Boston, MA --
Right now, the most famous nose in New England probably doesn't feel very good, and unlike Philadelphia's Italian Stallion, Milan Lucic
, Boston's Canadian Colt, has a nose that has broken at least twice (by our count).
However, last night Lucic was feeling no pain whatsoever, as the pugnacious rookie (with a proboscis in pieces) collected five hits and had a marathon fight to set up a fitting climax to what was, quite possibly, the Bruins biggest win of the season.
"You know, re-breaking your nose -- I broke it again back in Florida -- the last thing you want to do is get in a fight with a broken nose," said Lucic, laughing at the incredulity of the action. "It's probably the most fragile thing, even when it's healthy.
In fact, earlier on the night, Lucic begged off an encounter with Pittsburgh's noted heavyweight, and Sidney Crosby's bodyguard, Georges Laraque.
"He felt I was running around," said Lucic, in reference to his noticeable physical play throughout the evening. "I said, 'No thanks. I've got a broken nose and I need to stay away from this one.'"
But when Jarkko Ruutu wouldn't leave well enough alone, and with Boston owning a three-goal advantage, Lucic dropped the gloves.
"It went over well -- it was a good long fight…1:45 seconds," he said. "That's the longest I have ever been a part of."
By the end of it, a loud but stunned crowd, most of whom, no doubt, know the story of Milan's sore schnoz, waited to see if their newest hero was ok.
They didn't wait long. Lucic left the ice waving to the fans and encouraging them to continue and cheer on the home squad.
"It was a salute to the crowd, you know, to the fans," said Milan. "I saw [Shawn] Thornton do that a couple of times this year and it got the crowd into it.
"So why not."
It's clear that Lucic has begun a love affair with the Boston faithful.
"It was almost shaking in [the locker room] because they were cheering so loud," said Lucic. "As a player you love to see that.
"The fans in Boston, you know they are like that. They cheer hard and they are a blue-collar type of fan -- they love the guys who work hard -- and we want to see a crowd like we had tonight at every game."
Lucic's teammates think pretty highly of the youngster, too.
"I’m glad I’ll be out of the league in four years when he’s at his peak," said veteran defenseman Aaron Ward. "He’s an individual to be reckoned with and at 19, when he is showing the maturity he does and the presence that he has on the ice, it’s obviously an uplifting experience for us as a whole as a team.
"It's good to see as an individual he is accomplishing as much as he has at this young age."
Back to New England's most famous nose.
Thornton, the B's regular beat cop and a true leader in the locker room, was asked about fighting at less than 100% and with a broken beak.
"We've all had to do it," he said, using the royal 'we' to signify the men who live by the NHL's fighting code. "[Milan] did all right -- he beat the [heck] out of the guy.
"[Ruutu] came right off the bench, hit him, and he kept pushing, pushing, pushing and Luch wasn't going to back down.
"The kid's too proud," he said.
And Boston is proud of the kid, too.