In Detroit Red Wings VP Jim Devellano's now infamous "NHL players are cattle" interview with Island Sports News, one player was singled out by name: Milan Lucic of the Boston Bruins, whom Devellano said should count his blessings that the NHL's owners are wealthy enough to make others wealthy.
From Island Sports News, on the owners' investment in the NHL:
"Yes, they are billionaires. Good on them, they deserve it, but they also make their employees millionaires. Not a bad trade off for a guy like Lucic getting what, 6 million dollars a year?
"I mean good on him too, but he should be grateful. Understand though that these players want for nothing...its first class this, first class that, meal allowances, travel money on the road, the whole shebang. Offer sheets don't hurt the players one bit."
Joe Haggerty, dogged Bruins blogger on CSNNE, caught up with Lucic on Monday at Mary E. Stapleton Elementary School in Framingham, where the Boston winger was auditing some Home Economics classes participating in a Q&A for students.
From Haggs, here's Lucic's response to the "cattle" call out:
"I guess I must be Grade A prime beef. I think we're pretty good cattle if you're looking at it that way," Lucic said with a laugh. "You definitely as a person don't like to be called 'cattle.' You'd think people would treat you better than as just an animal. Obviously he's got his name on the Cup a lot of times. I'm not going to say anything to disrespect him. But he said what he said and I kind of laughed at it. It is what it is.
"He singled me out and I don't know where or why he even singled me out. For me from an athlete's perspective you look at [Devellano] and what he's done in his hockey career, and respect what he's done for the game."
The high road, Lucic doth hath taken thee.
For the record, Lucic was mentioned by interviewer Scott Harrigan in a question, along with Ryan Suter, Shea Weber and Tyler Myers as player with "huge contracts" before the lockout. Lucic signed his 3-year, $18-million deal on Sept. 15.