Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Get is Straight. Milan Lucic is Not an Enforcer.

It's a bit young to be defining or characterizing a 20 year old second year NHL forward.

That said, I am going to tell you what Milan Lucic is not.

Milan Lucic, the Boston Bruins "excitable" 6'4", 230 lb second year forward is not an NHL enforcer.

Photo by Stuart Cahill

Lucic took the NHL by storm last year, not with his smooth skating skills or wicked wrist shot, but by crashing and banging and fighting his way to earning a blue collar reputation and space on the ice. Lucic racked up an impressive 13 fights last year, winning or drawing in all but one (John Erskine of the Capitals left him with a broken nose). The brawler took on all comers including genuin heavyweights in Raitis Ivanans and Wade Brookbank.

Fast-forward to 2008-09... Milan Lucic... 18 games... 1 fight (a one-sided beatdown of Mike Komisarek).

So what gives?

Did Lucic use fighting to make a name for himself and got a bit tired of proving his toughness? Nah. He still runs around and hits like a train.

Is Lucic spotpicking his opponents as some in the hockey fight community have insinuated because he turned down dance invitations from super-heavyweights Steve MacIntyre and Georges Laraque (youtube from last year)? Doubtful. 99% of NHL players would turn down those two guys.

Is Lucic fighting less because Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton publicly said that it is his job to fight the heavyweights and not Lucic's? Now we're getting closer. I don't think Lucic would not fight a heavy if the situation called for it.

Or has Lucic been handcuffed and told to focus more on developing his game by Bruins coaches and management. Note the lack of a question mark.

18 games in to this season and Lucic has racked up a little less (11 points) than half the points he put up all of last year... good for fourth on the Bruins in scoring. He is on pace to score 50 points in only his second season. Even more impressive, he is on pace to be a +32 this year... not bad for a kid that was getting mop up fourth line duty in his rookie year.

So why would anyone in their right mind question why a kid that is well on track to becoming (not yet!) a very good power forward in this league is not fighting as much as he did in his rookie year?

The answer is simple... Milan Lucic is not, was not, nor will he ever be an enforcer in the NHL. That would be an absolute waste of talent.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

He's an enforcer... But the best enforcer there is. Just like Mr. Hockey was the best enforcer in his days.