Skip to main content
The Official Site of the Boston Bruins

On the Road: Bruins @ Canucks

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
John Bishop is the beat writer for He covers the Black & Gold hoping to offer a positive look at the team, not only from the stands and the press box, but also from inside the locker room.
Off to the locker room...

0:00 - A huge win for the Boston Bruins and Tim Thomas who threw his arms in the air after earning his second shutout in as many days.

:38 - Marc Savard is having a very good defensive period. Just swept away a loose puck from Thomas' doorstep.

1:22 - Luongo to the bench.

1:39 - ANOTHER big hit by Lucic.

3:01 - Lucic with another bid, almost beats Luongo, who was slow to get up after the sprawling save.

3:25 - Listening now to the TSN announcers who are just raving about the Bruins fourth line.

4:41 - Some lucky bounces for Boston are keeping the puck wide.

6:21 - Savard hits Kessel right in front on the move, but Luongo is there, again.

7:00 - Thornton beats a Canuck to the puck to negate an icing.

9:00 - Lucic hits Luongo high with a shot, which staggers the big goalie. He's fine.

11:02 - Thomas with his 23rd save off Ray Mason.

12:22 - A huge, lunging split save by Thomas preserves the lead.

13:49 - It wanted to happen, and it did. Ward in the box. Van PP.

14:54 - Good movement, good work, on the PP. No goal. Still, 1-0, Boston.

17:03 - Chara has his second shot of the power play stopped by Roberto.

17:39 - After intercepting a pass, Krejci is tripped up at ceter ice. Bruins PP.

18:37 - Timmy just saved the lead. A Canuck had the puck in the slot and Thomas kicked out the shot.

19:57 - Vancouver wins the draw.

20:00 - Start of the Third Period. If the B's can put together a solid period, they can win this game outright. I'd put money that Luch will do something special in the third. He has seven hits, three shots and I think he was asking for a fight from Kevin Bieska.
0:00 - Boston survived that period. The Bruins need to be MUCH better in the third if they want to leave with two points.

1:31 - Another big hit by Lucic, his seventh?

3:45 - When Axelsson broke his stick on the PK, Stephane Yelle blocked a shot that went out of the rink to stop play.

4:00 - Stuart in the box for a hook.

4:37 - The Bruins are getting the puck deep but are having trouble connecting to finish.

6:56 - Boston keeps putting the puck on Luongo -- he keeps stopping it.

7:57 - The B's have woken up and the Savard and Yelle lines combined for some pressure on Luongo.

8:36 - After the Canucks kept the puck in the Bruins zone for almost a minute, Boston earns another icing.

10:55 - Icing Boston.

12:38 - A great shift by the Savard line, with two hits by Lucic and some hard work by Marc and Kessel. BTW: Give Savard and Sturm the assists on the B's goal.

14:33 - Good kill.

16:59 – Ference in the box. But Krejci just went to the bench after getting a stick to the face. Hmmmm.

17:40 - Timmy is getting challenged again.

19:41 - Boston forced the initial draw into the Canucks zone and created another face-off when Luongo stopped play.

20:00 - Start of the Second Period.
0:00 - A really terrific period for Boston. They  lead, 1-0, and also control the shot clock with 13 shots to the Canucks 11. Thomas has been lights out.

1:18 - Some excellent work by the Bruins has kept the puck in the Vancouver half of the ice for some time.

4:33 - After an errant pass is intercepted by Daniel Sedin, Tim Thomas goes two pad stack to stop him. It was a like a time warp, baby. Seriously, it was sweet.

5:05 - When a pass gets ahead of a Vancouver forward, Thomas covers up in the crease for a face-off.

5:46 - Icing Canucks.

6:01 - Luongo with another big glove save. This time it's Yelle who tests the big blue goalie.

7:36 - Three good stops by Tim. The first one was through a screen, the second while he was falling and the third, of course, was from the seat of his pants.

