BOSTON (CBS) – You don’t need any more proof of Bruins forward Milan Lucic’s dedication to his sport and his team than his response to a question comparing the emotions surrounding the birth of his first child this week and his scoring the Bruins’ first goal Saturday night at TD Garden.
The score put the Bruins on the board first at 14:14 of the first period en route to a 3-1 opening-night win over the New York Rangers. Lucic’s daughter Valentina was born Thursday morning. After the game, Lucic pretty much put both events on even footing.
“I’d have to say today just because there’s so much emotions personally coming back and with everything that went on with the CBA and the season finally starting and the whirlwind from Wednesday night to now. That’s the first thing I thought of when I scored the goal was her,” Lucic said. “That was definitely emotional. I’m sure you could see on my face how happy I was when I scored the goal.”
Although he wasn’t able to get the puck before it was shot into the stands, Lucic dedicated the goal to his new daughter. So far, the change in his personal life hasn’t adversely affected his on-ice life. After he was given the day off from the team Thursday, he skated Friday. After a brief visit with mother and child Friday afternoon, Lucic returned to the solitary confines of his home and he said he was in bed by 10 p.m. to rest up for opening night.
Then he unleashed all his aggressions on the Rangers. In addition to the goal, Lucic fired two other shots on net, he was credited with four hits and picked up a boarding penalty for nailing Carl Hagelin into the side boards. Lucic also took an early shower because he was charged with a misconduct for chirping the Rangers’ bench with a little less than six minutes remaining in the game.
There was no word if the Rangers were taunting Lucic for the questionable conditioning that some media types were criticizing prior to the start of official training camp. But Lucic says the doubters are off base and he feels great.
“It is what it is. I don’t want to make too big of a deal about it,” Lucic said about the criticism. “I’m just going to go out there and play my game. I mean, you guys get to watch from upstairs and you guys get to make your own judgments and opinions about it.”
“To be perfectly honest,” he continued, “this was the best I felt all week. I was a little worried at the start of the week, especially in that Monday practice that we had here. I go back to that Tuesday game, and just getting the kinks out of knowing where you are on the ice again. I remember I tripped on the boards a couple times. It’s just one of those things. As the week went on, it got better.”
Matt Kalman covers the Bruins for CBSBoston.com and also contributes coverage to NHL.com and several other media outlets. Follow him on twitter @TheBruinsBlog.