By Amanda DiPaolo
The Boston Bruins are the only team in the NHL that the Nashville Predators have never completed a transaction with since the Expansion Draft in 1998. But that doesn’t mean the teams don’t have any connections.
Take for example Milan Lucic, the Bruins leading goal scorer. The Vancouver native’s 53 points going into Saturday night’s tilt against Toronto is a season career-high. Lucic played junior hockey with Cody Franson and Jon Blum for the Vancouver Giants, winning a Memorial Cup together in 2007.
Lucic says he has a lot of good memories and good times shared with Franson and Blum, which makes playing against them at the NHL level “pretty cool.”
“They are both, as I remember them, useful on the power play, puck moving guys,” Lucic said of how he remembers Franson and Blum as players, adding “obviously Franson is a bigger guy, 6’4 or something like that. I remember Blummer as a 16 year old, coming to camp, 6 foot, 155 pound guy. He’s really grown as a player. They are both guys that could make plays and are good defensively.”
Blum wasn’t the only player on the 2007 Giants team that matured and grew as a player.
Lucic himself wasn’t drafted into the Western Hockey League and was forced to play junior B hockey when he was 17 years old. The Giants, his hometown team, finally gave him a shot, but he recorded only 9 goals in his rookie season.
Lucic was characterized as an enforcer, not a goal scorer and the Bruins drafted him 50th overall in the 2006 Entry Draft.
For Lucic, winning the Memorial Cup brought the teammates closer together. “I think they’ll tell you the same thing, the bond that we had was real close. When you win championships together it brings the guys a lot closer together, you create that special bond because of that.”
Winning a Memorial Cup is something they will likely never forget, but it isn’t the only thing that brings junior hockey players together. The Culture created back in junior, the lifestyle that we lead and the teaching we had made us better pros to make it at this level and succeed at this level,” Lucic explained.
Lucic, 6’4,and 220 pound played two full seasons with the Giants from 2005-07. The left winger did, however, play one game during the 2004-05 season. His first full year in junior saw Lucic score 9 goals, adding 10 assists for 19 points in 62 games. During his final year in junior Lucic scored 30 goals and added 38 assists for 68 points in 70 games.
Nashville was able to contain Lucic on Thursday night on their way to a 4-3 overtime win. And it was a good thing, too, because Boston is 21-2-0 when the power forward who was invited to Team Canada’s Olympic Camp in August 2009, registers a goal.
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