Lucic helps Bruins make it tough on Vancouver

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Lucic helps Bruins make it tough on Vancouver

By DannyPicard
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; a:link, span.MsoHyperlink color: blue; text-decoration: underline; a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed color: purple; text-decoration: underline; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; From the day general manager Peter Chiarelli came to Boston,he wanted the Bruins to be a team that was tough to play against.

Fortunately for Chiarelli, the Bruins have a player that fits that mold perfectly: Milan Lucic.And when the Bruins needed to be at their toughest, Lucic showed up with hisbest game of the series.

The big power forward finished Wednesday nights 4-0 winover the Vancouver Canucks with an assist on the fourth and final goal, and he wasa plus-two while recording four hits and a team-high five shots on goal.

His Game 4 performance doesnt stick out on the final scoresheet, but his explosiveness all over the ice was an indication that the real Lucic, who everyone in Boston knows and loves, showed up on Wednesday night.

Physicality is part of the game especially in theplayoffs, play physical and theres a lot of battles, said Bruins captainZdeno Chara after the win. So you got to make sure that you do whatever youcan to win more than lose some.

Lucic won many battles in Game 4, and not just the physicalones. The top-line winger showed off his one-on-one skill set in the openingminutes of the third period, which led to Bostons fourth goal of the night.

David Krejci chipped a pass out of Bostons zone to Lucic,who skated hard down the right wing. As Vancouver defenseman Kevin Bieksastepped up at the Canucks blue line and tried to put a hip check on Lucic, theBruins forward faked going wide and put the puck around Bieksa with one handon his stick, while jumping around him on the inside.

Lucic had enough speed to make Bieksa look like a turnstyle,and he came in towards the net down the right side with Peverley being chasedgoing hard to the left post. Lucic put a pass across the slot to Peverley, butRoberto Luongo poke-checked it up and off Ryan Keslers shoulder. The puck thencame down and hit Peverleys skate and went in.

I just tried to get to the net as fast as I could, saidPeverley. I didnt even really see the puck. It just hit off me and went inthe net. It was just one of those lucky goals. I was just trying to drive tothe net.

It was Peverleys second goal of the night, as he replacedthe injured Nathan Horton on the Bruins top line with Lucic and Krejci.

Lucic was on the ice for both of Peverley's goals. His presenceon Wednesday night was more than noticeable. Still, it wont be whats talked about on Thursday, mainly because Lucic isn't easy to find on Game4s final score sheet.

Peverley was wearing the player of the game jacket. Ryderhad a goal of his own. And Marchand continues to be a pest that produces, as he did with his eighth goal of the postseason on Wednesday night.

But with Lucic, his postseason hasnt been the same as his30-goal regular season. Hes been in the headlines, but mainly becausesome thought he was playing injured. Injured or not, it was clear Lucic's play hasn't been up to par.

Except for Wednesday night. He was finishing checks, winningbattles, and making skilled plays.

Well, when hes skating, hes a great player, saidPeverley after the win. I think hes a great player no matter what, but whenhes on his game, hes usually skating and hitting, and playing physical. Andhe did a great job of that tonight.

He made the Bruins tough to play against.

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

Bruins may be getting cold feet on Trouba offer sheet

Bruins may be getting cold feet on Trouba offer sheet

The Bruins are still mulling the idea of a massive offer sheet for Winnipeg Jets restricted free agent defenseman Jacob Trouba, but they’re having second, and third thoughts about the bold move according to a league source.

While a seven year, $49 million offer sheet could net them the 22-year-old Trouba with a high ceiling as a possible No. 1 defenseman, there would also be massive costs in assets, and in the kind of major stink it would cause around the league. The Bruins would have a manageable $7 million cap hit for Trouba if they did indeed fire off seven year, $49 million offer sheet to the 6-foot-3, 210-pounder on Friday morning, and they would potentially fill in a big piece of their blue line puzzle for years to come.

But the Black and Gold would also surrender four first round picks given that they don’t have the draft picks to offer anything less than a contract with an AAV (Average Annual Value) of $9.3 million after shortsighted trades sent their 2017 second round pick (for Lee Stempniak) and 2017 third round pick (for Zac Rinaldo) to other teams. Wrinkles within the offer sheet language in the CBA would turn a seven year, $49 million contract into a $9.8 AAV for draft pick compensation purposes, but that doesn’t make it any easier for the Black and Gold.

Perhaps the one thing Bruins GM Don Sweeney didn’t anticipate, however, is the bad blood that poaching an RFA would create across a league where all 30 GMs apparently play by the unwritten NHL Commandment that “thou dost not offer sheet to anybody.”

If the Bruins indeed followed through with the massive offer sheet for a player that finished with six goals and 21 points last season, then the Bruins would live in fear that it could be open season on their own restricted free agents for the foreseeable future. There’s little doubt Winnipeg, and perhaps others, would come sniffing around 20-year-old right wing David Pastrnak when his contract is up next summer, and so on down the line with Boston’s next wave of talented young players coming through the pipeline.

There’s also the simple fact that opinions are very mixed on the ultimate NHL ceiling for Trouba given the possible investment involved. One Western Conference scout thought he was on track to become a No. 1 defenseman, and could be worth all of the assets involved in preparing an offer for a player like Trouba.

“He has elite skating, and has the shot to go with it. He’s built for the new age of mobile defenders that dominate through the neutral zone,” said the scout. “[The physicality] is there, but guys don’t punish anymore because you can push and pin. They defend with their sticks and feet. Upon zone entry is when they lay the body, and he checks all those boxes.”

One other NHL executive wasn’t so sure, and harbored some doubts about whether Trouba could be “The Man” for a blueline crew that had Stanley Cup aspirations.

“The physical tools alone allow him to be big minute guy, but his overall hockey sense could prevent him from being a top D-man,” said the exec.

That seems to be the knock on Trouba: he turns the puck over under pressure, and his decision-making while moving the puck hasn’t really improved from a rookie year as a 19-year-old where he posted 10 goals and 29 points. But the tools, the impressive body of work since entering the NHL as a teenager and the cachet of being a lottery pick keep all NHL observers ever-optimistic that a young player like Trouba will eventually figure it out.

There’s also the very real scenario that the Bruins don’t have the trade assets to get a young defenseman like Trouba given that the Edmonton Oilers had to surrender Taylor Hall in a one-for-one deal to get Adam Larsson from the New Jersey Devils. They have to hope they can build up some kind of trade package that could net them Kevin Shattenkirk or Cam Fowler, or hope that Jason Demers somehow picks Boston as his free agent destination.

That’s barring the offer sheet from the Bruins for Trouba, which is still being discussed by the Bruins even as it becomes less of a possibility for Don Sweeney heading into the July 1 opening of the free agent market. That’s because throwing an offer sheet at Trouba might be the only way the Bruins can land a young, potential No. 1 defenseman this summer that can give them the building block to compete for the next decade, and that’s something for Sweeney, Neely and everybody else on Causeway Street to seriously debate over the next two days.