|Could Tim Thomas see himself getting in a goalie fight?||02.03.11 at 1:01 pm ET|
Goalie fights. There’s nothing like them.
Wednesday night, those who live to see the blockers and mitts dropped were treated to an entertaining ‘ albeit very brief ‘ bout between Brent Johnson and Rick DiPietro after DiPietro took a cheap shot at (and here’s the ironic part) Penguins forward Matt Cooke. The former Boston University netminder has a history with Cooke, as Cooke twice was called for goaltender interference the last time the Islanders were in Pittsburgh. A scrum ensued after the hit, with Johnson skating the length of the ice to his teammate’s defense.
The fight didn’t take long, as it took, to quote philosopher Ronnie Ortiz-Magro, “one shot, bro” before DiPietro was down on the ice.
Vezina favorite Tim Thomas saw the fight and shared his thoughts on netminders dropping the gloves with WEEI.com on Thursday.
“Well, it was two American guys going at it,” Thomas said. “That’s the first thought that crossed my mind. The second thought that crossed it was that if I’m in the same situation, watch for both hands, because I don’t think DiPietro was ready for the left.
“The third thing I thought was, I’m glad that wasn’t me that got hit and knocked down on Versus, because so many people watch on Versus.”
While the play was certainly amusing given how short-lived the fight ended up being, Thomas could appreciate why it unfolded, as DiPietro was responding to Cooke, with Johnson simply having the back of his teammate.
“I just saw the way it played out with Cooke and DiPietro, and that’s hockey, and it kind of played out in the way that it should,” Thomas said. “DiPietro was frustrated, I understand that, but Johnson coming down and sticking up for his teammate, I understood that, too. It was just a fair hockey play.”
Could Bruins fans, who were delighted back in the day when Byron Dafoe squared off with Olaf Kolzig, see one of their goaltenders fight any time soon? Thomas admits he hasn’t envisioned himself fighting another netminder, regardless of how frustrated he may be with a certain player on a particular night.
“You don’t think about it,” Thomas said. “It’s hard. I try to play honest, so because of that it’s going to lower the chances that it ever happens with me. DiPietro stepped out of his way at Cooke. I try not to do that.
“I have been frustrated enough to do that before, don’t get me wrong. I’ve responded to [Sean] Avery, and probably went a little bit over the edge against the Capitals at the end of the season. I overreacted when Jason Chimera hit me, but I don’t know. I’m so focused on stopping the puck and getting the win that night, that my mind doesn’t switch to that way of thinking very easily.”
Here’s the Avery incident:
And the Chimera play:
|Rangers and B’s in the first round would be a “true grit” test||04.04.09 at 5:37 pm ET|
The eventual outcome, the low scores on both sides and keen attention to detail, two of the best goaltenders in all of the Eastern Conference at the top of their goal-saving games, Sean Avery’s antics in the third period, the measured and disciplined defensive tone, and the undeniable buzz created by the classic “sibling city rivalry” between Gotham City and the Hub.
All of these factors were on display in Boston’s 1-0 win over a desperate New York Rangers team at the Garden on Saturday afternoon, and they’ll surely be front and center if the current standings hold strong and these two hockey clubs square off and thrown down in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. To wit: Four of the last eight games between the B’s and Blueshirts have been 1-0 games with Tim Thomas and Henrik Lundqvist locked in classic goalie’s duels, and two of those games have been forced to shootouts for an ultimate winner and loser.
That’s how tight the series has been over the last two years, and that’s how razor-thin a potential seven-game series could be between the constantly-at-odds rival sports cities of Boston and New York. One tiny mistake in a game or the smallest sliver of space between a goaltender’s pads — like the peep hole that Blake Wheeler managed to find between King Henrik’s pads with a slap shot from the right point for the game’s only score — could be the crowning moment that tips the scales in a series of potential postseason matches between the two Original Six hockey foes.
It’s something the B’s skaters are well aware of, and will be ready for should it become an April reality.
With that in mind, B’s coach Claude Julien was intently gauging Saturday afternoon’s game as a hockey measuring stick of each team’s position with the postseason less than two weeks away. Julien came away satisfied with what he saw out on the Garden’s frozen sheet Saturday afternoon.
After playing three hard-fought games over a five day span and facing a team in the Rangers desperate to improve their pole position in the playoff race, the Spoked B skaters were able to play good, sound, fundamental defensive hockey in front of a red-hot goaltender in Tim Thomas. With defense as their bedrock, Wheeler and the B’s did just enough offensively to overthrow Lundqvist and the Blueshirts. Solid defense, superb goaltending and offense when the opportunity presents itself — it sounds like the perfect postseason cocktail.
