Jack Edwards Mailbag: Milan Lucic On Top of His Game When Bruising Opponents Is First Priority

Jack Edwards Mailbag: Milan Lucic On Top of His Game When Bruising Opponents Is First PriorityAfter crawling into the All-Star break, the Bruins picked up a big win Wednesday night, pulling off a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over the Ottawa Senators.

NESN's Jack Edwards was on the call for the game, and he also took some time to answer fans' questions about the B's, trade rumors and his most memorable moments as a broadcaster.

Check out the first installment of Edwards' mailbag.

Jack, do the officials make adjustments between the periods like the teams do? Sometimes it seems like they went over to The Fours for a pitcher and wings but every so often you can see changes as the game goes on. Thanks.
–Pete Rollins – Lincolnville, Maine

The refs are constantly communicating with one another during the game and between periods. I have been pretty hard on refs in terms of consistency and performance, but I don't think they tighten or loosen the threshold during games. They make mistakes (uh, so do play-by-play announcers) and occasionally issue make-good calls that can drive us nuts, but I can't remember seeing a pair of refs actually change their interpretations during the course of a game. The hardest adjustment for the players is determining how far the gray area goes from game-to-game. Some refs call it tight, others let 'em play.

Often, in back-to-backers, you'll see what look like wacky calls early in the second game — but it's just a different threshold.

Do you have any idea who's going to be on the market later in the year? Just curious.
–Daniel Mckenna, Plymouth, Mass.

What's better than hockey trade rumors? TSN.ca already has a web page dedicated to just that — I highly recommend it if you have a lot of time on your hands because 98 percent of rumors are just air. We all can speculate on players who might be acquirable. Unless a general manager makes a statement, such as Peter Chiarelli telling the world that Tim Thomas is not on the market or Carolina signing Tim Gleason for four more years at a $4 million cap hit, we just don't know. Tipping one's hand reduces one's leverage unless you're conducting an auction such as the Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes a couple of years ago. So we just have to wait for GMs to put their cards on the table and be vigilant while they consider how to play their hands.

Jack, is Milan Lucic better as a bruiser or a goal scorer?
–Jess, Marblehead

Yes to both. And the two go together. We live in a stats-driven sports world, but hockey lends itself to numbers less than any other sport. Milan Lucic's impact on a game is physical, psychological, intimidating and also shows up on the scoreboard. When he reminds himself to move his feet (as he has told NESN's Naoko Funayama many times), he is an X-factor that opposing teams hate to see swinging his legs over the boards. When he is a bruiser, he also is a scorer. When he tries just to be a scorer, the bruising part of his game often goes away, and the scoring usually drops as well. He thrives on confrontation. Just ask Ryan Miller. On second thought, we already heard from him.

What was your most memorable moment as a broadcaster for the Boston bruins?
–Jessica, Norton

How long have you got? There are thousands of memories that wash over me, and trying to sort out just one might be impossible. But Nathan Horton's Game 7 OT winner against Montreal last spring was right up there. Just about ruptured my throat — and I literally saw stars. My blood pressure must have been ridiculous. What a moment, from 0-2 down in the series to knock off the Habs. To me, it was the closest call of the Cup run. And Montreal hasn't recovered from that moment.

Do you think of your sayings in advance, or are you naturally philosophic that that?
–Anya, Rockport

There's stuff I think about (such as the Game 7 postgame), and there's a lot of stuff that just goes from brain to mouth without the benefit of a filter. Some of it works, some of it doesn't, and when I review our airchecks, I know there are things that I say that don't work. One of the best things about working in my home region is that I hear directly from longtime Bruins fans as well as lifetime friends and neighbors — and you all give me the feedback straight. I also appreciate how forgiving people are when I make a mistake, because we're trying to bring the fastest game to you with all the chaos and excitement that the NHL naturally generates — and for me that means taking chances that perhaps some more conservative broadcasters won't take. 

I will say this: stuff like "down the river" comes from playing shinny on the Oyster River in Durham, N.H. as a kid — and came to me spontaneously during an HDNet game in Columbus in 2004. "Executive desk toy" just popped into my head on some vicious collision that caused both players to bang off one another and fly in opposite directions through mid-air. As for "juicy rebound," I have no idea. All broadcasters borrow and/or steal from one another, and I plead guilty to that. We listen to one another so much during the year (I estimate that I watch at least one period of about 500 games annually) that some phrases probably come in subliminally. But we can promise you this: we're trying to bring the atmosphere, the emotion and the feeling of the game to all of our viewers — not just the players and the score.

Before games, we all think about situations that might arise, and we prepare for them. But to me, it's just about paying really close attention to the action on the ice, relying on my preparation, letting it rip and hoping I still have a career when we sign off the air.

Where does the hats go that get thrown on the ice? Does the player get them?
–John, 45 minutes east of Montreal

The hat trick scorer selects one as a keepsake, and the rest go to a charitable cause for redistribution to people who might not otherwise be able to afford headgear. In the days of the old Boston Garden, the Bruins would hang their hat trick caps from a stuffed bear that adorned one of the building's support columns, right in the middle of the dressing room. The old bear still is with the team, but now is in the players-only lounge adorned with the selected caps. So when you give yours the heave-ho over the glass, you never know: it might live forever in the Bruins locker room.

Have a question for Jack Edwards? Send it to him via Twitter at @NESNJackEdwards or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

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