On Friday’s edition of NHL Live on the NHL Network, Milan Lucic
joined hosts E.J. Hradek and Steve Mears to discuss a plethora of topics as the Kings prepare for Saturday’s night’s date with the New Jersey Devils at STAPLES Center.
Lucic, who has points in four-straight games, touched on the Kings’ success in overtime this season, transitioning to play for Darryl Sutter, and California’s hockey rivalries. He also delved into what it’s like playing in front of Los Angeles’ rather illustrious fanbase:
“It’s pretty cool to be down here in LA to see guys like [Will Ferrell] at our game,” said Lucic. “And that Wednesday game, Kobe was at the game too, so it’s pretty cool when you have people like that at the game, you just want to go out there and put on the best show you can for them.”
ROLLING IN OT -
After going a miserable 3-15 in games that extended past regulation last season, the Kings have posted a 12-4 mark this season, including an outstanding 10-2 record in three-on-three overtime.
Lucic, on the team’s success in three-on-three overtime:
"We’ve been doing a good job of getting those chances when we have because the puck possession in the three-on-three, as you’ve seen from all the three-on-three play, puck possession is probably the biggest thing, and when you get those chances you’ve got to make sure you score, and we’ve been bearing down on them. To be honest, that was one of the things we talked about early in the season, heading into those overtime games, is getting those points because, you know, the Kings last year, like you said, if they get one or two points here or there from winning an overtime or a shootout, and they’re in the playoffs, and we didn’t want that to be the case for us, missing the playoffs this year, and I think guys have really stepped up and made it count when we have those opportunities in three-on-three."
COACHING CHANGE -
Having played his entire NHL career under one coach in Claude Julien, Milan Lucic had to adapt in a way he never had to before in his professional career.
Lucic, on transitioning from Julien to Sutter, how the coaches differ:
"For me, it was definitely a transition. When you go from playing for only one coach in the NHL, it was eight years, it was eight great years that I got to play for Claude, and I really enjoyed playing for him. Making that transition to LA and playing for Darryl, I’ve also really enjoyed playing for him throughout this season. I think there are a lot of similarities, and obviously differences. The similarities, with like a lot of coaches, they expect and demand a lot from their players, they’re not afraid to kind of call their players out when they need to be called out. The style is a little different, as much as it kind of looks the same on TV, the style is different, and it took a little bit of an adjustment period of getting used to everything being second-nature under Darryl’s system, but I’ve had a lot of fun with that transition, learning new things and getting to experience a new coach. You talk about a fresh start somewhere else, everything is fresh, the new teammates, the new coaches and all that type of stuff, and I’ve really enjoyed it so far throughout the first 65 games."
CALIFORNIA LOVE -
During his eight years in Boston, Milan Lucic was involved in what is arguably the greatest, most heated rivalry in the NHL, the Bruins – Canadiens.
Lucic, on the NHL’s California rivalries:
"Honestly, it’s awesome, it really is awesome. I don’t think these rivalries get enough credit as they should, because whether it’s in the Honda Center or in the Staples Center, when we play the Ducks, it’s as loud as games I’ve ever been a part of. Being a part of the Montreal – Boston series, and that rivalry, that rivalry has all of the history and all that stuff to go with it, so I don’t think there will ever be one to top that. But this one, it’s pretty close, for how the atmosphere is and how hostile it gets in the crowd and on the ice and all that type of stuff. So, with all three California teams being as good as they are, and the hatred between the three of them, I think it’s made for some real good rivalries and real great games so far throughout the season. And the way things are looking, you know for sure that there’s going to be at least one California playoff series, so I think it goes to show how hockey’s going in the state of California and how much into it the fans are and how much they’re loving it, and personally, it’s great to be a part of it. I’ve enjoyed that part, I’ve enjoyed the rivalry part as much as I have everything else."
WATCH: Milan Lucic joines NHL Live