“Today’s game was, the way it was played was no surprise for me. You’ve got a team on the other side battling to make the playoffs, playing with some desperation, so there was no way in the world we were going to run away with this game,” said B’s coach Claude Julien. “This was our third game in five nights, and it’s been a pretty emotional week as well. I think the fact that we still were able to play well enough to win, we were still good enough to protect that lead, and I think those are all good signs of our team being able to play in those situations.”
The Rangers/Bruins Saturday battle is what playoff hockey is all about, and it appears that the exact kind of challenge could be setting up between two ancient hockey rivals that use D-zone responsibility and situational offense as the foundation for everything else.
Some Bruins’ players were also aware of the galvanizing effect it can have on a hockey club when every game at the end of the regular season is paramount for simple playoff survival — like the scrapping Rangers — and that kind of energetic momentum can piggyback right over into an opening round playoff series. The Black and Gold players know this because it’s exactly the kind of “Mo” train the Bruins utilized to nearly derail the top-seeded Canadiens last season.
” I think (playing against the Rangers) in that kind of matchup it’s going to be a tight, hard forecheck with a lot of hitting,” said Patrice Bergeron. “They’re a great team with great skating and a lot of talent. If we do face them we’re going to have be ready to match that. There isn’t any one team that’s not good, but they’re coming in with a lot of emotion to make it (into the playoffs) and we would have to match that.”
The Black and Gold finally got to enjoy their just desserts this afternoon, however, when the shutout victory clinched the top spot in the Eastern Conference, and sets up a date with one of two likely foes in the first round: the aforementioned Rangers or hated Montreal Canadiens. It appears that the Florida Panthers are sinking down into the Everglades, and Boston will face a worthy first round foe.
There aren’t many that need their playoff dossiers filled up when it comes to the hated Habs, but a postseason showdown with the Blueshirts could regularly evoke the same kind of hatred, enmity and on-ice sparks that erupted in the third period between Sean Avery and Tim Thomas. A quick recap for those that might have missed it: long after the whistle had blown and players started retreating to their respective bench for a TV timeout, Avery made his way from behind the Boston net and — with the B’s goaltender on one knee with his back turned — struck Thomas in the back of the helmet with the blade of his stick while passing by. According to Thomas, Avery did it with enough force that the fiery B’s netminder knew it was no “accident.” That hunch was confirmed when he saw Avery’s #16 skate in front of him right after the contact.
Avery turned back quickly after hitting Thomas and then headed toward center ice, but the B’s goaltender sprinted after the New York agitator with thoughts of taking a slash at the back of his legs. Thomas thought better of it, and instead gave Avery a forceful shove from behind. Then Thomas whirled around and clobbered an approaching Fredrik Sjorstrom with a right hand for good measure. Here’s incident courtesy of youtube, sure to replayed for years.
The Avery act and Thomas response resulted in matching penalties, but it also could become the playoff prelude to a sure-to-be entertaining first round showdown between the B’s and Rangers. Tim Thomas, for one, would be amped and ready for it.
“I really like the fact that we kept our composure and got the win there,” said Thomas. “That’s the key. When you react, you fall a little bit into exactly what he wants you to do, but if you can react and not have it affect your game, then he didn’t do his job, and it didn’t work.”
Is Thomas ready for a potential seven game series against the Rangers where low-scoring affairs would put all the pressure his way, and Avery would be attempting to get into his head for a 60 full minutes — even during the once-sacred TV timeouts — each and every night?
“Bring it on,” said Thomas.
It’s not tough to imagine that the rest of his Bruins’ teammates feel the exact same away.
Injury Ward: Shawn Thornton, Phil Kessel and Aaron Ward all missed the game with injuries, and Andrew Ference had to leave the game in the second period after suffering an injury. Ference will be evaluated, and his status updated on Monday. The flexibility of players like Steve Montador and Matt Hunwick helped soften the blow of Ference’s injury on Saturday.
Player of the Game: After signing a four-year deal and pitching a 31-save shutout against the Rangers, Thomas had already wrapped up POTG honors, but he cinched it when he created another Tank moment by chasing after Sean Avery like some kind of rabid puck-stopper. Thomas’ spirit and abilities are a natural fit for this city and this hockey team, and he’ll need to be in the middle of the action if Boston does indeed face New York in the first round.
