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Lucic, Rabbit Give Memorial Cup a B's Flair

Tuesday, 05.29.2007 / 12:53 PM / Bish's Blog
By John Bishop  - BostonBruins.com
John Bishop is the beat writer for BostonBruins.com. He covers the Black & Gold hoping to offer a positive look at the team, not only from the stands and the press box, but also from inside the locker room. A graduate of Boston U. and Northeastern, 'Bish' grew up in Connecticut and moved to the Hub of Hockey in 1993. Since then he has made all four rinks at the Beanpot schools, as well as both Gardens, his icebound homes away from home. Prior to joining the TD Banknorth Garden staff in 2005, Bishop had written for several publications, with his primary focus being college hockey. He coauthored the book Bygone Boston in 2003 and hopes someday to pen a bio of Hobey Baker.
Quite a few of you have pointed out that I have been remiss in not mentioning that the Vancouver Giants, and B's prospects Milan Lucic and Wacey Rabbit, won junior hockey's Memorial Cup over the weekend.

I would say that I was more 'missing' than 'remiss' as I was spending the weekend with my family -- and for the first times since last September I did not boot up the computer all weekend!

However, I hope that you, like I, had a terrific holiday and are ready to get back to work.

For starters, here is a portion of a news article about the Giants from the Canadian Press:

The air in the Vancouver Giants' dressing room thickened with celebratory cigar smoke, while Michal Repik earned a pie in the face for scoring the winning goal in the Memorial Cup on Sunday.

The host Giants captured their first Canadian Hockey League championship in their short six-year history with a 3-1 win over the Medicine Hat Tigers in the final.

Repik, an 18-year-old Czech, scored a wrap-around goal on a beleaguered goaltender Matt Keetley at 15:05 of the third period for the winner at a standing-room-only Pacific Coliseum..."It was like a huge weight was lifted off our shoulders," Giants forward Milan Lucic said. "We did a great job getting to Keetley getting pucks to the net.

"He still played a great game, but it got to the point where we had to do it. It was our time to win this."

Lucic, a second-round draft pick of the Boston Bruins, was named the tournament's most valuable player. The power forward from Vancouver had two goals and five assists in five games..."There's not many times you lose a championship and get a chance to win a Memorial Cup," Giants coach Don Hay said. "We didn't want that to slip by."

The CP also had a piece on Lucic, a portion of which follows:

The cheering sounded a little bit louder for Milan Lucic and the champagne tasted that little bit sweeter.

Lucic, who was born and raised in Vancouver, was living the dream Sunday when he was named the most valuable player of the Memorial Cup after the hometown Giants defeated the Medicine Hat Tigers 3-1 to win the Canadian Hockey League championship.

"It's the greatest feeling ever winning the trophy in front of a home crowd," Lucic shouted over the deafening noise inside the Pacific Coliseum. "You couldn't ask for a better tournament."

Lucic hoisted the MVP trophy over his head when it was presented to him, then wrapped a Giants flag around his shoulders. He joined his teammates in parading the Memorial Cup around the ice in front of a screaming, sold out crowd of 16,281…The six-foot-three, 220-pound forward set the tone for the game early in the first period. He was a one-man wrecking crew when he knocked the helmet off Medicine Hat's Matt Lowry with a big hit, followed that up with another bone-crunching check on Trevor Glass and then dropped the gloves and fought Tigers' enforcer Josh Bendfeld, all on the same shift.

"I knew I had to step up and pick up the tempo," said Lucic, 18, a second-round draft pick of the NHL Boston Bruins. "That means being physical and taking the puck to the net."
 
Teammate Kenndal McArdle said Lucic deserved to be MVP.

"There's something to be said for a guy who will drop the gloves, who will score, who will do all the little things in a game," said McArdle. "He's really a leader of our team."

Lucic finished the Memorial Cup tied for the tournament scoring lead with seven points from two goals and five assists.

Coach Dan Hay said Lucic (right) might not be fancy, but he gets the job done.
 
"He just goes out and works as hard as he can," said Hay. "He's a big physical guy and he's hard to handle."

Pat Quinn, the former Toronto Maple Leaf and Vancouver Canucks head coach who is part owner of the Giants, said Lucic reminds him of former Bruin Cam Neely.
 
"You can tell he had a little bit of courage," said Quinn. "Over the years we've seen him turn himself into a terrific hockey player.

"He made a difference all night long. He has been improving his entire junior career."

Lucic scored 30 goals and had a team-leading 68 points in 70 games for the Giants this season. He also led the team with 13 power-play goals.

He was named the Giants' season MVP plus took the team's humanitarian award for his services in the community…

Earlier in the week, the CP's Donna Spencer penned a piece about Mr. Rabbit:

Wacey Rabbit sees a gamut of reactions when he introduces himself.

"There's been lots of grins every time I say my name," the Vancouver Giants centre said Monday. "You always get the raised eyebrows or the little grins. It's fun and I enjoy that." Rabbit said his parents Marvin and Marlene didn't envision their son's name polled on television and the internet as a candidate for one of the most colourful in sports.

Rabbit's family was into rodeo in a big way and Wacey Colemen Rabbit (right) was named after Wacey Cathey, a world champion bull rider, and Mel Coleman, a legendary saddle bronc rider…The Boston Bruins' prospect is fast, smart and tenacious and has flair both around the net and in the faceoff circle. He's a wily penalty-killer and led the Western Hockey League in short-handed goals last season.

The 20-year-old from the Blood Reserve near Lethbridge, Alta., is a key cog in the Giants' wheel...He centres Vancouver's top line between wingers Milan Lucic and Michal Repik.

The Giants acquired Rabbit's rights from the Saskatoon Blades at the January trade deadline when the Bruins decided to return Rabbit to the WHL...He had 11 goals and 25 assists in 30 regular-season games for the Giants. "It took a good month for him to get back into where I think he felt comfortable on the ice and once he got comfortable, he could do more things," Vancouver Giants head coach Don Hay said. "He felt he could contribute a lot more and then he became more vocal.

"We thought once that confidence came back to him, then that leadership would come back and he's been just outstanding inside our dressing room."

Not a bad way to start the short week, True Believers. Keep it here as we follow the NHL happenings between now and the draft.

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  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
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5 TOR 22 11 8 3 70 67 25
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2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
P. Bergeron 23 5 11 -2 16
C. Soderberg 23 5 10 2 15
D. Hamilton 23 4 8 2 12
L. Eriksson 23 3 9 5 12
B. Marchand 20 5 6 4 11
M. Lucic 23 4 7 3 11
R. Smith 23 4 6 -1 10
D. Krejci 11 3 7 4 10
C. Kelly 21 2 6 4 8
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