FRAMINGHAM Milan Lucic admitted he was surprised that so many of his Bruins teammates seven of them, including Tuukka Rask and Rich Peverley have already bolted for European hockey leagues. The Bs power forward hasnt made any plans for playing anywhere other than the NHL this season, and it doesnt sound like thats going to change in the near term.
You start thinking about it, admitted Lucic, who chatted with CSNNE.com after speaking to the Mary E. Stapleton Elementary School in Framingham Monday morning in an event sponsored by NMTW Community Credit Union. Im actually kind of surprised that guys are so urgent and anxious to leave so quickly given where the labor dispute is where its at. As more and more guys start to go over and more and more guys from our team start thinking about it, you start thinking about it more. Right now I dont have any plans to go, but its in the back of my mind.
Things are a little more complicated for the 24-year-old Lucic than they might be for a 20-year-old Tyler Seguin, who can literally drop everything and head over to Switzerland until the NHL lockout ends. Lucic and his new bride Brittany are expecting their first child during the upcoming season, and the Bs power forward understandably doesnt want to be across the world for that life milestone.
That all makes it more complicated especially when its your first child, said Lucic. You want to be around for all of the experiences of it. Thats basically where Im at right now. I want to be there for her more than anything.
The concern, of course, is becoming rusty as a hockey player if the NHL layoff turns into months rather than days or weeks. Lucic might be forced to leave for Europe at some point if the scrimmages and informal skates arent enough to keep in tip-top shape, but thats a long way down the road.
CSNNE.com contacted both Shawn Thornton and Johnny Boychuk on Monday as well, and both players arent any closer to brokering a deal with a European club. Thornton is exploring potential opportunities in Europe, and is running into the same insurance challenges that many NHL players face while attempting to protect themselves from potential injuries.
A US underwriter estimated to CSNNE.com that NHL players will be footing a bill of roughly 10-25K per million of salary for each month that they play in Europe just in insurance costs.
The Belfast Giants team that the Bruins played two years ago in Northern Ireland would be a natural fit for a guy like Thornton thats only two generations removed from his Irish heritage. But thus far the Bs enforcer and the Belfast club havent come to an agreement on a deal suitable for both sides.
Boychuk hasnt explored the European option as of yet either. The Bruins defenseman is going to remain in Boston for the foreseeable future skating with some of his teammates. The question becomes how quickly the opportunities for NHL players dry up in the European Leagues as so many hockey players flock to Germany, Czech Republic, Finland and Switzerland among other places.
Well see, I guess, said Boychuk. I am not leaving right now. I know that much. I dont know where Ill go if I do end up playing in Europe.
Zdeno Chara is one European player that hasnt made the move back to his native Slovakia quite yet. The insurance premium would be considerable for a 33-year-old player carrying a big salary price tag like Chara, but he is rumored to be headed to Bratislava ifwhen he does opt for Europe.
Chara would be reunited with good buddy and former Bruins forward Miro Satan if he hops over to Slovakia, but the Bs captains daughter is already enrolled in Boston schools for the semester so Chara will be taking his time before making any final decisions.