Bruins look for more from winger Lucic

If the NHL were college, Milan Lucic would be a senior.

So just like a student on the brink of graduation, more will be

expected from the Boston Bruins winger in this, his fourth year in

the league. It’s also the first of a three-year deal worth a

reported $4.083 million per season. He signed the contract last

spring.

”I feel like I have the ability to help contribute to this team

a little bit more,” Lucic said on Tuesday after practice at TD

Garden. ”I still, in my three years, haven’t been able to hit the

20-goal mark and I feel like that’s a realistic goal for me this

year and that’s a personal goal that I should be able to meet. In

saying that, I shouldn’t just be thinking that way. If I just start

thinking goal, goal, goal and just getting points, that’s when my

play kind of starts to suffer.

”I think if I’m just moving my feet and playing physical,

everything else tends to fall into place. I think after playing

now, going into my fourth year, what I want to do is try to be the

best player on the ice on a more consistent level. I think that’s a

challenge for myself and that’s what I’m looking forward to doing

this year.”

Lucic entered the league as a 19-year-old in 2007, scoring eight

goals. He increased that total to 17 his second year, but dropped

off to nine last season. The major obstacle for Lucic in 2009-10

was the injury bug, which limited him to just 50 games. A broken

finger kept him out of 13 games in the fall, and he suffered a high

ankle sprain Nov. 25 and didn’t return until Jan. 7.

While he played well in spurts, Lucic acknowledged in the spring

that he had a tough time learning how much he could push himself

when he wasn’t 100 percent. He felt limited in what he could do.

After four days of on-ice workouts this training camp, Lucic said

he’s feeling better every day.

”I don’t have to tape it anymore, which is a good sign,” he

said of his ankle. ”I’m not going to lie. I did not like taping it

one bit. That was probably the hardest thing to adjust to when I

first came back, was the tape. And you’re going to have the

restricted movement because you’re locked into that one position.

So, like I said, at the end of last year, I felt like I was playing

real well in the Philadelphia series and I was skating real well.

In that series, I was moving my feet and I was skating real well

and I think that’s why I was able to produce offensively.”

Lucic was solid in the playoffs with five goals and four assists

in 13 games. Coach Claude Julien is looking for that to carry

over.

”I think it definitely slowed him down. I think anyone who has

been injured twice, with not minor but major injuries, certainly it

takes its toll,” said Julien, whose team lost in the second round

to Philadelphia, despite winning the series’ first three games.

”So it was a tough year for him. We acknowledge that. At the same

time, it’s kind of an opportunity to redeem himself and bounce back

with a good year here. Getting off to a good start is important. I

think he trained hard this summer to get into shape, and if he’s

scoring goals, that’s a good sign.”

The Bruins open their preseason schedule Wednesday in Montreal

and continue Thursday in Rochester, N.Y., against Florida. Lucic

figures to get into one of those two games.