BOSTON -- Milan Lucic couldn’t help but marvel at the hockey fight he’d just been embroiled in after Monday night’s final home preseason game at TD Garden.
The B’s left wing had blasted Dane Byers with a clean hit near the penalty boxes that knocked Lucic to the ice, and before Lucic could react, Washington tough guy Joel Rechlicz was on top of him ready for a brawl. Lucic obliged and what transpired was one of the best heavyweight fights one will ever see whether it’s the exhibition season or the regular season.
“I’ll tell you what, that guy [Rechlicz] had a steel jaw because he wasn’t going down and Looch [Milan Lucic] kept throwing some pretty good punches,” said Claude Julien. “It was a fight for men, and people who enjoy that kind of hockey certainly got their money’s worth just on that one alone.”
Lucic tagged Rechlicz with a number of overhand rights that would normally turn an opposing combatant into a quivering pile of Komisarek Jell-O, but instead the Capitals wannabee absorbed every punch and threw a number of his own right back at No. 17. After a minute or two, both fighters were so exhausted from throwing haymakers that the referees had to finally break things up.
That might be the first time this hockey writer has ever seen Lucic tire himself out throwing bombs that connected because those kinds of fights usually don’t last that long. Afterward he was more than happy to give credit where it was due.
“I was hoping he was going to go down, but [he’s a] big tough kid. I guess [it was a] great fight. I’m sure you guys enjoyed it,” said Lucic. “It’s always nice to get into one, just because it’s been the offseason and not getting into a fight and then having one like that -- there’s probably no better way to get back into it.”
It was one of five fights for the Bruins on the evening, and certainly the marquee event among the scraps involving Boston and Washington. Aaron Volpatti and Kevan Miller also squared off in the first period and were slapped with fighting majors as well as unsportsmanlike conduct penalties for taking each other’s helmets off.
Then in the third period Bruins forward Nick Johnson endeared himself even more to his teammates by jumping in to defend Adam McQuaid when the Bruins defenseman was jumped from behind by Michael Cajkovski.
Rechlicz was at it again in the second period when Johnny Boychuk threw a perfectly legal hit in the neutral zone, and the Washington enforcer jumped him while clearly trying to impress enough Washington eyes to win an NHL job. That’s life in training camp where the Bruins have a pair of preseason games remaining on the schedule before they jump into the real thing on Oct. 3 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.