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Wednesday in Wilmington

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
8:36 p.m.

Bruins head coach Claude Julien added his two cents after practice.

"Everybody here knows he is an important part of our hockey club and he’s still a very young player," said Julien. "It’s nice to know that we have him here for the next four years."

Like Chiarelli, Coach Julien echoed Cam Neely's "State of the Bruins" notion that the Bruins want players who really want to wear Black & Gold.

"I think he likes it here. He’s been very vocal about that," said Julien. "He wants to stay here and that’s the kind of players that you want.

"You know he’s a player that realizes he had a chance at an early age to play in the NHL. And we have given him that opportunity and he is respectful for that and wants to continue to be a part of this organization.

"I think this organization fits him really well."

Julien talked about the first time he thought the Bruins might have something special in Lucic.

"It was in a summer camp, it was my first year," said Julien. "But let’s put it this way: he’s not an..."elegant” skater, but at the same time I saw a guy from the blueline in, in those drills, that whenever he got the puck he found the bottom of the net and he was a driven player.

"He was very good in straight lines. Right at that point I liked him and I remember Peter [Chiarelli] telling me he’s only 19 and he still has another year of junior hockey left.

"Basically we had left it at that and when he came to camp he started playing [with] the big boys at the time, and didn’t look out of place."

And the rest is history.

"He kind of opened everybody’s eyes and got better as the camp went on and we decided, why not, at that time we still had a 10-game span that we could use him before making a decision and he proved to us he belonged here and he stayed," said Julien.

So what do you think the future holds in store for Milan, Coach?

"You always improve with experience and age, and that is something that I think we’ve also taken into account," said Lucic. "He’s still a young 21-year-old player who still has a lot of years and time to improve and we expect him to keep getting better with time."

7:46 p.m.
For a hockey rink, it was as close to a love-in as you will ever see. And the fact that it featured Boston bruiser Milan Lucic made it even more improbable.

But there it was, in technicolor.

"Milan has been a very good performer for us, his skill set and his character set and his physicality are all tremendous assets to our organization and typify what it is to be a Bruin," began Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli at the press conference addressing the Lucic signing. "At the exit meeting this past year Milan expressed to me that loved being a Bruin and wanted to be a Bruin for a long time.

"So, obviously that was something that was really good to hear and certainly made it easier to get to this point in time because when someone wants to be here and play the way Milan plays I think it’s good for [both] parties.

"I was really excited to get this done, I love the way Milan plays. I love the way he carries himself on and off the ice, he’s a very humble person and he deserves this," he said.

In the wake of Phil Kessel trade one would assume that Lucic's stated desire to remaine with the Bruins and set up shop in New England came as a welcome juxtaposition. Even if that were so, Chiarelli stated that one action had nothing to do with the other.

"There’s no connection whatsoever to those two situations," said the GM. "It's a valid question, but there is no connection there."

That said, Lucic's desire to remain a Bruin will certainly make a difference to the Hub of Hockey.

"Obviously, I'm just real excited to be here for three more years after this year," said Lucic. "Like Peter [Chiarelli] explained at our year-end meeting I expressed to him I wanted to be a Bruin as long as I can.

"I really do enjoy it here. It is an honor to play for an organization like this that has so much history and going in the direction that we are going. I’d just like to thank Peter and the rest of the management staff, the Jacobs family, the coaching staff who helped me along the way and most of all my teammates for being there for me.

"I’m just excited for this and the challenges ahead."

11:34 a.m.
The players are stretching. Look for video of the Chiarelli/Lucic presser soon.

11:22 a.m.
Whenever the guys in maroon uniforms (or the fourth line) scores, hoots and hollers go up. Begin just tipped the puck over a Rask's shoulder and he, his linemates and some of the guys on the bench started celebrating.

Very funny.

11:11 a.m.
Line rushes.

10:50 a.m.
For such a tall, lanky person, B's rookie goalie Tuukka Rask is surprisingly agile.

When the 6'3 Finn explodes out of his usual statue like calm, it's almost frightening, and makes you feel like you caught one of the famous Easter Island faces -- tall and stoic for eons -- move out of the corner of your eye.

You think you saw it happen. But you're not quite sure.

In contrast to Tim Thomas, Boston's Vezina Trophy goaltender who, like a tornado of Black & Gold equipment, sometime plays as if his backbone were made of rubber, Rask plays the butterfly position, (in his crouch or down on the ice) bolt upright from the hips up.

However, much like Thomas, when you think there is no way he is quick enough to intercept the puck or the pass with a stick, leg or glove, he makes the save -- over and over and over.

It will be interesting to see if he can carry that calm over into NHL competition consistently.

10:29 a.m.

The Bruins are hitting the ice as I type. There are no missing faces.

Ference and Stuart were the first skaters on. Marc Savard was on immediately afterward.
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