Luckily, the motion picture industry was able to provide the Canadian-born 22-year-old with some background on those events long before he arrived at the USA Rink at the Whiteface Lake Placid Olympic Center today.
“The movie was film in Vancouver, in the Agrodome, where I actually started playing hockey. You come and see this and it’s actually two similar rinks,” said Lucic after Boston’s lineup regulars took the day off from skating. “It’s cool to come see this. Obviously, they were big-time underdogs and they were able to win the Olympic gold and it’s cool to see what it was like last year in Vancouver and the difference between the two cities. It’s definitely cool to see both ends of it.”
There are a number of reasons the Bruins decided to travel two hours south from Montreal for the two days between Game 3 and 4 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with the Canadiens.
“With a couple of days off, the schedule allowed us to come here. For our guys, it’s a great place to be,” said head coach Claude Julien. “It’s nice, quiet and there’s great history here. I think there’s a great opportunity for us to get a quality practice in, and also get our rest. So there’s a lot of good things about being here.”
After reporting to the rink for some meetings and workouts, most of the players planned to have lunch in town and check out the quaint downtown area. As the Bruins’ only American regular and an ex-U.S. Olympian, Tim Thomas drew a lot of attention today. But those born north of the U.S. also have an appreciation for what coach Herb Brooks’ squad of college kids accomplished 31 years ago.
“I’ve seen the movies and I understand what happened here. It’s exciting to be here where it actually happened,” said forward Nathan Horton, who was five years from birth back then.
Julien is one of the few Bruins with the ability to recall the “Miracle.” And without getting too sappy, he obviously is hoping some of that courage and determination the Olympians showed in ’80 will resonate with his current group of players as they try to overcome a 2-1 series deficit.
“I’m still pretty proud of what they accomplished, ‘said Julien. “We were just talking about that with some of the trainers on the way down. I said I know that as a Canadian, you hear the Americans talk a lot about the “Miracle on Ice.” And I’m one of those guys that believes rightfully so. When you’ve got a bunch of college kids do what they accomplished, you can talk about it as long as they want. It was quite a feat.
“I was obviously watching that game as well and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It’s a great inspirational story and sometimes you hope that you can look back at those things and build on it and believe in what you can accomplish.”
By winning Game 3 in Montreal Monday, the Bruins don’t need something as large as a miracle to help them in their current series. That doesn’t mean it couldn’t hurt to take inspiration from a “Miracle” team.