WILMINGTON, Mass. — With only five NHL fighting majors on his resume before he dropped the gloves with Boston Bruins forward and noted pugilist Milan Lucic last night at TD Banknorth Garden, Tampa Bay defenseman Josef Melichar might be forgiven for not having the fight scouting report fresh in his mind when threw an elbow at the Boston winger.
That might be why Melichar was completely unprepared for Lucic’s left hook and how much it would hurt. Here’s a look at the abridged fight.
Luckily for Melichar (whose career fight card, according to hockeyfights.com, includes an ’01 bout with Zdeno Chara), Lucic knows and adheres to “The Code.” So when Melichar put his head down, it was fight over.
“I kind of got him with the first punch there, so he kind of went down, so there was no reason to hit him,” Lucic said today after the Bruins practiced at Ristuccia Arena. “If anything I probably would’ve hurt my hand on his helmet. So it’s the honorable thing to do, the code of fighting. So I thought that’s where it should’ve ended.”
It was a little tough for Lucic to stop because he was incensed about the elbow. But his job was done and the Bruins continued to take their cue from their physical players for the rest of the night. Since he was dropped down to the fourth line with Stephane Yelle and Shawn Thornton for one game against New Jersey, Lucic has been bumped up to a trio with David Krejci and Michael Ryder — where he’s again plied his trade as a hitter and a grinder. Sometimes when playing with the crafty Marc Savard and some of the Bruins’ fancier wingers, Lucic can get away from playing to his strengths.
“It kind of brings you back down to Earth when he puts you on a line like that — nothing against playing with a guy like Thornty and Yeller. They’re good guys to play with and they’ve been keys to our success all season long, that’s for sure. Going down there, my role doesn’t change. I still try to be that physical presence but it kind of takes away that feeling from me trying to do something too cute or something like that.”