Milan Lucic will take the Bell Centre ice Thursday night, and while he won’t do so in a Boston Bruins uniform, it’s unlikely he’ll be getting any sort of warm reception.
The former Bruins power forward was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in the offseason, which means he’s no longer part of the historic Bruins-Montreal Canadiens rivalry. And while Lucic now wears a crown instead of a spoked-B, it’s a little unrealistic to think the feelings Lucic has for the Canadiens — and vice versa — have changed much at all.
Lucic drew a large crowd of reporters Thursday morning, when he was asked if sees the Canadiens any differently now that he’s not looking through black-and-gold-colored glasses. His response was predictable.
“I’m actually really interested to see what it’s going to be like and feel like because every time you would come into the Bell Centre with Boston there was always a special excitement and feeling, the fans were a little bit rowdier than usual,” Lucic also told reporters, per NHL.com. “So I’m interested to see what it’s going to feel like here with another team. But there’s some history here with the Kings and the Canadiens from back in (in the 1993 Stanley Cup Final), so maybe there’s some excitement from back then.”
If there’s not any 22-year-old excitement left over, it probably won’t take Lucic very long to create some. At the very least, the fans’ reception toward Lucic — heavy boos are probably in the forecast — should make for more of the same for No. 17.
Off the ice, Kings teammate Drew Doughty explained, might be a little different, though.
“Walking around town with (Lucic), everyone recognizes him,” Doughty told reporters, according to NHL.com.”I think most of them don’t like him, but when they see him in person they’re always happy to get a picture with him. He’s a legend here. And rightfully so.”
Jordan Nolan added:
Here’s one of many examples of Lucic’s beef with the Canadiens from his time with the Bruins.
Oh, and this, too.
Thumbnail photo via Eric Bolte/USA TODAY Sports Images