By: Andrew Bluestein | Follow Me On Twitter @adbblue
The Bruins made several moves at the start of NHL free agency, but the one that resonated the most with the Boston fans was the signing of an old friend and fan favorite, power forward Milan Lucic. Lucic signed a one-year deal $1 million deal that brought the rough and tough winger back to where he says he has thought about playing ever since he was traded back in 2015.
“Having an opportunity to come back, you can see the smile on my face right now. It feels like I’m going home. I’ve always felt like I’ve always been a Brui,n and I’m just so happy and thankful for the opportunity to be a Bruin again.” Lucic told reporters in his introductory Zoom press conference.
Lucic will undoubtedly receive one of the loudest ovations ever heard on the Boston sports scene when he again takes the ice for the Bruins season opener at TD Garden on Wednesday, October 18th, at 7:30 p.m. against the Chicago Blackhawks. The man known as “Looch” is, without a doubt, one of the best fighters the sport has ever seen, so with him officially back in Boston, let’s look back at his top ten fights in a Bruins uniform.
#10 Vs. Nick Tarnasky
Boston selected Lucic in the second round, 50th overall in the 2006 NHL draft from the Vancouver Giants. He earned a roster spot with Boston as a 19-year-old out of training camp for the 2007-08 season and quickly made a name for himself.
During the Bruin’s home opener on October 18th, 2007, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nick Tranasky, a tough customer in his own right, would become the first player to feel the wrath of Milan Lucic. Wearing number 62 before switching to 17, Lucic landed a few rights on Tranasky before taking him to the ice, making Lucic an instant fan favorite.
#9 Vs. Jared Boll
On December 15th, 2007, Lucic squared off with known Columbus Blue Jackets tough guy Jared Boll, who was third in the league in penalty minutes going into that night. Looking at the rosters before that game, Boll, also a rookie, would have been a worthy opponent to drop the gloves. The two agreed to fisticuffs, and Lucic went into straight attack mode, throwing some heavy rights and eventually getting Boll’s jersey over his head and taking him down hard to the ice.
#8 Vs. Paul Gaustad
This fight may not be remembered necessarily for the fight itself but for what led up to it. On November 12th, 2011, against the Buffalo Sabres, Lucic had a chance for a breakaway but had the puck roll ahead of him when Sabres goalie Ryan Miller came out to play the puck.
Lucic and all his momentum ran straight into Miller, buckling him hard to the ice. The Sabres did not do much to respond to the collision, and known enforcer Paul Gaustad spoke about it postgame, saying, “I’m embarrassed that we didn’t respond the way we should have.” Ryan Miller chimed in, calling Lucic “gutless,” adding a little bit more after that.
Fast forward to November 23rd, 2011, the Bruins would be on the road in Buffalo, where Lucic would hop over the boards after the first whistle, and the boos rained down from the Buffalo crowd. Since the home team gets the last change, then Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff sends out Paul Gausta,d and everyone in the arena knew what would happen. Lucic and Gaustad dropped the gloves, and it didn’t last long as Lucic would land a couple of right hands and then get the takedown.
#7 Vs. David Clarkson
On December 13th, 2007, Lucic would scrap against his first opponent, considered a test in David Clarkson. The young New Jersey Devils winger had a reputation for being a tough guy to play against and had a mean right hand.
Towards the end of the first period, the two dropped the gloves and were tied up momentarily before any punches were thrown. The two heavyweights would then get the speedbags going with a great exchange of heavy rights. But Lucic had the last say in the matter after connecting on one of the most potent right-hand punches in his career, dazing Clarkson.
#6 Vs. Nick Boynton
On November 21st, 2008, Lucic finished his check against Florida Panthers forward Micheal Frolik. Frolik’s teammate and former Bruin defenseman Nick Boynton came to Froliks’s defense, instantly challenging Lucic to drop the mitts, and he obliged.
The two heavyweights went at it, and Boynton would quickly regret his decision as the Bruin’s big power forward landed several right hands and finished things off, connecting with a left-right combination taking down Boyton and leaving him bloodied.
#5 Vs. Keith Aulie
On April 25th, 2013, the Bruins played host to the Tampa Lightning, and it had marked 26 games since Lucic had last dropped the gloves, which was unfortunate for Lightning defenseman Keith Aulie. The scrap occurred in the corner right after Lucic finished his hit on Aulie, who then returned a couple of cross-checks, which agitated the Bruin’s barreling winger. The gloves came off, and Lucic made quick work of Aulie tagging him on the chin with a huge right hand leaving him stunned. Lucic would then land a couple of solid lefts and slam Aulie hard to the ice.
#4 Vs. Jarkko Ruutu
On February 28th, 2008, Lucic tangled with Pittsburg Penguins’ eight-year veteran Jarko Ruutu, a well-respected fighter around the league. This was a classic bout between two guys who knew how to fight and fight well. The two enforcers went at it for 1:45 and somehow kept the stamina to keep trading heavy blows while waiving off the linesman. Lucic landed a couple more damaging punches, but still, a very even hockey fight and one you rarely see the likes of in the game today.
#3 Vs. Jay Harrison
On October 3rd, 2009, the Bruins hosted the Carolina Hurricanes in a matinee with 92 combined penalty minutes featuring multiple scraps. One occurred at the end of the second period when Lucic finished his hit on Hurricanes defenseman Jay Harrison who took exception to the hit and went after Lucic. Harrison soon figured out that would be a mistake after Lucic landed about four right hands that opened up the Hurricanes’ blue liner, splattering blood above his left eye.
#2 Vs. Mark Bell
On November 15th, 2007, Lucic squared off with Toronto Maple Leafs enforcer Mark Bell, a seasoned veteran. Bell was a known fighter around the league and was also the same height and weight as Lucic during this scrap.
Lucic went after Bell because of a hit he disliked put on teammate Jeremy Reich. Bell was on the defense for the whole fight as Lucic tied him up, connecting with some big right hands, including one final one on the nose directly after Bell waived off the linesman.
#1 Vs. Mike Komisarek
On November 13th, 2008, the Bruins played host to their arch-rival Montreal Canadiens in a game that tilted a long dominant run by Montreal leading up to that game in the Bruin’s favor. Boston beat the Canadiens all over the ice that night on the scoreboard and physically. With 12:35 left in the third period and the Bruins leading 5-1, Lucic got tangled up with Montreal defenseman Mike Komisarek and the two had been at each other’s throats the entire game.
Lucic went on full attack mode from the get-go, firing punches at Komisarek, landing a couple, and spinning him to the ice right on the spoked B. Filled with adrenaline, Lucic roared and signaled to the crowd to get on their feet even though they already were and going bonkers. That fight was a large part of putting the Bruins back in favor with the local sports fans.
You would think that Mike Komasarek would have learned his lesson from fighting Lucic once, but he didn’t because, later that same season, in game four of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, Lucic quickly knocked him to the ice after a very brief scrap. Then on March 19th, 2012, when Komisarek was a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs, he thought it would be a good idea to step past the linesman and go after Lucic. Komisarek found out the hard way as Lucic pummeled him for a third time, landing a couple of heavy body shots and several uppercuts.
Although Lucic is now 35, he can still play a physical brand of hockey and drop the gloves if needed. We may not see many fights from him this upcoming season because the game has changed in that aspect since he was last with Boston, but his presence will still bring great energy to the team and the fans every time he steps on the ice.