Goat Horns: Once again Sean Avery acts up, and once again his team leaves the Garden a loser. Bonus goat horns for Lundqvist’s postseason comments where he said that Thomas “overreacted” to the Avery cheap shot.
“He looks like a pretty strong guy. When he goes after one of our guys I have to do my job. I looked at the bench and wanted to get the ok to go over but it is a very important time,” said Lundqvist. “You don’t want to take any chances with suspensions or whatever you can get. I think he overreacted.”
Turning Point: Marc Savard was whistled for a contested cross-checking penalty following L’Affaire Thomas/Avery, and it appeared the Rangers would have a good shot of getting a point in a then 1-0 game. Instead Thomas quickly regained his composure, made a few key stops during the PP and then rode out his fifth shutout of the season.
|Sounds of the game… Won’t be fooled again||at 4:47 pm ET|
Bruins head coach Claude Julien was having none of Sean Avery’s antics.
He knew what the agitator of all agitators in the NHL was trying to do to his goalie. That’s why he kept a close eye on him as he gave a little whack to the back of Tim Thomas‘ head during a time out with 5:24 remaining in Boston’s 1-0 win over the New York Rangers Saturday at the Garden.
“For me, it’s just that you have to keep an eye on this guy all the time, even after whistles because when he did that, he looked around to see if anyone was looking,” Julien said. “He’s an expert at that and that’s what he tries to do so it’s important for the referees, when he’s on the ice after whistles, to keep an eye on him because you know he’s going to do something.”
Julien also wasn’t surprised when he goalie took off after Avery toward center ice and gave him a roundhouse, which got the crowd into a frenzy.
‘Personally, a coach never likes to see his goaltender get in those situations,” Julien said. “Do I agree with it? no. But Timmy’s emotional and by that time, it’s too late.’
Then there’s the take of the man himself.
“It’s a TV timeout,” Thomas said. “It’s an unwritten rule that basically nothing happens during a TV timeout. I’m stretching there, and Avery comes by, and I get hit in the head with a stick. You look up and you see who it is, and you’re like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.'”
It was no joke to Thomas and the Bruins, who kept their composure and held on for the win that sealed the top seed in the Eastern Conference for the Bruins.
“I really like the fact that we kept our composure and got the win there,” Thomas said. “That’s the key. When you react, you fall little bit into exactly what he wants you to do, but if you can react and not have it affect your game, then he didn’t do his job, and it didn’t work.”
Marc Savard was called for a cross-check moments later, forcing the Bruins to kill a 4-on-3 after Thomas and Avery were called for roughing penalties. And they did.
As for Avery, reporters tried to approach him but they were told by the Rangers P.R. that he wasn’t talking. One of the reporters fired back, ‘He can answer for himself.’
On Saturday, it was Thomas who had the answers.
|Kelly: NHLPA monitoring “unprecedented” discipline||12.05.08 at 2:41 pm ET|
In an email to WEEI.com, NHLPA Executive Director Paul Kelly said he’s closely monitoring the situation between Sean Avery and the Dallas Stars with a keen eye toward the “unprecedented” disciplinary action against the Stars’ bad boy. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman earlier today ruled on a six-game suspension — with two games already served — for Avery after the controversial Stars forward made disparaging comments to ex-girlfriends currently dating other NHL players.
Count me among the many that think the time and the crime didn’t jive on this one, as the NHL is obviously trying to make a statement here about a long pattern of Bad Boy, attention-grabbing antics by Avery over the last few seasons — and also about the premeditated move to beckon over national cameras before making his “sloppy seconds” soliloquy. Call it the ultimate revenge for calling Martin Broduer a “fat pig” last season, or being ahead of the curve with faceguarding the Devils goaltender in the playoffs last year. Sticks and Stones, Bettman…sticks and stones.
“The point that I’m making is that when you have repetitive conduct over a point and time, and you’re looking at inappropriate responses under the circumstances, the fact that somebody may play more aggressively on the ice … we’re not talking about ‘player play,’ and player conduct on the ice,” said Bettman in a conference call with reporters this afternoon. “We’re talking about interaction with people — fans, the media, other players — that is completely out of the norm.
“It’s not talking about the same thing to compare player conduct to the type of conduct that we’re seeing here. “I don’t think there’s any doubt after our conversation [Thursday] that it wouldn’t be a good idea [for Avery] to be back with me again, having this type of conversation.”
