BOSTON -- Milan Lucic is taking an indefinite leave of absence from the Boston Bruins following an incident in Boston on Friday.
“The Boston Bruins are aware of the situation involving Milan Lucic Friday evening. Milan is taking an indefinite leave of absence from the team,” the Bruins said in a statement Saturday. “The organization takes these matters very seriously, and we will work with the Lucic family to provide any support and assistance they may need. We will have no further comment at this time.”
The 35-year-old forward has been on long-term injured reserve since Oct. 28 with an ankle injury. Coach Jim Montgomery had said Monday that his recovery was going slower than anticipated. Lucic last played Oct. 21.
“We’re aware of the ‘Looch’ situation,” Montgomery said Saturday. “As an organization it’s something we take extremely seriously. Looch is taking a leave of absence from the team right now. We support the Lucic family and we will continue to provide support and help for the Lucic family. Out of respect for their privacy, that’s all I’m going to comment on the details right now.”
Montgomery said he had not spoken to Lucic since the incident. Brad Marchand, the Bruins captain and a longtime teammate of Lucic, said he also has not spoken to Lucic.
“We’re obviously aware of what happened last night with Looch,” Marchand said. “The biggest thing for us, we care a lot about their family. We’re a family in here. We’re all very, very close. So, we’re obviously very concerned and upset for them and what they’re going through, but we have a lot of support for (his wife) Brittany and the kids and for Looch himself.
“Because of that, out of respect for them, that’s going to be it for now. We don’t really have any details. We don’t really know a whole lot of what’s happened, what’s gone on, so it’s very hard to comment on much of it. But obviously I’ve known Looch for a long time, he’s a very good friend and it’s tough to see your teammates and your friends going through stuff like this, and their families. So definitely worried about Britt and the kids and Looch himself, but they have all the support in the world, anything they need we’re here for them. But yeah, until we know, it’s tough to comment much on it.”
Lucic began his career with the Bruins in 2007-08 after being selected with the No. 50 pick in the 2006 NHL Draft and played eight seasons for them, including 2011, when Boston won the Stanley Cup. He was traded before the 2015-16 season to the Los Angeles Kings and played eight seasons for the Kings, Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames before signing a one-year contract with the Bruins on July 1. He has played in four games this season and has two assists.
The Bruins (13-1-2), who lead the Atlantic Division, defeated the Montreal Canadiens 5-2 at TD Garden on Saturday.
Asked earlier Saturday how he keeps the news from impacting his team, Montgomery said, “It’s a really good question. Because our culture here is great and we care about each other, right? So with that, it’s not a normal day. But we’re professionals and we have a game to play tonight. We have to get ready for that.”
Marchand, who was also selected by the Bruins in the 2006 draft, echoed that sentiment.
“With things like this, we’re all people. They obviously have an effect on you. But the biggest thing we can do is come in and do our job,” Marchand said. “We have to come and just focus on the game. I think the biggest thing is just trying to stay in the moment. It’s something we’ve always preached in here. So when you come to the rink, you look at the game notes and start trying to remind yourself the things you have to do to be successful. Just try to be in the moment and focus on our jobs.
“Obviously there’s times where you can control that better than others. But you’ve just got to come to the rink every day, compete and try to do the best we can.”