( Photo Credit: Joel Auerbach / Getty Images )

By: Kevin Perry | Follow Me on Twitter @Kevperry_

It comes as no surprise to anyone that Milan Lucic is excited about his return to the Boston Bruins. The 35-year-old winger acknowledges that he is on the back nine of his career but still believes he can contribute.  

“I wanted to have an opportunity to play and have a role. I’m not asking for 15-plus minutes a night, but If I’m given the opportunity, I’d love to” Lucic was on spoke with former NHL enforcer John Scott on the Dropping The Gloves podcast and how his free-agent process went and how the Boston Bruins courted him.

Right out of the gate, Scott was curious about how many teams gave Lucic a call, jokingly saying, “Was it ten, fifteen teams that gave you a call?”

“Yeah, it was that many, like you said. Honestly, now that my cap hit is back down, that’s why I think there was a lot of interest… Chicago was the first one of the first teams, if not the first team, to reach out.” He also believed his decision to play in the world championships this past spring led to teams showing interest. 

“Teams saw I still had a love for the game because I went to the world championships. Ultimately I think it got me another deal.” Lucic had two goals and two assists while helping Team Canada to their 28th gold medal in the tournament, the most in IIHF history.

Lucic on His Conversation With Don Sweeney About Returning

The conversation then shifted to the Boston Bruins. Lucic talked about his first interaction with General Manager Don Sweeney and how they caught up for about half an hour. The conversation then diverted to whether Lucic was interested in returning to the Bruins, which Lucic was excited about.

Lucic said he had a quick response. “Yes, of course. I’ve literally been thinking about it for the last five years how great it would be to go back… they still have a foundation there that they’re a really good team, so you know, that was something that I wanted to be a part of was a good team and then to be able to go back to the Bruins you know I mean to have that opportunity is like a dream come true.”

Lucic’s Opportunity to Play For The Bruins in Front of His Children

Lucic’s excitement when talking about the Bruins was paramount when watching how engaged he was in his answers. They were genuine and somewhat emotional.

“You know, one of the things that I said it’s selfishly, like my kids don’t know me as a Boston Bruin. My daughter was two years old when I traded my oldest daughter, who’s ten now. My youngest daughter literally was born a month before I got traded, and you know my son, he’s only five years old, so he, you know, I don’t think he knows much other than me as a Calgary Flame. So like I said, my kids don’t know me as a Boston Bruin. That’s kind of what everyone else knows me as.”

Lucic See Changes But Similarities to His First Stint In Boston

Lucic’s desire to be a part of the Boston culture seemed just as important as his decision to play for the Bruins again. Although it may seem nostalgic for him, he came to Boston as a 19-year-old and got traded when he was 27, so he spent many of his formative years here. It makes sense why he would want to return to where he grew up as a young adult, but not all things are the same as when Lucic left, and he knows that.

“You know because things change, it’s a new practice rink, the garden looks different, it’s a completely different coaching staff.” Although he knows things are different, he can see how things could be the same from the first time around.

“We had an epic collapse in 2010, and we won it all in 2011, so you know they just had a collapse in 2023, so who’s to say the same script cant be written again.”

What Lucic Looks Forward to The Most

John Scott then asked what Lucic has missed most about Boston and how excited Lucic is for opening night against the Chicago Blackhawks, the team most interested in signing the veteran winger. 

“I didn’t realize how much I became a Bostonian. I think I became one with the people, and I wanted to have that connection again. Opening night will prob be one of the games I’ve been most excited for in my career.”

Scott was thrown back a bit because Lucic has played so many meaningful games in his career and asked what is so special about that game. “Because it’s Boston, because it’s the fans, because it’s the Garden, because it’s an original six team because I get to wear the jersey again and represent the Bruins.”

 “Hypothetically, Connor Bedard has the puck, and you have him on the trolley tracks. Are you hitting him?” Scott asked with a bit of a laugh, and Lucic quickly answered. “Yeah, you’ve got to run him over, of course.” 

Unsurprisingly, Lucic’s return to the Bruins was met with question marks by fans and media. There is some nostalgia from Lucic and the Bruins organization and their fans, but Lucic knows his role here will be different from the first time around. He had his best years in Boston, so Lucic’s excitement about returning may spark some rejuvenation, and he can return to his former self.