BOSTON (CBS) – With the hockey season in sight, Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Friday morning, sending any rumors that he may be out of shape after a four-month lockout right into the boards.
“I haven’t gotten fat, I know that much,” Lucic chuckled. “I will say, after not playing a game since the end of April it’s tough to be in peak game shape in January like you’re used to.”
The Bruins had a dozen players head overseas during the lockout, while others remained home participating in organized skates. Lucic didn’t think the lockout would last as long as it did, which is why he decided not to play in Europe. When a tentative agreement was announced last weekend, most of the players were already back, and the informal practices have seen more and more Bruins in attendance.
Lucic said all of his teammates look to be in good shape and ready to get going.
“Surprisingly everyone looked good. Everyone took care of themselves as much as they could during the lockout,” he said. “We had 12 guys play overseas so that helps from a team standpoint of guys staying in shape.”
That includes Lucic’s line mate Nathan Horton, who hasn’t played in a game in nearly a year after suffering two concussions in a seven-month span last January.
“He’s doing great. He looked good out there,” Lucic said of Horton. “We had a little scrimmage to end (Thursday’s practice), and on our side there was only five forwards. We were huffing and puffing, but he looked good. He looks to be back on track; he’s in really good shape and I’m excited to get back out there and play with him.”
The NHL players are voting on the new CBA Friday and Saturday, and if approved training camp will get underway Sunday. The Bruins would reportedly start their season next Saturday at home against the New York Rangers, kicking off a shortened 48-game season.
With just over half a season, Lucic knows the Bruins will have to get off to a hot start.
“It emphasizes wins and losses. I’m not going to say it’s like a football season, because it’s not just 16 games, but you appreciate that more with less games,” he said. “We can’t afford to have the same start we did last year and play catch-up, because there isn’t as much time to make up the ground.”
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