Here’s the Avery sound/sights for anybody living under a hockey rock:
Here’s Kelly’s statement on the six-game sentence and a mandatory anger management evaluation handed down by Bettman: ‘While the NHLPA does not condone Sean’s comments, which were clearly inappropriate, the discipline imposed by the Commissioner is unprecedented both in its severity, as well as the process by which it was handed down. We’ve also seen signals from the Dallas Stars that Sean’s contractual rights might be challenged. We are monitoring the situation as it develops, and we will evaluate all legal options as the circumstances warrant. In the meantime, our first priority is making sure we do what we can to support Sean’s efforts to learn from his mistake and move forward in a positive manner.”
|Sturm and scrums highlight rousing victory||11.01.08 at 5:37 pm ET|
Prior to last night’s 5-1 thrashing of the Stars, Bruins coach Claude Julien asked Marco Sturm to “be involved more” following Saturday morning’s pre-game skate.
Sturm and the rest of his teammates were all heavily involved in a thrilling fight-fest that moved me to ask if this was the return of the Big, Bad Bruins — or at least as close as they’ll ever get in the kinder, gentler version of the NHL.
The B’s winger didn’t waste any time obliging — and he did so without any need for Draconian punishments like a punitive benching or a red-faced tirades from his hockey coach.
Sturm ended a seven-game scoreless streak with a slapper from the left face-off circle just 2:41 into the first period off a nice behind-the-net dish from rookie Blake Wheeler. The score was Sturm’s second strike of the season and the amazing ninth time this season in 12 games that the Black and Gold have scratched first blood.
The assist on Sturm’s first goal was also the first helper of Wheeler’s NHL career to go along with the three goals he’s scored over the first dozen games. Sturm added a third period tally to give him the two-goal evening, and the move to pair Sturm with David Krejci appears to be paying immediate dividends all around.
“It was nice. He needed to react, and not just react but find his game,” said a satisfied Julien after the game. “I thought [Sturm] played better tonight and he was in the right spot, even on that last goal he was in the right place and he buried [his opportunities]. I thought he was a better player tonight.”
The B’s ended up taking the 5-1 decision over the Stars in a very chippy, conentious, entertaining Old Time Hockey-style game that featured Stars agitator Steve Ott twice refusing to drop both his stick and the gloves when Shawn Thornton and Shane Hnidy circled round looking for a fights — one after a hit aiming for Stephane Yelle’s leg that Lucic later termed “gutless”. Hnidy actually dropped his stick and his gloves to go with Ott, but the 6-foot, 193-pounder thought better of it each time and held his stick vertically to shield himself from his Black and Gold challenger.
Eventually Andrew Ference and Sean Avery dropped the gloves after the Bruins defenseman — who earned the Third Star in the win and continues his impressive early season play — leveled Ott with a clean open ice hit in the third period. That hit also turned out to be a big turning point in a game that was still squarely in the close category in the third period.
In the end, the combative game had 177 penalty minutes and seven misconducts and made many spectators wish these two teams played each other again during the regular season.
–The Bruins much-maligned penalty kill unit also looked better after six successful kills of Dallas PP’s throughout Saturday night’s game — a testament to the work they’ve put in to exert more pressure on the points while also just getting tougher aroun their own net.
Julien said before the game that the solution to the PK’s problems were pretty simple: “It’s just being proactive. The puck has to go all the way down [to the other end of the rink] and we’re soft on the puck when it comes time for scoring chances. These are the areas that I think will improve our penalty kill and will improve our goal production.”
For two periods Ott and Sean Avery attempted to draw penalties from annoyed Bruins skaters and their aggravating tactics actually allowed the Stars to gain some man advantage opportunities in the second period. But their agitating, sandpaper ways finally backfired on them and the rest of their Stars teammates in the third period. Avery leveled Milan Lucic from behind midway through the third in the final coup de grace of what been a pretty dirty production of hockey put on by both Avery and Ott all night — and all heck broke loose at that point.
Marc Savard came to the aid of the fallen Lucic and started pounding on Avery, and then both players worked over the Vogue intern while separate bouts involving Shane Hnidy and Mark Stuart took place. Savard, Lucic, Hnidy Mark Stuart, Ott, Avery, Matt Niskanen [how did a peace-loving Fin with zero penalty minutes headed into tonight get involved in all this?] were all done for the night when they each got 10-minute misconducts with less than nine minutes to play.
Apparently even some of Ott and Avery’s teammates had a serious problem with some of the underhanded things they were pulling out on the ice in the third period.
“Tonight it seemed to be idiotic,” said Stars elder statesman Mike Modano. “It’s stupid. It’s one of the more embarrassing things I have seen, on the ice and involved with the fans. In 20 years, I haven’t seen anything like it. If that’s what we’re going for, maybe I need to find myself an office job.”
