Haggerty: Lucic trade rumors literally make zero sense

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Haggerty: Lucic trade rumors literally make zero sense

While its always difficult to guarantee 100-percent truth from any statement made by an NHL general manager while wheeling and dealing is going on in the summertime, theres always some worth in taking words at face value.

So what to make of an ESPNBoston.com report that both David Krejci and Milan Lucic arent being made available by the Bruins via trade talks despite Boston kicking the tires on a potential Bobby Ryan deal?

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli has been 100-percent consistent in summer statements that hes not disbanding the current team and his desire is to keep the current nucleus of Bruins players together.

That could change if the right deal came along, of course, and this humble hockey writer isnt 100-percent convinced that weve heard the last about rumors involving Krejci.

But one player that absolutely 100-percent wont be dealt is Bs power forward Milan Lucic and with good reason.

Actually, there are many reasons given that Lucic has averaged 28 goals scored and 128 penalty minutes over the last two years.
Theres been a surprising sentiment in some corners of Boston that Lucic has been on a downward trend over the last few seasons, and perhaps the Bruins would be correct in dealing the 24-year-old hulking forward away.

There are accusations perhaps he is moving away from his games bread and butter as the leagues foremost battering ram. Some think hes moved away from the intimidating and bruising game that allowed Lucic to storm on the NHL scene five years ago as a 19-year-old rookie.

But much of that couldnt be further from the hockey truth.

While its true Lucic has struggled mightily in the playoffs over the last two seasons with only five goals and 15 points in 32 postseason games, thats no reason to give up on a player just entering his prime.

Lucic had arguably his best and most consistent season with the Bruins last year while avoiding the prolonged slumps and bouts of invisibility that have plagued his still-developing game in the past.

Lucic had the second-most registered hits (201) of his career last season and the most since his breakout second NHL season in 2008-09. Above and beyond that he scares the bejesus out of his opponents: the prototypical power forward was voted by his fellow NHL peers as the toughest player in the NHL last season.

He also ostensibly wrecked the Buffalo Sabres entire season with his own brand of nasty when he trucked goalie Ryan Miller during a game in November. Lucic is perhaps the biggest factor in the Northeast Division muscling up program thats taking place this offseason in Buffalo and Montreal.

So Bostons opponents are specifically game-planning against a player thats lost his hockey bloodlust overt he last two years?

Not likely.

Lucic also had nine fights last year with assorted NHL tough customers like Brandon Prust and Matt Carkner on top of the customary crushing body checks in the corner. His demolition job on Prust in front of both benches at Madison Square Garden was perhaps the perfect Exhibit A of what Lucic consistently brings to the table as expectations seem to be rising to ridiculous proportions for No. 17.
That physicality literally changes games and alters the way defenseman tiptoe into the corner to retrieve pucks with the 6-foot-3, 230-pound Lucic bearing down on them.

But its not just anecdotal when it comes to Lucic.

Through the 2011-12 NHL season only Lucic, Scott Hartnell, Wayne Simmonds, Corey Perry, and David Clarkson both scored more than 25 goals and racked up more than 100 penalty minutes in the ultimate show of snarling might and offensive magic.

Lucic, Hartnell and Perry are the only players to reach that rarified level over each of the last two seasons, and consistently bring that rare powerskill combination to the fore.

If that doesnt illustrate the rare skill set Lucic brings to the table then its likely that nothing ever will.

Especially for those that are so hung up on some lackluster playoff games over the last two years that theyre ready to discard a dominant player the other 29 NHL teams would literally salivate over if placed on the trade market.

Tuesday, Jan. 24: Crosby, Matthews top coaches' poll

Tuesday, Jan. 24: Crosby, Matthews top coaches' poll

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while rooting for “Manchester By the Sea” to upset some favorites at the Oscars.

*Sidney Crosby and Auston Matthews top the annual NHL coaches' poll produced by TSN Insider Bob McKenzie.

*The oral history of Fox’s glowing puck used for the NHL during their run with the league is an entertaining one.

*Mike Babcock gives pep talks to the reporters along with his own players while running the show in Toronto.

*The Vegas Golden Knights are moving forward with their timetable toward hiring a coach with some good candidates out there now, and some other ones potentially available soon. I’ve wondered if Claude Julien would be interested in that spot if he’s let go by the Bruins this season, but the one sure thing is that he wouldn’t be out of work long if he is relieved of his duties.

*Claude Giroux needs to start playing a little more fearlessly and without dwelling on mistakes, according to his general manager.

*Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill doesn’t believe that fancy stats and analytics have had a major impact on the way the Wings do things.

*PHT writer James O’Brien has the rundown on a Millenial’s dream of performers at the 2017 NHL All-Star Game: Nick Jonas, Fifth Harmony and Carly Rae Jepsen.

*For something completely different: keeping an eye on the notion that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is going to run for President.

 


 

Julien: 'The less said and the more shown' is good for Bruins right now

Julien: 'The less said and the more shown' is good for Bruins right now

BRIGHTON, Mass – Claude Julien met with the media after Tuesday’s morning skate and there was a bit of a long pause between questions at one point early in the session.

“I understand because everything that needs to be said has already been said, right?” cracked the longtime Bruins bench boss, who was in good spirits after morning skate despite the turmoil around him.

It’s clearly less about words and more about results right now for a struggling team that’s lost a season-worst four games in a row in gut-punching fashion and has fallen out of a playoff position despite teams above them, Ottawa and Toronto, holding five games in hand on them. 

The Bruins are in a freefall at the worst possible time and at this point, Julien wants to see positive action and winning results from his team rather than the empty talk with the media.

“We want to respect our game plan, execute it well and that normally helps you. We’ve been a little bit all over the place, especially in the last game,” said Julien. “That’s what we addressed yesterday, moving forward.

“I haven’t used the All-Star break as a motivation. We’re basically looking at these last two games, and what we have to do in these last two games. I think we’re well aware of what’s waiting for them after that. The players normally know when the breaks are. That’s not for us right now. I’d like to see our focus on what we need to do [against the Wings] to right the ship. We’ve talked about it a lot, and I think right now the less said, and the more shown is probably the best thing.”

With two games left until the All-Star break, one has to wonder what Julien’s fate will be if the Bruins drop both games to Detroit and Pittsburgh before the group breaks up for All-Star weekend. 

A good showing might be enough to keep Julien calling the shots for the Black and Gold down the stretch this season. But the sense is that more of the same fragile, losing efforts from the Bruins in these final two home dates, a familiar look from this group over the past three seasons, could spell doom for the winningest coach in Bruins franchise history.

One thing is for sure: Words aren’t going to do anything for Julien, and instead it’s about cold, hard results for the coach and the Bruins players who are nose-diving in the middle of the regular season.