BOSTON — Milan Lucic’s life changed dramatically this past summer when the Bruins traded him to the Los Angeles Kings on the first day of the 2015 NHL draft, ending the big winger’s eight-year tenure with the team that drafted him.
Lucic has settled in nicely to his new home, however, and as he prepared to play his first game back in Boston on Tuesday night, he had nothing but good things to say about his former club.
“Nothing negative,” Lucic said, addressing the throng of media members assembled around his stall in TD Garden’s visitors locker room. “No hard feelings. Nothing like that. I understood the situation leading into the offseason. Sometimes things don’t last forever, and that was one of the — I was ready and prepared for anything.
“I was ready and prepared to come back (to Boston), and I was ready and prepared if I had to move on. And I think, luckily and thankfully, I moved on to another really good team, another contender. The Kings are a world-class organization, and I’ve had a lot of fun in being a King so far.
“There’s definitely no hard feelings in the trade or anything like that, and there’s no regrets on my part in what I was able to accomplish here. Just only good memories and good thoughts and everything, and I’m pretty fortunate that I got to be a Bruin in probably one of the best times to ever be a Bruin. They’ve only won six Cups in the 92 years they’ve played, so it was a great time for me here. It was a special time for me here, but I’m also real fortunate that I was able to move on to a great team and a great organization like the Kings.”
Lucic is in the midst of a contract year — his first since breaking into the NHL in 2007. It remains to be seen whether he’ll remain in Los Angeles beyond this season or take his talents elsewhere once free agency opens this July.
While a productive 2015-16 campaign likely would result in a more lucrative contract for the 27-year-old, he said he’s trying to focus on wins rather than personal stats — something he admitted he didn’t do enough of during his final season in Boston.
“I think I focused on it a little too much, especially in the first half of (last) season,” Lucic said. “Just the goals and the assists and the individual stuff. And sometimes when other things come up like a contract, it’s hard to ignore those type of things or focus on those type of things, and that’s why I think when I stopped focusing on that and just worried about the things that mattered, like winning hockey games, everything else kind of just fell into place. So, I try to take that same mentality into this year.”
So far, it’s working out well for him. Lucic has 12 goals and 18 assists for the Pacific Division-leading Kings and has played in 50 of the team’s 51 games entering Tuesday night’s matchup with the Bruins.
Thumbnail photo via Perry Nelson/USA TODAY Sports Images
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