9:44 - On a delayed penalty, and with Thomas off, Michael Ryder found himself in the slot with the puck and threw a shot past Luongo. It was his second of the season, with assists to Savard and Stuart. Boston 1, Vancouver 0.

11:02 - Timmy stood tall on a shot by Sedin (Henrik, I think) and in the ensuing scramble.

12:08 - Boston has turned on the jets, and Thornton is the latest Bruin to test Luongo. He took a hard shot from the right point and Luongo fielded the drive. Shots are Boston 5, Vancouver 4.

13:47 - Bergeron tried to put it through Luongo, who took the puck in the middle of the big "C" on his chest.

15:19 - Kessel almost snuck one by Luongo, and Lucic was there on the doorstep had he not controlled the rebound.

15:28 - Ohlund to the box for a trip. Boston 's first PP.

15:31 - A bit of a break for the B's thanks to a Vancouver icing.

16:36 - Thomas turns aside a tricky shot by Ryan Johnson. And the Canucks continue to press.

18:11 - Taylor Pyatt skates down the left side and throws a wrister on Thomas, who makes his third save of the evening. Vancouver has kept the momentum, thus far.

19:35 - Two blocks by Andrew Ference and two saves by Tim Thomas keep the score, 0-0.

19:54 - Boston wins the draw but gets an icing call.

20:00 - Beginning of the First Period. THe B's could make it a lot easier on themselves if they were to put a crooked number on the board early. Nice anthems by Mark Donnelly, BTW.

Let's switch to time on the clock...

6:57 p.m.
Your starters are Lucic, Savard, Kessel, Ference, Wideman and Thomas.
For Vancouver Hansen, Kesler, Burrows, Mitchell, Bieska and Luongo.

Lots of cheers for Milan when his name was announced.

6:39 p.m.
And your Boston Bruins are...
Lucic -  Savard - Kessel
Sturm - Bergeron - Ryder
Axelsson - Krejci - Wheeler
Thornton - Yelle - Nokelainen
Chara - Ward
Ference - Wideman
Stuart - Hnidy

Hunwick, Kobasew and Sobotka

6:30  p.m.
Tim Thomas and Roberto Luongo led their teams out of their respective tunnels for warmups.

There were several of us in the press box who suspected that Tim's outstanding performance in Edmonton would earn him a second straight start.

Milan Lucic, who looks like he visted his barber, is getting a warm welcome from his hometown fans. The big man has worn a big smile throughout his first couple of laps during warmups.

I'm guessing we are going with the same lines tonight. Gimme a few to confirm.

6:02 p.m.
It's getting close to game time, so we should be getting word about lineups and starting goalies very soon.

I just noticed that Tim Thomas was named one of's three stars for his performance last night.

2:46 p.m.
Milan Lucic
That’ll be the day when Connecticut’s Journal Inquirer or the Hartford Courant ever do a two page spread about me the next time I swing in from Boston.

But all kidding aside, Milan Lucic is a rock star here in Vancouver. I mean, when's the last time you saw baby pictures in a sports page. Seriously, Milan’s baby picture is on the back page – eight inches tall – and bears the caption, “Welcome Home, Tough Guy.”

That’s a little good-natured ribbing for a hometown kid who brought the city a Memorial Cup championship a couple seasons back.

I don’t usually do this, but go to and click on the sports page and you’ll get a better idea of what I am talking about, including two stories, a photo gallery and a video link.

We knew that Lucic's return would garner some attention, but I don’t think anyone knew just how big the big man is here in British Columbia. For instance, as I walked into GM Place this morning someone called out to the Bruins coaching staff, yelling “Lucic is incredible, isn’t he?”

There was no other comment. It was if the fan had seen a storm and was asking, "Wow that tornado was something else, huh?"

A little bewildered, we all kept walking.

Boston Bruins' Milan Lucic (62) sends Toronto Maple Leafs' Darryl Boyce to the ice during the second period of the NHL preseason hockey game Saturday, Sept. 22, 2007, in Boston. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)
The ONLY equivalent I’ve seen thus far is Tim Thomas’ popularity in Vermont, Marc Savard’s cache in Ottawa and Patrice Bergeron’s q rating in Montreal.

