Canadian Lucic gives USA slight edge

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Bruins practice at Ristuccia Arena wrapped up around 11:20 a.m. Friday, and there was a sense of urgency on the part of some in the building to move on to the next big thing, that being the USA-Canada semifinal game at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, scheduled to begin at noon.

That gave Milan Lucic just enough time to give his breakdown.

“I think from what I’ve seen so far, I’d say the U.S. men’s team looks the strongest and I think they’re going to really push Canada,” said Lucic, a native of Vancouver, British Columbia. “Right now, if you ask me, I would say the U.S. are the favorites going into this.”

Aware of how those words might sound when read on Canadian soil, Lucic expanded on his thought process.

“Just because of the way they’ve played leading up to this. On paper we can always say Canada’s better but you talk about leading into the game and the momentum, the U.S. has been able to create, things are looking real good.”

Lucic was referencing the American’s relative dominance so far, which resulted in a plus-13 goal differential through the preliminary round and quarterfinal. However, he also knows recent history is on the side of his home country, which won the gold in 2010 over the U.S., as well as some extra incentive.

“There’s always pressure no matter what. Canada’s motto is ‘Gold or Bust,’ so it’s a huge game. There’s a lot of players on both teams that were part of the finals in 2010, the gold medal game. I think that’s going to increase the intensity and the rivalry and I’m as excited to watch it as everyone else.”