Boston Bruins

Lucic checks in during busy offseason

191545.jpg

Lucic checks in during busy offseason

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins InsiderFollow @hackswithhaggs
LOWELL Milan Lucic is breathing a lot easier these days.

The 25-year-old power forward had sinus surgery last Wednesday with Dr. TessaHadlock at Mass Eye and Ear Infirmary to straighten out an extremely deviated septum after four years of punching and being punched at the NHL level.

Lucic actually had seven separate breaks in his nose, dating back to a face-first plunge into the end boards in Philadelphia during his rookie season, and the 30-goal scorer called his nose area a big mess.

"I had surgery to straighten out the septum. It was broken in seven different places, said Lucic at LeLacheur Park in Lowell promoting his NMTW Rock and Jock Celebrity Softball Game at the home of the Lowell Spinners on Aug. 24 that benefits Celebrities for Charity. The first three days getting over it were pretty horrible, but Im breathing normally now. So Ill be good for camp.

Lucic said he was actually gasping for breathe at times during the playoffs because he couldnt breathe out of his left nostril due to the severe break within his nose. One thing Lucic didnt fix, however, was the prominent Serbian character in his beak thats always characterized No. 17.

He might be scoring more goals, but hes also still fighting and throwing body checks. Looch certainly hasnt gone Hollywood with his nose surgery.

"I didn't want to go with the pretty Brad Pitt look, he said, laughing. I wanted to keep the Lucic look going. Its the strong facial features.

So with that taken care of, Lucic is off to Edmonton for Johnny Boychuks wedding this weekend before getting ready for his time with the Stanley Cup in his home city of Vancouver. Lucic plans to take the Cup to his high school and the Agrodome rink where he learned to skate in East Vancouver, before hiking it up to the top of Mount Grouse that overlooks the city of Vancouver.

When we won the Memorial Cup we all took pictures with it on top of Mount Grouse, and thats actually the picture thats in the background on my laptop, said Lucic. I always told my family that someday Id replace that with a Stanley Cup photo on top of Mount Grouse, and now I can go out and do that. Itll be great.

Lucic has enjoyed almost a month of celebration since winning the Cup, and has had plenty of time to think about what transpired during the 24 playoff games that started against the Habs and ended with celebrations on the ice in Vancouver after Game 7. Lucic said he felt compelled to thank the fans that have approached him with gratitude after bringing the Cup back to Boston.

He also had some interesting thoughts about when he felt the turning point within the playoffs arrived. It wasnt against the Canucks or during a hard-fought seven games against the Tampa Bay Lightning but instead came against the Habs when Boston was immediately pushed to the wall with two home losses to start the series.

The Bruins won Game 3 at the Bell Centre, escaped to Lake Placid for a couple of days away from the Habs hue and cry and then battled back after falling behind in Game 4. A fluke Andrew Ference bomb from the high point closed the Bruins within a 3-2 score in the game at the Bell Centre, and Ference famously flashed the unintentional bird to the Canadiens-friendly crowd as he skated in to celebrate with his approaching teammates.

It was that goal combined with the accompanying show of defiance which Ference later said was an equipment malfunction with his glove that gave Lucic the inspiration that the Bruins wouldnt lose the series, or any other series moving forward as they tore through the Eastern Conference.

I know he probably doesn't want to get this brought up, said Lucic with the slight hint of a chuckle. "But looking back to Game 4 against Montreal, we were down 3-1, and Andrew Ference scored that goal to make it 3-2. It was kind of a lucky bounce that went our way.

He just took a hard slap shot at it that went high glove and his finger got caught in his glove during his celebration.

Lucic laughingly agreed that it was an unintentional bird, but said the goal and gesture gave Boston something to rally around when they needed it most.

It was kind of that moment, when he scored that goal, where I felt that it showed our resiliency and our passion, Lucic said. It showed that we weren't going to give up. We knew we had something special here.

The Bs power forward was obviously inspired by his Bruins teammate, and there were plenty of iconic moments that followed for Lucic, Ference and the rest of his Bruins teammates en route to Cup glory.

From the press release regarding Lucic's charity event:

"The second annual Milan Lucic Rock and Jock Softball Game will take place on Wednesday, Aug. 24 at 7 p.m. at LeLacheur Park in Lowell with the athletes (The Jock Team) taking on popular radio and television personalities (The Rock Team). Proceeds from the event will benefit NMTWs Charitable Partners through the Celebrities for Charity Foundation. General admissions tickets are only 10 apiece and are available at www.rockandjocksoftball.org. Tickets are also available for purchase at any NMTW location in Lowell, Haverhill, Danvers and Framingham.

"Additionally one fan will win a charity raffle that will allow the winner to play in the Rock and Jock Softball Game, enjoy photo ops with Lucic and the players and get four VIP tickets to the game. The online raffle is being hosted by Celebrities for Charity Foundations patented technology at www.netraffle.org. Tickets cost just 2 each with a minimum purchase of five tickets and ticket prices are discounted for purchases of ten or more tickets. The raffle is open now and closes on Monday, August 22, 2011 at 10 a.m."

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Czarnik trying not to be 'the forgotten man' in Bruins camp

bruins_austin_czarnik_082716.jpg

Czarnik trying not to be 'the forgotten man' in Bruins camp

BOSTON – With all of the talk about young forward prospects Anders Bjork and Jake DeBrusk, it would seem that Austin Czarnik wants to serve a reminder that he can play a little hockey too.

For the second year in a row, the 24-year-old diminutive forward is putting together a strong start to his training camp with a multi-point performance in a 4-2 exhibition victory over the Detroit Red Wings Tuesday night at TD Garden.

