There was almost too much going on during Tuesday’s morning skate here.
You had a Hall of Famer and Kings legend (Marcel Dionne) in the hallway outside the locker rooms at TD Garden in Boston, trading old stories with Bob Wall, the first captain of the Kings. They were on hand as guests of the Kings, who are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the day Los Angeles was awarded an NHL franchise.
Not much later, the area around the stall of Kings left wing Milan Lucic was so crowded with TV cameras and media that teammate Kyle Clifford found it difficult to get to his own spot. Some of the younger Kings players looked fairly intrigued by the spectacle.
Lucic, who Boston traded to the Kings in June, was returning to play the Bruins for the first time since the deal. Naturally, interest in the power forward, who helped spark Boston to the Stanley Cup in 2011, has been at a high level this week, leading up to Tuesday night's game.
“I had a great time here, a lot of great things happened to me in my personal life and my professional life,” Lucic said Tuesday. “I felt like I’ve been able to express that…. It’s been a nice move, personally and professionally. A lot to be happy [about] and having fun again and all those type of things.”
Lucic said earlier that he wanted to use this opportunity to say goodbye and, thank you, in person, to members of the organization and the coaching staff, including Bruins head Coach Claude Julien.
Julien said he thought Lucic would get a good reception from the crowd.
“He came here as a 19-year-old and was an important part of our hockey club for all the years he was here,” Julien said. “And he’s been a good solider — I use that term a lot — for us.
“He’s been a fun guy to coach. I enjoyed my time with Looch and I’ve gained lot of respect for what he’s had to go through as a young player and the role he’s had to play to adapting between his grit and obviously his performance offensively.”
Kings Coach Darryl Sutter has a deep sentimental side. But he wasn’t inclined to display it on Tuesday, in terms of the Lucic return or the Kings’ anniversary.
“Well, the first 40 weren’t that productive for the organization,” Sutter said. “…I think the last 10 years have been pretty productive for them. Everybody has a 50-year anniversary at some point.”
Meanwhile, Kings forward Tanner Pearson stayed on the ice for extra work, along with center Nick Shore and defenseman Jamie McBain. Sutter confirmed that the struggling Pearson, who has been moved down the lineup, would be sitting out against the Bruins.
This wasn’t a matter of matching the physical nature of the Bruins. Pearson has six goals and 21 points in 51 games and no goals in the past 14 games. He last scored on Dec. 31 at Calgary.
“Tanner is just as heavy as the other guys,” Sutter said. “Hasn’t played well enough to be in the lineup. He’s pretty even with all them young guys.
“…I’m not taking him out because of something he hasn’t done. They’re all on the same plane. Just trying to get Cliffy [Kyle Clifford] back in the lineup, see if Jordan Nolan can do something and want to keep Andy [Andreoff] playing a little bit. Sort of all the same group.”