BOSTON -- Milan Lucic
doesn’t intend on changing sports anytime soon.
|Boston Bruins Milan Lucic raises his arms during a rally in celebration of the team's NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoff victory in Boston, Saturday, June 18, 2011. |
The recent Stanley Cup Champion and his teammates visited Fenway Park today to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Red Sox- Milwaukee Brewers game. But the imposing Bruins forward didn’t have quite as much success on the mound as he did on the ice.
“I overthrew. I missed it,” Lucic laughed. “Sticking to hockey.”
His desire to remain in the rink is understandable given Boston’s recent playoff run. It ended in the Black & Gold hoisting the most coveted trophy in hockey, the Stanley Cup. And Lucic contributed mightily to his team’s journey along the way.
He led the team in goals during the regular season, netting 30 before the B’s even began their playoff run, adding 32 assists to end the season with a team-high 62 points. Lucic was a physical presence for the B’s as well, logging 121 penalty minutes (just one minute shy of tying fellow forward Shawn Thornton
for the most on the team) and slamming a team-high 167 hits.
He also scored the most game-winning goals on the team, cementing victories seven times for the Bruins. It was a record of success the Vancouver native carried into the playoffs, scoring five goals and posting seven assists to end the postseason with 5-7-12 totals. And he once again led the B’s physically, posting team highs in penalty minutes (63) and crushing hits (71). It was a performance that helped him bring the Cup back to Boston.
“It was real special to win a championship as an athlete,” Lucic said, “But to see the appreciation from the fans definitely made it extra special, to win in this city.”
“You can’t say enough of the scene yesterday, with the parade.”
But something the screaming throngs of fans lining the parade route might not have realized was just how hard Lucic had to battle in order to keep up the tempo and intensity of play that would bring the Cup home. While many hockey players take the ice a little banged up, the left winger was struggling through a slightly more taxing injury, compliments of another member of the Black and Gold.
“We were at a power play practice right before Game 2 in Tampa, and [Tyler] Seguin hit me with a one-timer right in the toe, so I was playing the last thirteen games with a broken toe,” Lucic said. “I’m sure you guys saw me limping around a little bit, but [it] definitely was tough to play through. But thank God for freezing and Novacain to make it feel good.”
“It’s all healed up now, so it’s all good.”
Lucic added that he was playing through a sinus infection-induced fog at the end of the regular season and the very beginning of the playoffs. It’ll be nice, he said, to finally get the rest he needs to shake it for good.
“It always felt like I had a cloud in my head and you know, I was really restless because I wasn’t getting good sleep and whatnot,” number 17 said.
But the forward didn’t miss one of the B’s 25 playoff games, and for the most part, Lucic added, he was healthy this season- something he didn’t take for granted after past injury.
“It was really, really fortunate that I was able to get back to being healthy again,” Lucic said.
“Very fortunate, after going through what I did last year, to have a very, very healthy year."
And, of course, having your name engraved on the Stanley Cup is pretty fortunate as well.