WILMINGTON, Mass. - Milan Lucic has felt the love of the Boston Bruins fans and is not interested in playing for another team.
The forward signed a three-year contract extension with the Bruins on Tuesday, passing on the chance to become a restricted free agent next summer.
"I wanted to stay in Boston and I just enjoy everything about being a Bruin and the city, the organization and coming to the rink here, it's always a good feeling," Lucic said Wednesday at a news conference.
Lucic first expressed his desire to stay with the Bruins at his year-end meeting last spring after the Bruins lost their second-round playoff series against Carolina. Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said the deal, which expires after the 2012-13 season, came together over the past month.
"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," Chiarelli said.
What Lucic provides doesn't often show up on the score sheet. Through two previous seasons and the first two games of this season, he has 25 goals, 45 assists and a plus-16 rating. He also has racked up 230 penalty minutes in 151 regular season games. His team-leading total for hits and his game-changing fights only begin to quantify his contributions.
Now that he's signed the extension, it'll be up to Lucic, 21, to continue to improve but also remain the type of player he has been up to this point.
"I definitely think there's going to be a little more pressure," he said about the contract. "For myself, you've just got to think about what got you here. You can't get away from those things. You've just got to work at what makes you great. I think for me, it's that straight-line game, meat and potatoes, getting the puck in deep and getting rid of it, not being too fancy. So I've got to stick to that in order to be successful."
Bruins coach Claude Julien, who also recently signed an extension with the Bruins, is excited to have the six-foot-three, 228-pound left-winger at his disposal for the foreseeable future.
"It's nice because I think everybody here knows that he's an important part of our hockey club and he's still a very young player," Julien said. "You're battling with the success of young players that obviously get those big raises after three years. It's always been a challenge for every team to try and make those kinds of things fit into your plans. We know he's a big part of our hockey club and we want him here and it's nice to know that at least we've got him here for these next four years."