Photo credit:Charles Krupa/AP
NHL Notebook: Bruins’ Milan Lucic takes leave of absence following arrest, alleged domestic incident; Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour make return to Panthers
3 months ago
The Boston Bruins have announced that forward Milan Lucic will take an indefinite leave of absence from the team following an alleged domestic incident leading to his arrest.
The organization released the news in a statement reported by Boston Herald scribe Steve Conroy on Twitter, acknowledging the seriousness of the matter. They noted they would work closely with the Lucic family to provide support or assistance but would not further comment.
Lucic was reportedly arrested on Saturday morning, but the specifics of the incident were not immediately clear.
Bruins captain Brad Marchand addressed the situation ahead of Saturday night’s matchup against the Montreal Canadiens but did not have any details regarding the incident.
“The biggest thing for us is we care a lot about their family,” Marchand said. “We’re a family in here. We’re all very, very close, so we’re also very concerned, you know, and upset for them and what they’re going through.
“We have a lot of support for Brittany [Lucic’s wife], the kids, and Lucic himself. Because of that respect for them, you know, that’s going to be it for now.”
The forward started the 2023-24 campaign with two assists in four games before suffering a lower-body injury after a shot struck him in the ankle against the Los Angeles Kings on October 21st. Just days before the calendar flipped to November, the Bruins announced that Lucic had been placed on the long-term injured reserve. Last week, head coach Jim Montgomery noted that the forwards’ recovery was going slower than planned.
The 35-year-old forward was originally the Bruins 50th overall selection in the 2006 NHL draft. He remained with the organization for eight years, winning one Stanley Cup with the club in 2010-11 before being traded to the LA Kings in 2014-15. He eventually made his way to Alberta, signing with the Edmonton Oilers as a free agent in the summer of 2016. Three years later, he was traded across the province to join the Calgary Flames for the 2019-20 season, until this past summer when he signed with the Bruins.
Panthers Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour return to lineup
There was not one, but two familiar faces back on the ice on Friday night for the Florida Panthers after the organization activated Brandon Montour and Aaron Ekblad off the injured reserve.
The Panthers had an extra defensive boost on Friday night against the Anaheim Ducks, with Montour and Ekblad making their season debuts following shoulder surgery. After the Panthers Stanley Cup Final run in 2022-23, both players underwent separate surgeries.
Neither skipped a beat despite being sidelined for the club’s first 16 games of the campaign, coming back to help the franchise collect their 1,000th win in a 2-1 victory on Friday night.
“It was tough, it was a long road,” expressed Ekblad after the game. “It’s very sweet to get back into the lineup. It leaves a good taste in your mouth when you get a win especially when you come back.”
Montour took two shot attempts in the first period, which Frank Vatrano and Alex Killorn ultimately blocked. Meanwhile, Ekblad came out beaming confidently, taking three shots on Anaheim netminder John Gibson.
The pair upheld their performances as the night unfolded and were paired on the second power-play unit. Ekbland tied for the team lead for shots on net at four, while Montour finished with two shots on net and a plus-one rating.
Both blueliners collected over 20 minutes of ice time, with Montour leading the team with 24:02. It’s evident that the pairs’ performances on Friday are just the beginning. Panthers head coach Paul Maurice noted that both players “will just keep getting better.”
Ekblad was the Panthers’ first overall selection in the 2014 NHL draft but has endured a handful of adversity in the form of injury. His debut marks his 10th season in Florida threads with 111 goals and 329 points across 626 games.
Montour was drafted the same year as Ekblad as the 55th overall selection by the Ducks. He joined the team in 2016 but was traded 62 games into the 2018-19 campaign to the Buffalo Sabres. He arrived in Florida during the 2020-21 season in a trade, sending a third-round pick to Buffalo in 2021. Since joining the team, the 29-year-old has scored 29 goals and 114 points across 174 games in a Panthers jersey.
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