The Stars were shaking their heads and dropping F-bombs in their locker room while the Bruins seemed a tighter, more resolute bunch after standing together and sticking up for each other.
“It was good to see everybody pile in their and come to my aid, but most importantly we got the win,” said Lucic. “In the end we all stuck up for each other and it’s only going to make us stronger going down the road. It was a good character game and a good character win for us. Savvy came in here after the game saying that he was a killer, but obviously it was nice what he went out there and did.
“Hnidy said to me as we were coming off the ice that it felt like a junior hockey scrum out there, so yeah it felt like Old Time Hockey,” added Lucic. “What we need to do is bottle this up and make sure we have some of it for Thursday [against the Leafs.]”
–Somewhat overlooked in a penalty-filled Saturday night flashback to the glorious days of the Big Bad Bruins was the work of goaltender Tim Thomas, who made 35 saves in the 5-1 victory and was again rock-solid between the pipes. The win was his fourth consecutive start for the Bruins and it would seem he has clearly wrapped up the starter’s role with the B’s. The All-Star goaltender mused that the sketchy Stars must have received the wrong scouting report on the Bruins when they attempted to pull the McFilthy and McNasty routine with penalty box buddies Ott and Avery.
“We’re a clean team, but we’re not going to let anybody push us around or play dirty with us,” said Thomas. “I think we did a good job of sticking up for ourselves and showing what kind of character we have. I don’t know what kind of scouting report they had on us, but I think they picked the wrong team to try to do that to.”
The B’s netminder actually thought he might get involved in the third period donnybrook when beleaguered Stars goalie Marty Turco skated out toward center ice following the Avery hit from behind on Lucic. Turco has had a terrible season thus far, and it could have been he was looking for the rare-but-always-entertaining goalie scrap. The Dallas goaltender stopped, however, once he saw Thomas make a move near the pile of skating pugilists.
“It’s actually some of the hardest games to play because you get your adrenaline going a little bit even though you try to stay as calm and even-keeled as you can be,” said Thomas. “When Fer [Andrew Ference] got hit and then stood up for himself I got a little excited, and it’s hard to finish out a game that way.
“I wasn’t going to let [Turco] into the pile. It looked to me like he was going to try to get into the pile, so that’s why I skated over to the other side of it,” added Thomas. “I think he’s the one that made the suggestion by coming to center ice, and I just responded by getting over to the other side of the pile and saying ‘I don’t think you’re going to go any further’ and he stayed there. I can’t remember a game like that for a long time…maybe the AHL. I haven’t experienced anything quite like that before.”
–Below I’ve included the transcript of Mike Modano’s comments provided by the crack Bruins media relations staff following Saturday night’s game. It seems that the longtime Dallas Stars forward was none too pleased with his team’s careless lack of discipline in a game that was still close in the third period.
DALLAS STARS FORWARD MIKE MODANO
On the team’s identity
Tonight it seemed to be idiotic. It’s stupid. It’s one of the more embarrassing things I have seen, on the ice and involved with the fans. In twenty years that I haven’t seen anything like it. If that’s what we’re going for maybe I need to find myself an office job.
On the physicality of the game’¦
Yeah, I mean it got out of hand, it was still a 2-1 game and then we find ourselves blowing it again, putting ourselves in trouble with dumb penalties and dumb situations. That’s kind of the trend it’s been all season.
On the cause of the frustration’¦
There isn’t any mental toughness, that’s kind of one of the big things. Everything we’re letting get to us. We’re letting the refs get involved in the game with us. We’re spending more energy on them than the details of winning the game. It’s another thing that’s been a bad part of our game.
On the goaltending performance of both Tobias Stephan and Marty Turco’¦
They’re doing about as best as you can ask for them, but the quality of chances are just like doorstep goals and outnumbered rushes again. You can put two goalies in there; those are still going to go in. You allow those quality type of chances, I don’t care who you have in net.
On trying to fix the team’¦
Well, I don’t know if you can put your finger on something. Moving the puck, I don’t know, practice skating, getting shots on the net, things like that. Defending is probably first and foremost. We come off a couple of hard practices and we have one of our best defensive games of the season against Minnesota. Back to the same old. Less is more sometimes. Just getting the puck out and then getting it in. Hopefully your forecheck can create something for you and go from there. To look to create, there aint nothing there.
|Day off for the B’s||10.31.08 at 9:07 am ET|
Today is a day off for the B’s after the team opted to fly home from Calgary this morning rather than hop on the red-eye right immediately after last night’s game. With that in mind, here’s some other assorted NHL goodies on a day when everybody deserves sugary treats rather than a trick or two. Happy Halloween from a guy who’s being asked to dress up like Tony Romo — complete with a bandage for my right pinkie finger — to appease my Jessica Simpson-clad girlfriend. Good times.