Czarnik finished with a penalty-shot goal, two points and tied for the team-lead with four shots on net while playing with the energy, skating aggressiveness and in-your-face attitude that he’s going to need for NHL success. He also made his point that there are more than just a couple of young forwards in camp who can potentially help in Boston this winter.

“He was very good. I think the forgotten man, maybe, he was thinking [a bit] because we’ve talked about a lot of young guys. He’s still a young guy, and wants to make his mark and push for a job on the team,” coach Bruce Cassidy said of Czarnik, who posted five goals and 13 points in 49 games for the Bruins last season. “I thought he looked real good tonight. He won a lot of pucks. He’s always going to make plays in space, that’s his game. He won a lot of pucks and did a lot of little things well.”

It was Czarnik who really helped put the game away in the second period when he sped past a pair of defenders and forced them into hauling him down for a penalty shot with the B’s already up, 2-0. Czarnik patiently slowed his penalty-shot attempt before ripping one past Petr Mrazek’s glove hand in what ended up being the game-winning goal. Czarnik was in the middle of things again in the third on the insurance marker as he engineered a 3-on-1 rush before expertly feeding to Teddy Purcell for the sizzled one-timer.

Czarnik was downplaying the idea that he’s been overlooked in camp but show there was a strong need to remind the B’s organization how he can potentially help them as a fast, aggressive, pesky little center that can also make some plays.

“I’m not going to worry about [getting overlooked]. It’s part of life, you know it’s happened a lot? I’m not going to worry about that,” said Czarnik, who similarly won a job with the Bruins after a strong initial training camp last season. I’m just going to worry about myself and just try to do the right thing every single time and show them what I can do.

“I need to be an energy guy. There’s a lot of young talent now, you know, on the power play and everything now, so I need to try to create energy on the penalty kill and the fore-check. So that’s what my main focus is going to be.”

The energy really is the key to Czarnik’s long-term hopes with the Bruins and, consequently, the rest of the NHL. If he can play with the same skating legs, high energy and rapid pace that he’s consistently shown in preseasons, then there’s no reason to think he can’t help the Bruins. But there were far too many lulls in Czarnik’s rookie NHL season where the skating game wasn’t good enough, there wasn’t enough bite to his fore-check and there just weren’t enough plays being made on the ice.

Clearly, Czarnik is trying to change that impression in this camp with the B’s, but that could prove to be a much more difficult task with so many more quality forwards now battling for a few jobs on the roster in Boston. 

CSNNE SCHEDULE

Morning Skate: Sorry, Shaughnessy but young B's are on the rise

boston-bruins-charlie-mcavoy-2-90917.jpg

Morning Skate: Sorry, Shaughnessy but young B's are on the rise

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while appreciating that Brad Marchand is willing to say something is “an absolute joke.” There are not enough candid players in the NHL like good, ol' No. 63.

*So FOH (Friend of Haggs) Dan Shaughnessy writes that the Bruins are “a lowly number four nowadays” in the power rankings of the big four Boston sports teams. Certainly, Danny is technically correct in saying that the Patriots, Red Sox and Celtics are ahead of the Bruins in terms of the Boston pro sports zeitgeist and that they dominate the sports conversation.

But Shaughnessy points to the Bruins doing nothing to improve themselves last summer as some kind of reason behind their low position among the other Boston sports franchises, and that’s not really a factor. The problem right now is that the Bruins are extremely young and still a couple of years away from returning to true Stanley Cup contention as a result. 
Once Charlie McAvoy is a few years into his career, some of the other Bruins prospects are in the NHL for good and Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Tuukka Rask are still at the back end of their prime, the Bruins will once again be a Cup contender that’s pushing their way back into the championship conversation that commands the attention of the Boston fan.

Would Shaughnessy have been more satisfied with the Bruins if they spent bad money on a big free-agent contract as they did with Matt Beleskey and David Backes in back-to-back years, or if they traded premium prospect Brandon Carlo for hired gun Matt Duchene? That would be the kind of “big splash” move that a bad management group would make to appease the casual fans that don’t truly understand what the B’s are going with their draft-and-development plan.

This Bruins outfit is still a playoff team while they’re building back to that Cup-worthy level. They were playing a much more exciting, entertaining brand of hockey once Bruce Cassidy replaced Claude Julien last winter. This isn’t a lowly team unworthy of the fans’ attention, or more importantly their sports dollar. This is much more about the all-time greatness of the New England Patriots, the deserved excitement for a Celtics team that is truly going for it after being in the Bruins current “building it back up” phase for the past few years and a playoff-level Red Sox team that really has no competition in the summertime.

This isn’t about what the Bruins aren’t doing right now. This is about what the Patriots and Celtics, and to a lesser degree the Red Sox, are doing right now. It's as simple as that in a local sports landscape that’s cyclical and constantly in motion.  

*What a great Facetime hit here from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Ray Ferraro with Jay and Dan now that they’re thankfully back to their rightful home in Canada. The technical difficulties really make the whole thing come together.  

*Congrats to Jonathan Drouin for making a commitment to the city of Montreal that goes well beyond being a player for the Canadiens.

*Lots of prayers and well-wishes to Hingham, Mass., native and New Jersey Devils forward Brian Boyle after his stunning cancer diagnosis. Anybody that knows the Boyle family knows how courageous they are, and how much love and support that Brian will have at a time when he’s going to need every bit of it. I also included a link to a New York Post Q&A with Boyle where he talks a bit about his father’s miraculous battle with cancer as well.   

 *John Chayka is trying to bring with him a new chapter to the history of the Arizona Coyotes, but it’s seemingly always an uphill battle there.

*Nobody should have any problems with the contract extension handed out to Mikko Koivu by the Minnesota Wild.

*For something completely different: Are we seriously living in a world where the Juggalos are marching for their rights?

CSNNE SCHEDULE