Milan Lucic now knows he’s got to be a bit more careful around the city of Boston.
The B’s power forward and emerging superstar learned as much last month when a heated, alcohol-involved argument between him and girlfriend Brittany Carnegie in their North End neighborhood became fodder for the rumor mill after the Boston Herald’s Inside Track got involved.
The local media's spotlight on the Bruins has become so intensified that Lucic said the team recently had to deny outlandish questions from one media outlet asking if there were strippers involved during the team's bonding trip to Great Diamond Island.
Media are stretching to get a story out of the hot commodity that is the Bruins. That's part of what happened to Lucic in September.
The painting of this summer's incident wasn’t pretty once the Track was in possession of a police report focused on Lucic, though it didn’t specifically contain Lucic’s name or his identity. It served as a valuable lesson for big No. 17 that things have changed slightly in his adopted city.
“The privacy isn’t there like it was when I was a rookie here. That’s the difference,” said Lucic in his first public comments to CSNNE.com about the reported incident. “Even though it was something made out of nothing -- and I still have to put the blame on myself for something even happening like that -- it was eye-opening for myself and I definitely learned a lesson."
The Inside Track reported that Lucic was angered by police and asked them, "Don't you know who I am?"
“I know I have to be smarter," Lucic said. "To everybody, I’m really sorry if I offended anybody for what I did. For them bringing out the 'Don’t you know who I am' thing, if you asked my friends and family I’m the last guy that puts myself on a pedestal and expects special treatment.
“I enjoy hanging out with the regular folk. I don’t put myself on a pedestal and believe that I’m a better person than them just because I play hockey. That’s not what I’m about. I meant in the sense of I’d never be doing what those people are saying because 'Do you know who I am? I have so much to lose.' I’m only four years into my career and it’s still a young career. That’s what I meant by it.”
Lucic was vilified for the comments in the police report and thrown into a negative light for the kind of heated argument that twenty-something couples engage in around the Boston area on a regular basis.
But Lucic is a Stanley Cup champion and 30-goal scorer, and he knows that any anonymity he once had in the city of Boston is now gone. The 23-year-old also takes responsibility for his actions that allowed it to get to the level where police and the media got involved, but it was pretty clear that it was a harmless incident on several levels: There were no charges filed, his girlfriend vehemently came to his defense the next day on Twitter, and the story died down very quickly afterward.
But Lucic has clearly learned his lesson.
“Some things get made out of nothing, but it was eye-opening for me. It’s something you put in the past and move on,” said Lucic. “You take it as a learning experience more than anything at this point.”
It was a lesson that Lucic probably wishes he didn't have to learn, but it was something that every member of the Bruins team should probably pay attention to as the Boston media microscope trains on them for another season.