The Bruins simply dug themselves too large of a hole after parading into the penalty box — and again exposing their PK issues at the same time — during the second period of Thursday night’s game, but I take their unwillingness to give up in the third period as a big positive for this team.
Does the team need more offense on a consistent basis? Absolutely, but they should start scoring more on a regular basis once Patrice Bergeron and Marco Sturm start firing on all cylinders. Sturm is a guy that’s approached 30 goals and potted 10 power play strikes in each of the last two seasons and clearly should have more than a goal and 4 assists in the first 11 games.
–Dallas Stars bad boy Sean Avery will be in town tomorrow, so it seems like an appropriate time to pimp his plans to turn his much-ballyooed summer internship with Vogue into Hollywood Gold. And he wants Ryan Gosling to play the lead role of the hockey bad boy wearing the black nail polish. That’s gold, Jerry, Gold.
–In honor of All Hallows’ Even and my affinity for all things Star Wars, a big salute to Ottawa Senators goaltender Martin Gerber and his “Darth Gerber” goalie mask. Gerber had taken to wearing an all black goalie mask last season and Sens fans began calling him Darth Gerber, and this season the 34-year-old goalie actually had Itech design a special Darth Vader-inspired goalie mask
that he’s worn this season. Gerber obviously doesn’t have the force with him this season, though, as he hasn’t started since Oct. 22 and has gone 1-3-1 with a 3.39 goals against average in five games thus far this season.
–Learning something I didn’t already know when I took a gander at Bruins defenseman Mark Stuart’s blog with the The Hockey News: Stuey was apparently an English Major at Colorado College. Who knew? Something tells me we’re going to have a kick-butt conversation about Beowulf in the near future. Stuart has undoubtadly been a solid calming presence along the blue line over the last two seasons, and while he isn’t going to rack up any gaudy point totals — the guy is another defenseman along with Zdeno Chara and Aaron Ward that plays with some snarl and a real physical edge.
|B’s Bruiser returns to the Looch Lair||10.28.08 at 9:32 am ET|
It’s a homecoming tonight for Vancouver homeboy Milan Lucic, who played junior hockey for the Vancouver Giants and is appropriately pumped to play his first ever NHL game at GM Place against the Canucks on Tuesday night. The local Vancouver media has the requisite “prodigal pugilist coming home” stories with the best of them including a photo gallery and baby picture of Looch before he became the 20-year-old glass-shattering Hulk lurking on the TD Banknorth Garden ice.
Lucic told ESPN’s Louise K. Cornetta last weekend that he was understandably besieged by ticket requests in his home city, but he instead bought just seven tickets for his parents, siblings and grand-parents to attend the game. Lucic’s older brother Jovan, however, rented out a luxury box at GM Place for at least 70 of Lucic’s closest admirers, so there should be an usual amount of cheering and “Looch Calls” for the Bruiser in the Spoked B on Tuesday night.
The Looch started slowly during B’s training camp this fall amid expectations that he was going to immediately morph into Cam Neely as a 20-year-old NHL neophyte, but it’s fair to say he’s now hitting his stride after creating a youtube sensation with his monster hit against the Maple Leafs and then following that by rattling off the first hat trick of his career last weekend. Much of Lucic’s success can be traced to the natural physical gifts bestowed upon the hulking power forward, but the youngster also has the work ethic to match — as his former Vancouver Giants strength and conditioning coach, Ian Gallagher, told Pucks with Haggs last month:
‘He’s got a great frame to put on muscle mass and handle it. He’s got great levers and he’s got a very strong core and a good musculature to him that allows him to excel,’ said Gallagher. ‘His leg mass is tremendous. His leg press is well over 900 pounds for eight reps and his power clean for reps is 275 pounds, which are both really football player-like numbers.
‘Which is a little amazing because he’s got a very unassuming musculature to him. Because you look at his arms and there’s not a heck of a lot of mass to them, but his core is just so bloody powerful. His legs are massive and his trunk is massive, and when he gets those big muscles going it demonstrates itself in a powerful way when he collides with somebody or when he’s shooting the puck. I think it’s one of his biggest assets.’