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Milan Lucic Brings Classic Bruins Style Back to Boston

Milan Lucic is a west coast guy playing Boston style hockey Milan Lucic is a west coast guy playing Boston style hockey

The classic image of the Boston Bruins hockey team is that of a gritty, tough, but talented bunch. The type of team that is just as likely to give you a black eye as light the goal light. For much of the past 20 years, the Bruins seemed to lack what the likes of Terry 0’Reilly, Cam Neely, Eddie Shore, and Phil Esposito brought to the ice in the past. And then Milan Lucic arrived.

Lucic joined the Bruins’ storied franchise as a 19-year-old. He was coming off a dominant junior season with the WHL and Major Junior champion Vancouver Giants, but few expected him to make “the show” so soon. After all, he was drafted 50th overall, and just a couple of years prior had been playing Junior B hockey after failing to make his Junior A club out of rookie camp.

But his hard work, dedication, and late blooming all culminated to make Lucic a big deal in Bean Town when the time was right. Lucic is touted as the second coming of Cam Neely, and the two Bruins wingers have much in common.

First and foremost, their styles of play are nearly identical. They are both big bruising power forwards who terrorize the wing and can put the puck in the net. The major difference is that Lucic lacks Neely’s incredible hands. Lucic can get to the net and bang home some goals, but Neely was a truly gifted, elite level scorer.

Both beloved Bruins also grew up on Canada’s west coast in the greater Vancouver area. Coincidentally, both players spent time on Vancouver ice at a high level as well.

Although Neely played his junior hockey with the Portland Winterhawks, he was drafted by his hometown Vancouver Canucks before being traded to Boston in one of the most lopsided deals in hockey history, one Canucks fans are still sore over.

Meanwhile, Lucic was able to bring a championship to his hometown in the form of the Memorial Cup when he was with the Giants.

Finally, both players are the type to step up their play in the playoffs. Whereas Lucic has averaged .45 points per game in the regular season, he has averaged .66 points per game in the post-season. Neely’s numbers fluctuate less, as he averaged .95 points per game in both the regular season and the playoffs, but Bruins fans will always remember him for his clutch performances in the post-season.

Milan Lucic is just the player the Boston Bruins needed to restore their identity. After nearly two decades as a mediocre team, the Bruins have become a competitive force in the NHL again. No doubt part of that has been a return to the style that made the franchise great in the eras when Eddie Shore, Phil Esposito, and Cam Neely roamed the ice.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 09 November 2010 20:24

Happy is a regular contributor to RosebudMag.com and has written for various other publications, including Black Belt, Inside Hockey, and FoxSports.com. He transitioned to life as a writer following a decade-long career as a touring musician. He lives with his son in Vancouver, British Columbia

Website: www.rosebudmag.com/hkreter

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