For those still bitter that Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli didn’t make a giant splash at the trade deadline, take heart.
Three weeks after that deadline, the Bruins have added Tomas Holmstrom.
While they didn’t steal away the five-time 20-goal-or-more scorer from Detroit, they did empower Milan Lucic over the weekend to do his best Holmstrom impersonation over the weekend in their 5-0 win over Calgary. With the success Boston had with the man advantage – three extra-attacker goals – the Bruins should keep Lucic as part of their power-play package tonight against Buffalo and however long the 2009-10 season lasts.
Lucic was mixing it up in front of the Calgary net Saturday on two of Boston’s goals. Those were his orders from the coaching staff and he followed them to a tee.
“It’s a little bit easy for me because my job is simple, right? I just come up the wall there on the breakout and just kind of create havoc in front of the net and create a screen,” Lucic said. “So with goalies nowadays, as good as they are, I mean, (Monday) with how good Miller is, you’ve got to try to create screens, create traffic and try and make it hard on the goalie. It’s nice having ‘Rex’ around because until I started watching him, I didn’t really know how to screen, I didn’t really know the perfection of screening. So it’s good watching him and the way he did it to kind of help me out.”
Yes, Bruins winger Mark Recchi has built a Hall-of-Fame career around carving out a portion of the area around the crease to be his own personal “Rec Room.” The Bruins, who re-signed Lucic to a three-year contract extension that begins in the fall, need Lucic to put his flag down and make the area at the top of the crease into “Lucic’s Lounge.” Recchi’s influence should help Lucic out.
“I guess if you’re screening a goalie, you’ve got to kind of think like a goalie,” Lucic said of Recchi’s advice.
While blocking sightlines is Lucic’s main assignment on the power play, there’s a little bit more to it.
“And also winning puck battles. Obviously when there’s loose pucks in the zone, you kind of want to get in there and win some puck battles and what not,” he said. “It sounds simple, it is simple. My job is basically to go out there, create a screen, win puck battles and just try to help out the power play as much as possible.”
Holmstrom has been a force for Detroit for 13 seasons and shows little sign of slowing down. In Chicago, Dustin Byfuglien has taken a similar power-play role for one of the league’s premier teams. If Lucic can thrive in the role, he’ll be that more valuable to the Bruins for years to come.
“Hopefully,” he said, “time will well.”