Lucic takes issue with being called 'cattle'

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Lucic takes issue with being called 'cattle'

FRAMINGHAM This might not exactly be a news flash, but NHL players apparently arent wild about being branded as cattle by NHL executives. That goes double during a time of labor strife.

In an interview with Island Sports News, Detroit Red Wings senior vice-president Jimmy Devellano made the following comments that earned him a 250,000 fine from the NHL.

I will tell you this: The owners can basically be viewed as the Ranch, and the players, and me included, are the cattle, Devellano said. The owners own the Ranch and allow the players to eat there. That's the way its always been and that's the way it will be forever. And the owners simply aren't going to let a union push them around. It's not going to happen."

The cattle comment begs the question as to when the last time anybody saw 20,000 excited people show up at a farm to watch a bunch of cows graze, but we digress.

Milan Lucic was polite, but rightfully put off, when he heard Devellano had singled him out, saying the he should be grateful hes making 6 million a year on his new contract. The Bs power forward, of course, agreed to a three-year, 18 million contract in the hours leading up to the Sept. 15 lockout date, and that clearly struck a chord with the well-respected Wings exec.

Devellano pointed to Lucic as the perfect example of an NHL player that should roll over and let the owners dictate whatever terms they like in CBA negotiations out of sheer appreciation for their contracts.

Yes, the owners are billionaires. Good on them, they deserve it, but they also make their employees millionaires. Not a bad trade off for a guy like Lucic getting what, 6 million dollars a year? said Devellano. I mean good on him too, but he should be grateful. Understand though that these players want for nothing . . . it's first class this, first class that, meal allowances, travel money on the road, the whole shebang. Offer sheets don't hurt the players one bit."

CSNNE.com caught up with Lucic on Monday morning making a visit to the Mary E. Stapleton Elementary School in Framingham for a question and answer session with the students sponsored by NMTW Community Credit Union. The Bs power forward had heard about Devellanos comments, and still couldnt quite understand why he had been singled out in a wide-ranging conversation with the candid Devellano.

"I guess I must be Grade A prime beef. I think were pretty good cattle if youre looking at it that way," Lucic said with a laugh. You definitely as a person dont like to be called cattle. Youd think people would treat you better than as just an animal. Obviously hes got his name on the Cup a lot of times. Im not going to say anything to disrespect him. But he said what he said and I kind of laughed at it. It is what it is.

He singled me out and I dont know where or why he even singled me out. For me from an athletes perspective you look at Devellano and what hes done in his hockey career, and respect what hes done for the game.

There were some eyebrows raised at the 6 million per year price tag on Lucics contract, and perhaps thats why Devellano went there with him. But Lucic is one of only three players that have accumulated 25 goals and 100 PIMs over each of the last two years, and hes still yet to hit his hockey prime at 24 years old.

After the school visit this morning Lucic was headed off to lunch with Celebrities for Charity Exec Cleon Daskalakis before an afternoon school visit in Lowell.

No word on if Lucic was going to skip eating a hamburger to retain solidarity with the rest of the cattle.

Bruce Cassidy: Bruins 'have got to have a stronger mental capacity' in times of adversity

Bruce Cassidy: Bruins 'have got to have a stronger mental capacity' in times of adversity

BOSTON – While there were some warning signs over the last few weeks that the Bruins might be getting away from their game, it didn’t really hit home until Thursday night’s frustrating loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

The Bruins blew through three different one-goal leads in the second period in the 6-3 loss to the Bolts at TD Garden, and each time surrendered a tying goal to Tampa in less than two minutes after initially scoring. It was a clear indicator that the Bruins weren’t fully focused on the task at hand despite having already lost three games in a row, and that their ability to bounce back from adversity is going away from them again. 

That much was obvious when the bottom dropped out in the third period, and Jonathan Drouin and Nikita Kucherov turned into a two-man Lightning wrecking crew outscoring the Bruins by a 3-0 margin in the final 20 minutes. 

“I think the frustration is more in-game, where we’ve got to have a stronger mental capacity to handle those [challenging] situations in-game. Let’s face it, when you get on a bit of a losing streak, all those things creep in, whether it’s in October or whether it’s in March,” said Bruce Cassidy. “You have doubts, you start pressing, and again, it’s my job to alleviate the kind of attention in those situations.

“But, as I told you, we all have to be accountable and be responsible for ourselves, and that’s where we just need to have better focus and better discipline in those areas. It was there when it was 3-3 [on the scoreboard]. We’ve got to push back after they score, and that’s where I thought we started to come apart a little bit where we should’ve stuck together and stuck with the program. [We needed to] get ourselves slowly back into the game. We had 10 minutes to even the score, and we weren’t able to do it.”

Clearly this wasn’t just the coach alone in his pointed observations, however, as the lack of focus showed unfortunately in a rudderless second period for the Black and Gold where they couldn’t gain any separation from Tampa Bay despite scoring three goals. 

“[It’s] not being focused, not being sharp, and obviously at this time of the year it’s unacceptable, and it’s up on us to be better,” said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. “Those kinds of situations shouldn’t happen. So, for sure, we need to address those things and hold each other accountable.”

One thing is clear: The Bruins have a lot of work to do if they hope to avoid the same kind of late season tailspin that doomed them each of the last two seasons, and already seems to be happening over their last four losses to varying levels of hockey talent. 

Talking points: Tuukka Rask wasn't good enough vs. Lightning

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Talking points: Tuukka Rask wasn't good enough vs. Lightning

Here are the talking points from the Boston Bruins' 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.