Calgary Flames forward Milan Lucic joined Scott Oake and Louie DeBrusk on After Hours on Saturday night following the Flames’ loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. Reflecting on his time with the Flames thus far, Lucic revealed that some early struggles led him to consider hanging up his skates early in the season.
Here’s the full comment from Lucic, reflecting on his season thus far in the context of James Neal’s strong offensive start with Edmonton:
I think after about six, seven weeks into the season, I remember the first time we played St. Louis here on a Hockey Night in Canada game, I got benched in the third period and nothing was said to me by anyone and I wasn’t really happy it. And I even started questioning whether I should just hang ’em up because it just wasn’t fun for me anymore. And it had nothing to do with James Neal having success, I just think for myself it was just really hard especially when you’re getting benched and nobody is saying anything to you and that all that type of stuff. But at the end of the day in saying all that I have to give a lot of credit to Geoff Ward, the other three coaches and all my teammates for sticking with me and keeping me motivated. Especially Gio and Monahan, two guys that I’ve really been close with since I’ve come here. They’ve kept me going and they’ve managed to pump me up, and I talked about Dubes and what it’s meant to play with him and the life he’s given me. So yeah, I’m having fun again, especially playing for Wardo. I had so much success with him in Boston for six, seven years. He’s meant a lot to me this year. Same with Brad. He’s kept me going and kept me motivated. That’s why I’m doing everything I can to make this trade work. Not just for the team, but for the city and the fans as well.
The Hockey Night in Canada game in question was a 3-2 overtime loss on Nov. 9 in Calgary. Lucic had two shifts early in the third period and then was benched. Even in that game Lucic didn’t have a well-defined role, as he bounced around on every forward line before then-coach Bill Peters parked him on the bench for the third period.
Dillon Dube (“Dubes”) was recalled when Sam Bennett was injured on Nov. 17 and placed with Lucic and Derek Ryan. Since then the trio has been the Flames’ most consistently-used line and arguably their best on a game to game basis.
|Milan Lucic||Dillon Dube||Derek Ryan|
|Before Dube recall||20 GP, 0 G, 3 P, -6||n/a (in Stockton)||22 GP, 3 G, 9 P, +5|
|After Dube recall||38 GP, 6 G, 14 P, +4||35 GP, 5 G, 15 P, +5||37 GP, 7 G, 19 P, +4|
Lucic repeatedly praised his linemates in the interview, noting how playing with Dube and Ryan reinvigorated him.
The Flames are back in action on Monday afternoon when they host the Anaheim Ducks.