I'll be the first to admit that I am a very poor sport, especially when it comes to losing. I have broken and thrown my share of tennis racquets, cursed people out during a tennis match, and ruined a lot of friendships with tennis players throughout the twenty-something years that I have been playing. The fact that I have found people to deal with my piss-poor attitude on the court for twenty-something years is pretty baffling on its own. I'm not proud of how I've acted in the past, and I can't promise that I'll ever become a great sport and have a positive attitude in the future.
So why am I so furious and disgusted with the way Milan Lucic acted after last night's Game 7 loss to the hated Montreal Canadiens? Because I am nowhere near being a professional, and I expect the pros to act at a much higher standard than normal people like myself do. Lucic should be ashamed of the way he acted after last night's game. Not only did he disrespect the famous hockey tradition of teams putting aside their hatred for each other at the end of a playoff series and lining up to salute and congratulate each other with a handshake, but he disrespected the fans and his teammates who have supported him all season long. We loved (and yes I used the past tense of that word for a reason) Lucic for his aggressive style, his willingness to make the big hit, and the strides he made on offense. Lucic has gone from a fighter to a weapon on the first line of a perennial Stanley Cup contender. Unfortunately, sometimes he reverts back to his thug-like ways, concerning himself more with hitting the opposition than attacking the net and wrecking havoc on the offensive end. Lucic was non-existent during the majority of the Canadiens' series, producing a couple big hits but doing nothing offensively besides miss open nets (like the rest of his teammates).
And while it is understandable that Lucic, and the rest of his teammates, would be frustrated and disappointed at their season ending much earlier than they had anticipated, there is no reason to continue acting like a thug after the game in the handshake line and in the press conference. His teammates were professional enough to swallow their pride and shake the hands of their opponents, putting the on-ice battles aside to demonstrate the sportsmanship expected in hockey's playoffs. Yet Lucic couldn't do the same, resorting to threatening Dale Weise and Alexei Emelin in the handshake line, reportedly telling Weise that he was going to f---ing kill him next year. After finding out that Weise commented on Lucic's conduct after the game, Lucic morphed into a little kid, calling Weise names like "chicken" and "baby".
This new version of Boston's hockey team considered themselves the toughest team in the league, often referring to themselves as "The Big Bad Bruins" and telling opponents and their fans "Don't Poke The Bear". They played the game with an ultra-physical style, utilizing their big bodies to lead the league in hits, turnovers caused, and opponents looking over their shoulders in fear of the contact that was coming. Many fans also considered the Bruins a borderline dirty team, with Montreal fans pointing at the captain Zdeno Chara as prime enemy number one after his (legal) hit on Max Pacioretty into the divider between the two benches a couple years ago as a typical Bruins play. The Bruins fans embraced the physical play, defending the team as aggressive and not dirty, playing right at the line and not crossing it on a regular basis. Shawn Thornton's 15-game suspension for sucker punching Brooks Orpik didn't help the cause, but in general the team wasn't looked at as a dirty club (except in Montreal). Thornton's actions in Game 5, where he squirted P.K. Subban with a water bottle while sitting on the bench at the end of the third period, wasn't dirty but was looked at as classless and disrespectful. Lucic's actions at the end of Game 7 were dirty, classless, and disrespectful. It overshadowed a great performance from the Canadiens, dominating play for the majority of the final two games of the series and earning their spot in the Eastern Conference finals. It made the team look like a bunch of children who would rather disrespect their opponent than give them the praise that they deserved. Instead of doing what every other team and every other player (with a few exceptions) does after a physical and emotional playoff series, Lucic decided to put all the focus on himself and his piss-poor attitude. Acting tough on the ice and acting like a whiny brat off the ice is not a good combination, and it's not one that this Bruins fan is going to support. You can be big and bad without being a brat and a bitch like Lucic was.