When a team wins a Stanley Cup, it’s typically pretty hard for that team to fire up the intensity right off the bat the following season. But when a team loses in the Stanley Cup Final and has a shortened summer without the glory of winning a championship, it can be even more difficult.
The Bruins learned that first lesson two years ago, when they began the 2011-12 season with a 3-7-3 record before shaping up in November. They hope to use that first-hand knowledge to avoid struggling in the latter scenario this year.
“I think this time around, we know what to expect and we know that we can’t take camp and the start of the season lightly at all, and also we can’t use that Stanley Cup hangover as an excuse, because once it starts, it starts,” Milan Lucic said on Toucher & Rich on Thursday. “You have to be ready to go, no matter if you finished later or earlier. We still have a lot of guys that were around from two years ago, and I think we kind of know what to expect heading into this year with such a late finish.”
Lucic, who is hosting a Rock & Jock Celebrity Softball game Thursday night at LeLacheur Park in Lowell, also talked about the difficulty in losing teammates Nathan Horton and Andrew Ference to free agency, as well as Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley to trade.
“I played six years with Andrew Ference and we sat beside each other on the plane and we talked a lot about things, whatever it may be,” Lucic said. “It’s just how it is. And also with Peverly and Seguin gone, it’s four guys that I got along with and four guys that I saw a lot, in the dressing room and off the ice. It was a little weird, but it was nice to see the fresh faces in the dressing room as well. It just kind of freshens things up, and that’s what I think adds a little bit of excitement heading into the year.”
One of those new faces is Jarome Iginla, who chose last season to go to the Penguins instead of the Bruins before the trade deadline. From the outside, it seemed a bit odd for the Bruins to sign the future Hall of Famer, given his recent history, and Lucic himself said it was a little strange.
“It kind of made me laugh when I first saw that we had picked him up,” Lucic said, “but I think everyone in the room is definitely excited to have him.”
Lucic, who attended Canada’s Olympic orientation camp last week and might have a chance to play for his country at the upcoming Olympic Games in Russia, said he and his Olympic-hopeful teammates have to focus on their work in Boston over the Olympics.
“It’s just up to us to be professionals and keep ourselves fresh,” Lucic said. “We all know that right now the most important thing is being ready to be our best for the Boston Bruins and not for the Olympic Games.”