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Lucic in Hibernation, But Not For Long

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
So what will the biggest of former Boston Bruins rookies do with his first few days off?

"I hibernate for a week," said Milan Lucic, quite a-matter-of-factly from his stall in the B's locker room during the team's last media availability of the year.

There's no doubt that the big forward deserves a rest.

"I've been going hard for three years, now," said Lucic of his two years with junior hockey's Vancouver Giants and the NHL Boston Bruins. "I played in two memorial cups in a row until the end of May -- I ended May 27th last year and May 26th the year before.

"So it's important to take full advantage [of this summer].

Milan forgot to mention a stint as Team Canada's captain during last season's Canada vs. Russia Super Series, Bruins Development Camp and Training Camp. But that's the way Lucic likes it and it won't be long before the big winger flies out of Vancouver to see some teammates for some fun in the sun and some hockey workouts.

"We're going to Vernon…in British Columbia," said Lucic. "That's where Andy [Ference] lives, and Chuck [Kobasew] lives and I think they're neighbors with [Calgary's] Jarome Iginla, too.

"I'm just going to go up there for a good time, get some sun on the lake there and work out…maybe in July sometime, we're going to try and figure it out for two weeks or two and a half weeks.

"I'll probably come back here two or three times this summer and work with [B's strength and conditioning coach, John Whitesides].

What will he be working on?

"Speed," answered Lucic. "I've got to keep working on my speed, and keep working to get quicker.

"For a big guy you need to be a good skater if you want to get around [the rink] effectively.

"For me it's more quickness than anything, so it's just [working hard], quick feet drills with cones -- that's the way to do it," he said.

As evidenced by his trip to see Andrew and Chuck, Lucic is very popular with his teammates, but the whole Boston experience has really hit home for Milan.

"Everybody here was just really nice to me," said Lucic of his first year in the Hub of Hockey. "They [older players] took me in and made me feel part of the group from day one.

"It's not like that everywhere. I think we had a close team and the guys really did like each other. We all did get along [and] I took in a little bit of everything from everyone and it was a real positive for me."

Lucic is the prototype for the latest incarnation of the Boston Bruin, which basically means a player who is "harder to play against." However, Milan thinks that quality is prevalent throughout the organization as evidenced by the work ethic on display throughout the TD Banknorth Garden.

"You see, by just meeting everyone here, they are real passionate and they love working for the Bruins," said Lucic. "They are real passionate about the team.

"Also, seeing Cam [Neely] and Don Sweeney and a bunch of other former players [like] Ray [Bourque] and Chief [John Bucyk], they are all proud guys, and were proud to wear the B, and you feel that.

"There is lots of great tradition here and, obviously, those guys I just mentioned are the guys who set the identity. They are the ones who set the bar for what the B [should] bring to the table," he said.

Competitiveness is inherent for the Bruins and Lucic has plenty of that. For instance, ask Lucic if he will be watching the Stanley Cup playoffs from here on out, and you will get a surprising answer.

"I don't bother to watch it," he said. "I don't like to watch another team raise the cup."

"It's everything really. That's why you play. You play to win and it's always been like that for me and it will always be that way for me. I think wanting to win is a good thing."

Though there are no sour grapes, Milan is certain that the series with Montreal could have easily taken another direction.

"I think, with a couple of bounces, we would be in Pittsburgh right now," said Milan, suddenly stone faced. "But, that's the way the cookie crumbles sometimes and you have to deal with what happened.

"But [the quarterfinal series loss] was a bitter pill to swallow."

One of the key components to what was a breakout year for both the Bruins and Lucic was the city itself.

"It's been awesome," reiterated Lucic about his first year wearing Black & Gold. "It's everything I thought it would be."

"There's been a lot of people on the streets and in restaurants who have said great work this season, you guys really started to bring the buzz back about the B's.

"So, obviously, that's awesome to hear."

The echoes of the Bruins playoff run are just dissipating now, but nobody, particularly Lucic, will forget Boston's seventh player coming through in the clutch.

"Everyone saw what game six was like -- it was electric -- and that was one of the most fun games for me to ever [take] part in. And a big thing was the fans.

"They were so into it," he said.

No doubt, the fans were just following your example, Milan. Have a great summer.
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