Bruins notebook: Milan Lucic relishing leadership role

Like he does most every thing, Milan Lucic remembers his first preseason sport effectively.

It was in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and he had a stomach stuffed with butterflies. Luckily, stated Lucic, he had a crusty veteran by the identify of Shawn Thornton there with him to maintain him as even-keeled as an adolescent could possibly be taking part in in his first NHL sport.

“He did a good job, especially my first year, just calming down and talking me through things,” stated Lucic, who was set to make his 2023 preseason debut on Tuesday in Buffalo on a line with younger middle Marc McLaughlin and veteran tryout Alex Chiasson.

Now, at age 35 and on his second stint with the Bruins, Lucic fills the Thornton function for youthful gamers and he’s having fun with it. He received an actual style final spring for Team Canada on the World Championships.

“I had a real good experience at the World Championships kind of being the older guy and having to take on the leadership role, so I guess I got a lot of good prep there,” stated Lucic on Tuesday morning earlier than touring to Buffalo. “Obviously it ended up being a really great experience and a great tournament because we won the gold and all that. But, yeah, it was a real good learning curve for myself and I’ll try to apply what I learned from that experience into this season.”

While some high NHL gamers could take a look at participation within the World Championships as one thing of an obligation, Lucic was desirous to play in it.

“Part of the reason I reached out to go was because I have the passion to play and I wanted to experience it. I hadn’t had an opportunity like that, an international tournament, so it was something that I wanted to do,” stated Lucic. “Just talking to the coaching staff before the tournament even started about what my role was going to be, I was obviously having to take on a leadership role in being an older guy. It was something that I had to take on. But at the end of the day, you talk about passion and all that kind of stuff, it was about having fun again. When you go to tournaments like that, it’s lighter. The mood is a lot looser, even though there is pressure to win, especially when you’re Team Canada. But for me, it was just having fun and getting to experience that, the first half was just the boys and a lot of fun, then adding the families into it as well, being able to celebrate a championship with them was a lot of fun.”

Lucic’s days of being a 20-goal scorer and skating within the high six look like effectively behind him. He hasn’t scored greater than 10 targets within the final six years. Fourth-line obligation is his vacation spot.

But whereas he signed for his toughness and expertise, coach Jim Montgomery sees a number of issues nonetheless left in his hockey instrument bag. His at all times underrated passing skill is one factor.

“The things that have stood out is he’s really relishing the leadership and mentoring role, which is great. His attitude has been fantastic,” stated Montgomery. “And then on the ice, he’s making plays. His ability to make plays in small areas has been very noticeable to me and I think that he’s going to have success with the way we want to play.”

But Lucic doesn’t exempt himself from the fierce battle for backside six jobs, and he believes it is going to make him and everybody else round him higher for it.

“It’s a competition,” stated Lucic with an enormous smile. “A good thing is having competition within. Even for me, it pushes me to be better and be at my best. As much as you’re in a mentor role, a leadership role, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do for yourself as an individual. Inner competition is a really good thing. I think that’s something that’s been here for many years and it just pushes guys to be better.” …

Quick hits

After taking part in effectively in his first preseason sport, the B’s have been taking one other take a look at John Beecher on Tuesday. It’s clear that he can’t relaxation on any laurels.

What did Montgomery need to see?

“Just use his speed offensively and defensively to create numbers and winning battles, staying on top of pucks,” stated Montgomery. “It’s an area everybody can be better in, but it’s an area in particular for him, raising his pace of intensity to be able to win battles. His physical tools are very obvious. His battle tools and his will is something that we’re looking to see take a step so that he can be a Bruin.” …

After the sport group headed to Buffalo, the B’s took a take a look at what very effectively could possibly be their power-play items. The first PP had Pavel Zacha within the bumper, Charlie McAvoy up high, James van Riemsdyk at internet entrance and Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak on the wings. The second unit had Morgan Geekie on the bumper, Charlie Coyle at internet entrance, Hampus Lindholm up high and Jake DeBrusk and Kevin Shattenkirk on the wings. …

Patrick Brown, who left Sunday’s preseason opener after blocking a shot, returned to the ice on Tuesday. Jakub Zboril, who additionally left Sunday’s sport early, might return to the ice on Wednesday, stated Montgomery.