It's downright Flutiesque.

But here’s the best part of the deal if you are a Bruins fan (or if you are a member of Milan's family): Lucic remains himself, no matter what is happening around him.

Ostensibly, he is the same guy I met at Development Camp in 2007, the same guy who just hoped to make the Bruins last fall, and the same guy who was marveling at all the talent in Atlanta when he was invited to the Young Stars Game.

Furthermore, he is the same guy who came up big against the Habs in last years playoffs.

“He’s really come a long (way),” said Bruins head coach Claude Julien this morning. “He really takes advantage of his size and strength. And not only that, I don’t think he gets enough credit for his skill level and the way he shoots the puck.

“From the blueline in, he’s a pretty good player as well. He got rewarded a couple of games ago for going to those tough areas, keeping his position and jumping on those loose pucks…and you hope that guys can build on that.”

Julien, who has seen Milan blossom into a NHL power forward, agreed that Lucic is still the same person he was when he arrived in Boston.

“He’s a very modest individual,” said Julien. “He certainly has taken some good advice from people in our organization and he just keeps growing everyday.

“He keeps getting better.”

Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic, left, fights with Toronto Maple Leafs leftwing Mark Bell during the first period of their hockey game in Boston, Thursday Nov. 15, 2007. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
While he seems pleased to be home, and is very polite to those seeking his attention, you sense that his excitement comes more from being able to attain a major goal  -- playing in GM Place against the Canucks – in front of the people who helped make it possible.

“It’s nice,” said Lucic of playing in front of Mom and Dad. “They’ve obviously come out to Boston to see me play in the NHL, but it’s a special night because I am in the hometown.

“It’s a good feeling.”

“For me, it was an ultimate goal to play for or against the Vancouver Canucks. Tonight’s the first time against them. They’re the team I always watched growing up, and I know a lot about them. So, it’s a special,” he said.

But not too special. Lucic was asked if there would be any butterflies playing at home.

“No,” said Lucic with a smile. “I played a lot of games in Vancouver with the Giants, so it should be a good one.”

Speaking of the Giants, those men and women who covered him previously, remain very impressed.

Boston Bruins' Milan Lucic celebrates his third goal of the game in the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Atlanta Thrashers, Saturday, Oct. 25, 2008, in Boston. The Bruins won 5-4. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Steve Ewen, of The Province, writes:
There are guys in the NHL who forgot their junior teams 10-minutes after their final games with them. Not Lucic. He’s a big deal but isn’t big-leaguing anybody. He’s still this kid from Vancouver who had to outwork everyone in his path to make it.

As for Vancouver itself, Lucic speaks about his home as if he is describing an old friend.

“It’s a real nice city – a beautiful city,” he said. “You’ve got mountains to look at from the city and you can see the ocean from the city, too.

“There’s not much snow, but it does rain a lot.

“If anyone ever gets a chance, they should definitely come check it out,” said Lucic.

Tonight, the city of Vancouver certainly seems ready to check out Lucic. But let's hope they aren't looking forward to it so much, next time around.

Good Luck, Milan. JB

12:12 p.m.
It was an optional practice this morning.

And although I saw a lot of the guys in and out of GM Place, the only people taking the ice were Kobasew, Sobtoka, Hunwick and Fernandez.

Coach Julien said that the lineup should be "pretty well the same as we saw last night. But again there's always reasons to keep our guys on their toes and I've made changes before at gametime."

And as far as goaltending goes, as we in New England know, Coach does not usually announce his starters.

"That's something that we've done on a regular basis (this season)," said Julien. "We've got two goaltenders that can do a good job for us and we're taking advantage of it."

Local boy Milan Lucic has hit the town like a ton of bricks.

With newspaper articles and television cameras chasing him, Vancouver has Milan Mania.

