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Lucic Ready for Atlanta

by Angela Stefano / Boston Bruins
Milan Lucic feels like he’s been talking about nothing but the NHL YoungStars competition for a week and a half.

“I’ve been asked one hundred times if I’m excited to go,” since being named to the Eastern Conference team on January 15, the Bruins forward said.

“Yeah, I’m excited to go!”

The 19-year old boards a plane to Atlanta today, beginning his first time taking part in the All-Star experience.

“This is my first all-star selection for anything,” Lucic said the day of his nomination.

He was left out last year when five of his teammates on the Vancouver Giants were selected to play a Russian team.

“But I’m here now, so it doesn’t matter,” he said with a laugh.

Lucic is looking forward to joining the ranks, including many players he has looked up to or faced in the past, some of whom he hopes to meet.

“I’ve always watched [the All-Star Game],” he said.  “The last couple years, I watched because…it’s been guys that I know and have played against.

“I don’t know how much us young guys are going to be around the older guys, but…maybe they can introduce us to some of the guys we looked up to growing up.”

Lucic will have a friend or three in the ranks of the “older guys” in Atlanta.  Bruins Zdeno Chara, Marc Savard and Tim Thomas will take part in the All-Star Game on Sunday.

B’s head coach Claude Julien is proud of his players’ achievements.

“It’s been great for the organization, and it’s been great for those individuals, for the recognition that they deserve and for the organization…to have three people represent them,” he said on Thursday morning.  “I’m sure they’re going to represent us well.”

The day he heard of his nomination, Lucic mentioned some key people who helped him succeed.

“My puck protection has gotten better,” he said.  “[Bruins Vice President and former player] Cam [Neely] has come out and helped me, and also [Coach Geof] Ward has helped me out probably the most.

“They’ve really put into me that I can be effective if I’m in there knowing what’s going on.”

While the lessons he’s learned in the past season will be in the back of his mind, Lucic doesn’t really have a game strategy for Saturday night.

“[I’m going to] try to do what everyone else does to score goals,” he said.  “You know, just go in there, have fun.

“We’ll see how things go.  I know it’ll be a fun experience, and [I’ll] just try to make the most of it.”
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