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Bruins by the Numbers: 17

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins -- B's power forward Milan Lucic is enjoying what's left of his summer vacation in Vancouver.

Hard-hitting Lucic to Play Softball on Thursday, Aug. 5 in Lowell
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Boston Bruins Milan Lucic, Shawn Thornton and Tim Thomas will all be playing in this Thursday's Rock & Jock celebrity softball game at LeLacheur Park in Lowell, Massachusetts.

The event, hosted by Lucic at the home of the Red Sox minor league affiliate Lowell Spinners, is intended to benefit Health and Education Services.

"Yeah it’s actually funny, I used to play little league growing up until I was 16," said Lucic, with a laugh. "So this is actually probably the first time I’m going to be swinging a bat in almost 10 years."

The growing list of celebrities who are set to play includes former B's Ray Bourque and Rick Middleton, former Patriot Max Lane, FOX 25's A.J. Burnett, MAGIC 106.7's Dan Justin and Rob Hogan, WAAF's Greg Hill, MIX 104.1's Sue Brady, "The Voice" of Radio 92.9, Jason Rossi and Lori Grande - co-host of the morning show on Country 102.5.

Umping the game will be none other than Charlie Moore -- ESPN and NESN's Mad Fisherman.

"I don't think we'll have any tears from him as an ump," said Lucic with a laugh.

"All proceeds go to benefiting Celebrities for Charity and Health Education Services, a nonprofit that cares for thousands of Lowell, Merrimack Valley and North Shore families struggling to live healthy lives.

"What's great too is our title sponsor NMTW Community Credit Union is selling tickets at all their branches OR if you open a kids account they will give you 2 tickets for free!"

Tickets are available for purchase here or at the NMTW locations in Lowell, Haverhill, Danvers or Framingham. Doors open at 6:00 p.m., the game begins at 7:00 and tickets start at $10.

"It should be a great event for the whole family," said Lucic.

---John Bishop
"It’s going pretty well," he said via cell phone last week. "The weather has been really nice and I’ve gone to a couple events here -- a couple of charity golf tournaments.

"I went to Las Vegas...for the Garth Brooks Foundation: Teammates for Kids.

"I also went to go visit [former Boston Bruin] Chuck Kobasew, and he had a golf tournament [in Calgary] I've had a lot of fun with a lot of people and it’s been a great summer so far, working hard and looking forward to next season," said Lucic.

The last time Lucic checked in with, there was more than a hint of melancholy to the usually upbeat grinder. Obviously, the various injuries hampered Lucic and didn't allow him to find his proper stride during the last campaign dampened Milan's enthusiasm for the summer.

"It felt like a real short season," said Lucic when asked if things were looking a bit brighter. "That’s why I’m anxious to get back up there and get things going.

"That’s why I’ve been working out as hard as I make sure I’m in the best shape to come back to perform at the level I want to perform at."

Thankfully for the B's, Lucic is feeling better -- sounds better -- and is spending as much time as possible in the gym.

"Yeah. I'm happy, healthy," said Milan. "Every day is a good day.

"I have a really good work out group with a great group of people...[and] I’ve been working out with my trainer for the last six years now.

"We just have a real great time together and you know we push each other every day to work harder and harder."

Although Lucic, and most of his ice-bound brethren are loathe to admit it, Milan said that he and the rest of his teammates do indeed have personal goals beyond the team's Stanley Cup dreams.

"Well I think they would be lying to you if they said they didn’t have goals," said Lucic. "I’ll do what I can to stay healthy and to play here because last year wasn’t a really fun year.

"I think that getting to miss out on some opportunities last year like the Winter Classic was real tough to deal with, especially now.

"I need to stay healthy and, obviously, when it comes to individual's in my mind to get those 20 goals. But I think the main thing for me is physical play and establish that physical presence every night and everything else will fall into place."

Looking at the Bruins revised roster, Lucic thinks that the B's have the pieces to make sure that when everything falls into place, the 2010-11 club will present a complete picture.

"I think we have the pieces of the puzzle...and I think the main thing right now is how we’re going put it together," he said. "It was a disappointing ending [to last season], but we can use that as motivation to push ourselves to get better.

"We really can’t talk about the playoffs right now because the season is a grind itself.

"We've just got to find a way to play as a team, work as a team and have fun as a team. I think if we do those three things...things will fall into place."

The Bruins trip to Belfast and Prague will give the B's a chance to gel, quickly, and then be able to concentrate on the rest of the 80-game schedule -- all without the distraction of the Winter Classic or Olympic Games.

"This year that we could just focus on winning, game-by-game, and not focusing on the big game coming on January 1st or...the big games that are coming up ahead at the Winter Games Olympics," said Lucic.

"I hope it helps us...[to] not get too hyped up so we can focus on what we need to do to be successful night-in and night-out."

1st NHL "Gordie Howe" hat trick was in Oct. 12th, 2007
3 NHL seasons with Boston & 3 seasons with Vancouver Giants (WHL)
6'3 height
7th Player Award, 2008
9 career GWG
17 jersey number
21 career NHL playoff games
22 years old
50th overall pick by Boston in the 2006 NHL Draft
62  first number with Boston
199 NHL games with a 34-55-89 line
269 career penalty minutes
2007 Memorial Cup Champion with Giants." Lucic by the Numbers
Asked about the B's working toward a longer playof run, Lucic brought the focus back to basics.

"I think that our main focus right now shouldn’t be looking at making the third round of the playoffs. It should be that we need to have a great training camp here and have a lot of team bonding when we to go to Europe," he said. "I think we’ll do whatever we can to have a great start of the season.

"That’s what I’m focused on -- having a great start of the season with a good training camp to make sure that we’re together as a team...and I think that should be our main goal for right now; that we get it off to a good roll and get it off to a good start and feeling confident as a team so we can put some work together and be a winning hockey club."

In the meantime, Lucic is going to enjoy the remaining offseason time he has with his family and friends in his beloved Vancouver.

"I think every Vancouverite that I know is proud to be a Vancouverite," said Lucic. "That’s what keeps us coming back here.

"Obviously, it was great that we had the Olympics," continued Milan. "It gave us such great exposure to the rest of the world to see what a great, beautiful city it actually is. You know it’s nice that it’s getting more known world wide and I think it seems like traffic is getting bigger it’s becoming more and more of a problem.

"That just means that more people are starting to move and live here in Vancouver."

But, seeing as Lucic winters in Boston, he probably knows a little bit about traffic already.
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