Lucic clarifies anti-Vancouver remarks, says he’s ‘proud to be from there’

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In the wake of poutine-gate (trademarked it, sorry), Milan Lucic’s had some time to think — and he’s decided to re-embrace the city of Vancouver.

Here’s his official statement, from the Bruins’ website:

This has been a very difficult week for me given the recent events that took place in my hometown of Vancouver. As I have had more time to think I want to make it clear that regardless of what has happened, I am still — and always will be — proud to be from there.

It is home.

While the actions of a few individuals have deeply upset me and will impact the time I spend downtown going forward, I will not let those incidents diminish the love and pride I have for the city as a whole. This will be my final comment on this subject.

Lucic denounced Vancouver this week after video footage surfaced of him in an verbal and physical altercation outside of a restaurant — Mean Poutine, which features a dish named after Lucic — following Boston’s 6-2 loss to the Canucks on Saturday. Lucic claimed he was the “victim of an attack” and suggested he would be exploring his legal options.

“I have no reason left to defend my city and the people in my city,” Lucic said, as per the Vancouver Sun. “I’m disgusted and outraged that it had to come to something like that.

“So, as far as that goes, other than being at Rogers Arena, no one will ever see me in downtown Vancouver ever again … I’ve been downtown Vancouver 50, 60 times and I’ve never even come close to an altercation. But this one obviously ended in one.”

This wasn’t the first time Lucic had issues with Vancouver. In February 2012, his hometown church was vandalized with “Go Canucks” tags and, during the ’11 Cup Final, there were reports of people harassing his grandparents in Rogers Arena.

“That’s one of the worst parts. It’s in my hometown,” Lucic told the Sun. “Going back to the spray painting of the church and my grandparents and parents and family getting harassed during the final against the Canucks in 2011, it’s escalated to a point where I get attacked for just minding my own business.”

Penguins’ Guentzel makes ‘kick save’ to stop Capitals

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It doesn’t get much better than a player making the type of save you’d only expect from a goalie. OK, how about this: when it happens amid the high stakes of the Stanley Cup Playoffs?

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jake Guentzel had already been distinguishing himself with a red-hot scoring start to the postseason, but he made a big difference in a way that won’t show up in the box score (aside from maybe as a blocked shot) for Game 1 against the Washington Capitals.

In one of the few golden opportunities in a notably tight first period, Guentzel made a “kick save” to keep it 0-0. He also managed to avoid giving the Capitals a penalty shot in the process, so this was quite the effort from the impressive rookie.

Video will be added soon. Here’s the moment in GIF form first:

Lundqvist snubs Sens with 21 saves in first (Video)

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You know how goalies claim they prefer to be busy rather than risking rust in seldom seeing shots? If that’s true, Henrik Lundqvist was really, really happy in the first period.

The Ottawa Senators generated chance after chance in a busy opening frame of Game 1, generating a 21-12 shot differential against the New York Rangers. The game remains 0-0 in large part because Lundqvist has carried over his momentum from the Montreal Canadiens series so far.

As you can see from the video above, Lundqvist made some absolutely fantastic saves, especially in somehow stopping Mark Stone.

In a duller game, 21 shots on goal could a team’s entire output.

That’s impressive stuff from what appears to be a “vintage” Lundqvist. We’ll see how much more the Rangers lean on him as this one goes along.

Oh, and here’s a GIF of the best stop of the bunch, because seriously.

Kunitz is in for Penguins vs. Capitals in Game 1

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The Pittsburgh Penguins get a familiar face back in the lineup, as Chris Kunitz is good to go against the Washington Capitals in Game 1.

The 37-year-old has been sidelined since March 31, ending his regular season with just an assist in his final nine games. His last goal came on Feb. 16.

So, in other words … he’s not quite as big of a deal for this series as he had been in the past.

He’ll draw into a solid fourth line with Matt Cullen and Tom Kuhnackl, while Carter Rowney will be a healthy scratch. Check out the Penguins’ line combos heading into Thursday’s showdown:

Foligno, Getzlaf, Giordano vie for Messier Leadership Award

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The NHL announced the three finalists for the Mark Messier Leadership Award: Nick Foligno (Columbus Blue Jackets), Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks) and Mark Giordano (Calgary Flames).

In case you’re curious about the process, the league explains how it works (and how the buck stops with Messier):

Mark Messier solicits suggestions from club and League personnel as well as NHL fans to compile a list of potential candidates for the award. However, the selection of the three finalists and ultimate winner is Messier’s alone. 

So, yes, it might come down to steeliness/60.

Anyway, the most fun part of this award is that Getzlaf and Giordano just engaged in a first-round series, with Getzlaf’s hit on Giordano (see above) being one of the standout moments.

Perhaps Giordano will at least get the best of Getzlaf in this one?