February 8, 2011

Lucic, B's all-too familiar with overcoming adversity

by Jesse Connolly

Bruins winger Milan Lucic. (Getty)

WILMINGTON -- If facing adversity makes a team stronger, the Boston Bruins must be a pretty hardened bunch by now.

 Their latest hurdle will be overcoming the loss of Marc Savard, as the B's center was shut down for the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs after suffering his second concussion in less than a calendar year.

 "Ever since I've been here, and the year before, he's been a big part of this team," said Milan Lucic, who spent a good chunk of his time in the NHL on Savard's wing. "He's obviously a good guy that knows how to produce and has shown that he can produce. That's definitely what we're going to miss the most."

 But Lucic and the Bruins know, while Savard's absence certainly hurts, that they've proven capable of winning without No. 91 in the lineup.

 "We've played a lot of games without him and we've been able to do well," Lucic said. "It's definitely going to be a challenge. It should motivate some guys to take more of a role and to step up their game. That's what we need from everyone. Every night that we play we're going to need all 20 guys. If you look at our past wins, every guy was doing their part and contributing."

 This certainly isn't the first time the B's have had to overcome the loss of a key cog up front.

 "We've dealt with adversity before," Lucic said. "In 2007-08, 'Bergy' (Patrice Bergeron) went down for the season. Last year I was out, 'Savvy' (Savard) and 'Stu' (Mark Stuart) were out. Every year guys go down; it's just the nature of the game. It's an opportunity for guys to go out, play their game and just bring it every night."

 Nevertheless, the relentless string of challenges has been hard. Lucic, however, believes conquering them can truly fortify a team.

 "It seems like we always have to deal with some adversity here," he said. "It's going through things like this and the speed-bumps and all the adversity you have to face that make you stronger as a team. If you're able to overcome that, that's what will help you get stronger as a team and to reach your goal."

 The Bruins have quite the daunting schedule over the next few days, as they'll welcome the Canadiens and Red Wings to town before heading to Detroit to complete a home-and-home series.

 "It's definitely a tough week," Lucic said. "We've gotta be excited going into these next three games. It's gonna be a big challenge. Montreal, they've always been a tough team for us to play against. Detroit is Detroit. They're the same way every game, and you know they're going to play hard and bring their work ethic. We've got to focus on the task at hand."