-07 and 27 in 2007-08.
|Bobby Orr on M&M: Tomas Kaberle let criticism get to him in Boston||07.06.11 at 12:07 pm ET|
Bruins legend Bobby Orr joined Mut & Merloni live from the Pinehills Golf Club for a charity golf event benefiting Mark Herzlich‘s foundation. Orr discussed the Bruins’ Stanley Cup run and offered updates on a couple of players his agency represents. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
‘The Bruins have given us a lot to cheer about and talk about,” Orr said. “The heart that that team showed this year was incredible. Again, [Tim] Thomas shows that you cannot win without goaltending. This guy was incredible. If you look at that team everyone did something, someone came up one night and the next night it was someone else.’
Orr was asked about the Stanley Cup and its whereabouts. Orr noted how it is much different from when it was back when he won titles with the Bruins in 1970 and ’72.
‘We didn’t get it like they do today,” he said. “We had it for the parade and that was it. I think it is wonderful. The Stanley Cup will be all over the world. I think it’s the only trophy in sports that it’s ‘The’ trophy, the others every year there is a new one. This is it. To have it all over the world, and let the kids touch it and see it. It is wonderful.’
Orr gave an injury update on forward Nathan Horton: ‘He’s fine,” Orr said of his client. “We really won’t know until he starts working out that will be the true test. I talked to him a few days ago and he feels great. He loves Boston, he was so excited to be in Boston. ‘¦ We really won’t know until he starts working out. He has to let things settle down. He also hurt his shoulder in the Montreal series and probably shouldn’t have been playing, so he is trying to heal the shoulder and the concussion.’
On Tuesday the Bruins lost defenseman Tomas Kaberle to the Hurricanes but acquired defenseman Joe Corvo from Carolina in exchange for a fourth-round pick in 2012. Orr said that Corvo is a good player who can shoot the puck.
|Andrew Ference, Bruins make their Cup run last with tattoos||06.20.11 at 2:47 pm ET|
Andrew Ference is far and away the most heavily-tattooed man on the Bruins. While the likes of Nathan Horton and Tyler Seguin sport notable ink as well, Ference is essentially the Travis Barker of the team’s dressing room.
That’s why it’s no surprise that he set up a tattoo room for the Stanley Cup champions on their final day at the Garden. Ference, who travels to Calgary every offseason to get his ink done at the Smilin’ Buddha parlor, said Sunday that the plan to celebrate a Cup championship with tattoos was a long time in the making. Ference’s tattoo artist told him back in 2007 that if the Bruins ever won the Cup, he’d be there.
“I usually have to back there to get tattoos finished or done during the summer, and he told me years ago when I first got traded to Boston, he said that he loves Boston and has always wanted to come here,” Ference said. “He told me right then, ‘If you guys ever win, I’ll come down and tat all you guys up.’ I’ve seen him every year since, and he tells me every year, so I sent him a quick email after we won, and he hopped on a plain, and here he is.”
Ference said that “probably over half” of his teammates would be getting tattoos to commemorate the Cup run.
“Different things,” Ference said. “Some guys are just getting some writing, some guys are getting the ‘B’ or the Cup and ‘B’ combo or something like that. I think [Mark Recchi] is getting all of his done from past Stanley Cups.”
Ference, whose arms are nearly covered in tattoos, said he is “getting the spoked ‘B’ for sure,” while other teammates seemed uncertain as to what they’d be getting.
|Peter Chiarelli says Nathan Horton was playing with separated shoulder||06.17.11 at 12:00 pm ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Friday at TD Garden that even before being severely concussed on a headshot from Vancouver’s Aaron Rome in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals, first-line winger Nathan Horton was playing hurt for the Bruins. Horton, who had three game-winning goals in the postseason, two of which clinched series, had been playing with a separated shoulder, according to the GM.
“Well I know Nathan, before he was hurt with his concussion was actually hurt. He had a serious separated shoulder,” Chiarelli said, adding that Horton was “hurt significantly.”
Horton had eight goals and nine assists for 17 points in the postseason, his first experience in the playoffs.
Chiarelli added that he considered the B’s lucky for their lack of injuries suffered by players.
“I think we’ll only have one, maybe two, surgeries and we’ll get that out there when I get all the information,” Chiarelli said. “But we’ve had our guys dinged up, and all teams do, like Vancouver did and Tampa did and Philly did. Montreal did. I think what I can say about the injury front is we were fortunate from that perspective. And again when you look back at past winners, I remember the one year Tampa won I think they had like twenty man-games lost due to injury the whole year in the playoffs. So you have to have an element of luck. And on that front we certainly did.”
|Video: Nathan Horton pours Boston water onto Vancouver ice||06.15.11 at 7:13 pm ET|
VANCOUVER — Check out the below video of Bruins winger Nathan Horton, who has been out with a severe concussion, pouring Boston water onto the ice prior to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals at Rogers Arena in Vancouver. The Bruins have gone 3-0 in Boston in the finals but have dropped all three games in Vancouver.
The video is not ours, as it is property of the NHL Network posted to YouTube by our friend Jeff Schools of the Maine Sports Network.