Calgary Flames forward Milan Lucic struggled early this season. So much so, that he thought about an early retirement.
After spending his first eight seasons with the Boston Bruins, Lucic since has bounced between three teams in five years, including the Los Angeles Kings and Edmonton Oilers, before ultimately being traded to the Calgary Flames on July 19, 2019. He struggled early with the Flames and shared with Scott Oake and Louie DeBrusk on Hockey Night in Canada’s After Hours that he even considered putting an end to his NHL career.
“I think after about six, seven weeks into the season, I remember the first time we played St. Louis here on a Hockey Night in Canada game, I got benched in the third period and nothing was said to me by anyone and I wasn’t really happy about it,” Lucic said. “I even started questioning whether I should just hang ’em up because it just wasn’t fun for me anymore.”
However, that’s no longer the case. With the help of another ex-Bruin within the Flames organization, Lucic felt the support pick up and he’s been able to turn things around.
“But at the end of the day in saying all that I have to give a lot of credit to Geoff Ward, the other three coaches and all my teammates for sticking with me and keeping me motivated,” he explained. “Especially Gio and Monahan, he two guys that I’ve really been close with since I’ve come here. They’ve kept me going and they’ve managed to pump me up, and I talked about Dube and what it’s meant to play with him and the life he’s given me. So yeah, I’m having fun again, especially playing for Ward. I had so much success with him in Boston for seven years and he’s meant a lot to me this year…”
Both Lucic and Ward, an assistant coach at the time, were in Boston when the Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011 against the Vancouver Canucks. Ward was named the interim head coach of the Flames midway through the 2019-20 season.