Lucic, who said he bought five tickets for family for tonight, said he expects nearly 100 people to attend tonight's game. Also, the Vancouver Giants, who showed a lot of class by deciding to give Lucic a new Memorial Cup ring after his was stolen last summer, are also bringing in the entire team to watch their former captain play.

More on that in a bit...

10:41 a.m.
The latest: It's an optional practice and Bruins head coach Claude Julien is speaking at 11 a.m. So, keep it here.

10:38 a.m. (Vancouver time)
Where are we?
Located in the southwest corner of British Columbia, Vancouver is made up of 21 municipalities, one of which is the City of Vancouver – it’s sort of like Boston being made of Boston and all the suburbs within Route 128. 

The city’s population is about 583,296, according to the 2001 Canadian Census, but the Greater Vancouver area has about 2.1 million people – 50.8% of the entire population of British Columbia.  The city’s official languages are English and French, but the most common of the “other” languages include Punjabi, German, Italian, French, Tagalog (Filipino) and Spanish, says

Over half of the area’s school children were raised speaking a language other than English.  Additionally, Vancouver establishments accept the US dollar and Canadian currency, but they also take Japanese yen.

Vancouver was first settled in the 1860s, during the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush, says Wikipedia.  It is currently the busiest Canadian seaport, and it exports more cargo than any North American seaport.  Recently, Vancouver has expanded its technology industries and is especially known for video game development.  It is ranked one of the top three most livable cities in the world.

Vancouver will be the host city for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Where are we playing?
General Motors Place was completed in 1995 for $160 million Canadian.  It seats 18,630 for hockey, with 88 luxury suites, 12 hospitality suites, and 2,195 club suites, says Wikipedia.  Nicknamed “GM Place” and “The Garage,” the arena is home to the Vancouver Canucks, and used to house the NBA’s Vancouver Grizzlies and the Vancouver Ravens of the National Lacrosse League.

The arena received a new scoreboard in 2006, featuring four of the largest video screens in the NHL – 13.5 feet by 24 feet each.  The scoreboard weights 49,000 pounds.  There is also talk of building an adjoining office tower, connected to the arena with a concourse that will also include new food and merchandise areas.

The first event in the arena was a Bryan Adams concert, and it has been the first stop for tours by The Police, the Spice Girls, and Janet Jackson.  Queen Elizabeth II was part of a ceremonial puck drop for an October 2002 exhibition game between the Canucks and the San Jose Sharks.  General Motors Place held the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, and will be the hockey arena for the 2010 Winter Olympics – renamed, for that period of time, Canada Hockey Place.

Who are we playing?
The Canucks
In 1945, the Pacific Coast Hockey League established a Vancouver hockey team known as the Canucks.  The team won the PCHL championships in 1946 and 1948, before the PCHL joined the Western Canada Senior Hockey League to become the Western Hockey League in 1952, according to the Canucks website.

The team won four championships – 1958, 1960, 1969 and 1970 – but was denied entry to the NHL during a 1965 expansion, supposedly because of a bad presentation to the NHL’s Board of Governors and because of bad blood between Vancouver ownership and Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs ownership.  They finally entered the NHL five years later, during another expansion.

The Canucks have never won a Stanley Cup while in the NHL.  They were defeated by the New York Islanders in 1982 and the New York Rangers in 1994.  They have, however, been division champions five times. 

During the team’s 1982 Stanley Cup run, Vancouver coach Roger Neilson accidentally began the tradition of rally towels.  Upset with the team’s performance, he put a towel on the end of a hockey stick, mocking surrender to the Chicago Blackhawks.  The rest of the team did the same, and, at the next game, fans began waving white towels to support the team.

The team has also had 13 different logos.

This season, goalie Roberto Luongo was named the team’s captain, the first time a goalie has been named captain of an NHL team since the Montreal Canadiens made Bill Durnan their captain in 1947.

When are we playing?
10 p.m. Eastern time.

Who’s playing for us?
Lineups will be posted later in the day.

Is the game on?
Just like last night, NESN and WBZ Newsradio 1030 will have the late-night coverage.
View More