Milan Lucic Pens Love Letter to Boston on Players’ Tribune

No. 17 faces his former team tonight.

Boston will always occupy a special place in Milan Lucic’s heart. The 27 year old Vancouver native made his NHL debut in black and gold in 2007. Four years later, he hoisted the Stanley Cup after defeating his hometown Canucks, ending Boston’s 39-year title drought.

But in the years that followed, Lucic’s hard-hitting, hot-headed act had grown stale. Shortly before the 2015 NHL Draft, freshman general manager Don Sweeney dealt Lucic to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a third-rounder, goaltender Martin Jones, and defensemen prospect Colin Miller.

Ahead of Tuesday night’s Kings-Bruins matchup at TD Garden, Lucic penned a love letter on the Players’ Tribune titled “To Boston.” He recounts his early days with the team, when the Bruins were Boston’s fourth team: the Red Sox had won another World Series in 2007, the Celtics won in 2008, and the Patriots had just come up short against David Tyree and the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII.

“We were saved by the $10 Student Section,” Lucic wrote. “Those rowdy kids in Section 308 showed up every Tuesday night and went nuts. Props to Section 308. But by the end of that season, we were packing the place again. You could feel something special coming together.”

He befriended team enforcer Shawn Thornton and Bruins legend Johnny Bucyk, and resolved to bring the rough-and-tumble brand of Big Bad Bruins hockey back into fashion. He laments missing the 2010 Winter Classic at Fenway Park due to injury, and claims the Bruins’ epic collapse against the Philadelphia Flyers that season was essential to the following year’s championship run. But most important was Thanksgiving at Thornton’s place in Charlestown.

“Or I could think about the goofy memories, like going over to Thorny’s house every Thanksgiving with all the single guys and the European guys and the guys without families, and celebrating like Real Americans with turkey and wine and football. Even when I had my own family, I couldn’t break the tradition. We had to go to Thorny’s,” he wrote.

Lucic was heartbroken upon first hearing trade chatter that he’d be moved to L.A. “I tried to carry on with my day like nothing was happening. I finished my workout, but the whole time, I’m picturing myself in a Black and Silver jersey. I’m picturing moving my family across the country. It was a lot to take in,” he wrote.

Heading into tonight’s tilt, the Kings lead the Pacific Division, while the B’s have struggled this season to find their groove.

“Coming back to the Garden for the first time this week, I’ll be battling the butterflies, for sure,” Lucic wrote. “Who knows, maybe I’ll just go out there and drop the mitts just to get the blood flowing. For old time’s sake.”