Bruins

Haggerty: Lucic trade rumors literally make zero sense

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Haggerty: Lucic trade rumors literally make zero sense

While its always difficult to guarantee 100-percent truth from any statement made by an NHL general manager while wheeling and dealing is going on in the summertime, theres always some worth in taking words at face value.

So what to make of an ESPNBoston.com report that both David Krejci and Milan Lucic arent being made available by the Bruins via trade talks despite Boston kicking the tires on a potential Bobby Ryan deal?

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli has been 100-percent consistent in summer statements that hes not disbanding the current team and his desire is to keep the current nucleus of Bruins players together.

That could change if the right deal came along, of course, and this humble hockey writer isnt 100-percent convinced that weve heard the last about rumors involving Krejci.

But one player that absolutely 100-percent wont be dealt is Bs power forward Milan Lucic and with good reason.

Actually, there are many reasons given that Lucic has averaged 28 goals scored and 128 penalty minutes over the last two years.
Theres been a surprising sentiment in some corners of Boston that Lucic has been on a downward trend over the last few seasons, and perhaps the Bruins would be correct in dealing the 24-year-old hulking forward away.

There are accusations perhaps he is moving away from his games bread and butter as the leagues foremost battering ram. Some think hes moved away from the intimidating and bruising game that allowed Lucic to storm on the NHL scene five years ago as a 19-year-old rookie.

But much of that couldnt be further from the hockey truth.

While its true Lucic has struggled mightily in the playoffs over the last two seasons with only five goals and 15 points in 32 postseason games, thats no reason to give up on a player just entering his prime.

Lucic had arguably his best and most consistent season with the Bruins last year while avoiding the prolonged slumps and bouts of invisibility that have plagued his still-developing game in the past.

Lucic had the second-most registered hits (201) of his career last season and the most since his breakout second NHL season in 2008-09. Above and beyond that he scares the bejesus out of his opponents: the prototypical power forward was voted by his fellow NHL peers as the toughest player in the NHL last season.

He also ostensibly wrecked the Buffalo Sabres entire season with his own brand of nasty when he trucked goalie Ryan Miller during a game in November. Lucic is perhaps the biggest factor in the Northeast Division muscling up program thats taking place this offseason in Buffalo and Montreal.

So Bostons opponents are specifically game-planning against a player thats lost his hockey bloodlust overt he last two years?

Not likely.

Lucic also had nine fights last year with assorted NHL tough customers like Brandon Prust and Matt Carkner on top of the customary crushing body checks in the corner. His demolition job on Prust in front of both benches at Madison Square Garden was perhaps the perfect Exhibit A of what Lucic consistently brings to the table as expectations seem to be rising to ridiculous proportions for No. 17.
That physicality literally changes games and alters the way defenseman tiptoe into the corner to retrieve pucks with the 6-foot-3, 230-pound Lucic bearing down on them.

But its not just anecdotal when it comes to Lucic.

Through the 2011-12 NHL season only Lucic, Scott Hartnell, Wayne Simmonds, Corey Perry, and David Clarkson both scored more than 25 goals and racked up more than 100 penalty minutes in the ultimate show of snarling might and offensive magic.

Lucic, Hartnell and Perry are the only players to reach that rarified level over each of the last two seasons, and consistently bring that rare powerskill combination to the fore.

If that doesnt illustrate the rare skill set Lucic brings to the table then its likely that nothing ever will.

Especially for those that are so hung up on some lackluster playoff games over the last two years that theyre ready to discard a dominant player the other 29 NHL teams would literally salivate over if placed on the trade market.

Morning Skate: Robust trade market for D-men

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Morning Skate: Robust trade market for D-men

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while prepping for Claude Bowl II.

*It’s going to be a robust trade market for defensemen with names such as Jack Johnson, Dion Phaneuf and Oliver Ekman-Larsson highlighting the group that’s available. Paul Martin will be in that select company if he clears through waivers and perhaps Niklas Hjalmarsson will as well with many teams holding D-men they’re willing to part with.

*The Buffalo Sabres apparently want four assets in any deal for rental Evander Kane that includes a draft pick, a prospect and an NHL roster player, and it’s hard to believe anybody is going to do that for a perennial underachiever who's never even scored 60 points in a season before.

*A tough end to the Andrew Cogliano iron-man streak as he’s been suspended for a couple of games after an incident last weekend.

*Brent Burns is the envy of many blueliners around the league because of his hard, accurate shot, which isn’t scoring him as many goals this season

*Year-round Las Vegas resident Deryk Engelland has been rewarded for being a member of the Golden Knights with a one-year contract extension.

*It sounds like the Philadelphia Flyers have got Shayne Gostisbehere thinking more about defense after some up-and-down moments last season in his sophomore effort.

*For something completely different: A profile on a UFC champion and a firefighter all at the same time. Sounds like an interesting dude.


NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Acciari misses Bruins practice with upper-body injury

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Acciari misses Bruins practice with upper-body injury

BRIGHTON, Mass – Noel Acciari was in and out of the Bruins lineup in the Monday afternoon loss to the Dallas Stars with an upper-body injury and the fourth-line grinder was missing from the practice ice on Tuesday as well. 

Acciari has been able to stay healthy the past few months while helping to establish Boston’s fourth line and has added to his hard-hitting style of play with six goals in 28 games this season.

But there's been a litany of injuries the past few seasons given the physical pounding the 5-foot-10, 208-pounder takes given his rugged style of play. This current injury limited him to just 6:05 of ice time in an overtime loss to the Stars. Still, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy was optimistic that Acciari would be able to suit up against the Canadiens on Wednesday night in Claude Julien’s return to TD Garden.

“Jake DeBrusk was under the weather and so was Kevan Miller, so they stayed home,” said Cassidy of Acciari, who has missed 14 games this season mainly due to a broken finger suffered blocking a shot on opening night. “Noel Acciari has a bit of an upper-body injury and it affected his minutes [Monday vs. Dallas]. He’s kind of day-to-day. I suspect that he would play tomorrow, but we’ll have a better idea on [Wednesday] morning.”

Both DeBrusk and Miller are expected to be fine to play against the Habs in their rematch from last weekend this time on Boston's home ice. Here are the line combos and D-pairings for the players that were on the ice for Tuesday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena:

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

Krejci-Spooner

Heinen-Nash-Backes

Schaller-Kuraly-Vatrano

 

Chara-McAvoy

Krug-Carlo

Grzelcyk-Miller

Postma-McQuaid

 

Rask

Khudobin

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE