Milan Lucic did not help his reputation at all last night. He managed to take one of the NHL’s greatest traditions and make it completely about his inability to accept losing. The Boston Bruins have a reputation for being a team made up of talent and grit, the perfect storm in the NHL. But last night, and throughout the series with the Montreal Canadiens, Boston showed its true colors.
Leading the way to the land of sore losers was Lucic. During the post-series handshake, Lucic decided to give threats instead of congratulations. From what I’ve read the comment was something to the effect of “I’m going to ******* kill you next year.” The main target of Lucic’s latest blast was Dale Weise. I’m sure some people are going to blame Andrei Markov, as he reportedly told Lucic to look the Canadiens players in the eyes during the lineup.
It doesn’t matter what Markov said, and if he did tell Lucic to look his teammates in the eyes, good for him. I’m not a fan of the Canadiens or the Bruins, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying the games. What does stop me from enjoying the games, and makes me question the tradition of the handshake, is garbage like what happened last night.
Instead of the NHL getting positive publicity for a great hard-fought series, it will get another black eye from a sucker punch by one of its own. If looked at in a twisted light, Lucic did something that was going to happen soon or later. The game has changed from gentlemen playing for a city to a game of money-hungry men looking to get revenge for losing a game. No, not every NHL player is like this; it’s really the opposite. But, like most things negative, they get the most attention, and Lucic is a big negative.
What will happen if Lucic takes a run at Weise next season? This stunt could have big ramifications throughout the NHL and NHLPA. It’s one thing to have rivalries, but if the players are unable to control their emotions, maybe the players need some educating.
This league and this great game needs someone to step up and defend it, because left to the players, the evil empire will reduce the game to rubble.