Boston Bruins Dennis Seidenberg and Milan Lucic show Maxim how to buy out the bakery.
It’s a sunny autumn day in Boston, and Milan Lucic and Dennis Seidenberg of the Bruins are wearing children’s-size life jackets while floating on an amphibious vehicle driven by a man in novelty cuff links and making history jokes. “On the Mayflower my grandfather starts doing his act, and the Pilgrims hate it,” cracks our captain, Fluffy Ruffles. “They throw fruit at the man; he keeps performing. They keep throwing fruit; finally, they run out of fruit. I guess the joke was on them when they all got…scurvy. Too soon?”
The hockey players grin and shake their heads. Did they lose a bet? No, this is actually how they’ve chosen to spend the $848 we’ve given them to blow however they see fit. This is the last stop on a journey that did not go anything like we expected. Weirdly, this isn’t the first time the pair have taken in the sights of Boston from the questionable comfort of Beantown’s famous duck boats: It was just two and a half months ago that Milan and Dennis, along with the rest of the Bruins, cruised in them through the city in front of an estimated million fans to celebrate Boston’s first Stanley Cup victory in 39 years, an achievement that effectively regained the city’s affections after a decade of Sawx-Celts-and-Pats dominance.
So let’s say you’re a handsome young hockey player who just brought your city the championship for the first time in nearly four decades, and someone puts $848 in the palm of your hand. What do you spend it on? Booze? Girls? Exotic pets? If you’re Milan Lucic and Dennis Seidenberg, generous and lovely gentlemen both, you choose none of the above. Our first stop: Mike’s Pastry in Boston’s North End.
It’s 2 p.m. when Milan and Dennis stroll into the shop. At 6'4", 220 pounds, Milan is a charming and hulking 23-year-old winger. Dennis is a slightly smaller, milder-mannered, German-born 30-year-old defenseman with an awesome tan, a light accent, two daughters, and two dogs. He looks like an actor, but I can’t put my finger on it. It’ll come to me.
The scene at Mike’s Pastry: packed, insane. Dress code: Red Sox and Celtics apparel. Not a Bruins jersey/hat/baby tee in sight. (Yet.) On that note: When asked what the hockey fans in Boston are like—the city’s crazed baseball, football, and basketball fans are alternately beloved and despised—Milan explains that, yes, “The Bruins are one of the Original Six teams, so it is a hockey town here. But you know there’s been a lot of disappointment here for a while, and then in the past four years we made a transition to being a playoff team, a Stanley Cup contender, so even before we won the Cup, the fans were starting to come back and cheer for us again and be die-hard Bruins fans again.” Which isn’t the most modest statement, but it isn’t entirely untrue either: Over the past 15-odd years, die-hard hockey fans were far outnumbered by their Red Sox, Patriots, and Celtics counterparts, but since the team has been playoff-friendly, a lot of glory-loving fair-weather New England fans have gotten hooked.
And with the NBA season nowhere in sight, the Red Sox’ EDC (epic, devastating collapse), and the Patriots’ six-year title drought (and the unforgettably sour taste of almost-perfect 2008), the Bruins couldn’t have timed their comeback better.
Before anyone at Mike’s Pastry realizes what’s going on, and with no announcement, Milan and Dennis are behind the counter doing their best Italian grandma impersonations, buying treats and passing them out to the masses. Take, eat! It’s an adorable disaster: They don’t know where anything is, they don’t know who to serve next, and they can’t fold the cardboard pastry boxes. “I’d like a lobster tail [pastry] and something fun for my daughter,” a female customer says to Dennis. “I don’t know, something…pink?” he suggests, carefully picking up a pink cookie thing.
After about a half-hour, the first guy in Bruins gear arrives—a teen in a Brad “Nose Face Killah” Marchand T-shirt. “Hi,” he says, “and congrats. Can I get five chocolate chip cannoli?”
It takes about a half-hour to burn through $424 worth of baked goods, leaving an hour to kill before the boat ride. “We could go get a beer or something?” I suggest. Milan recommends Monica’s, a nearby wine bar. It’s closed, but it turns out that when you’re a member of the Stanley Cup–winning Boston Bruins and you want a drink at your favorite local bar, things like business hours don’t matter. One knock on the door and we’re soon sitting in the lush and sunny back room with the owners, their wives, and their fleet of children. The guys ask for and drink Peronis, all of which are on the house. (So no dent in the Maxim budget.)
“You look just like the Transporter,” one of the bar’s co-owners says to Dennis. YES! It’s like loosening a piece of food stuck between your teeth—that’s who he looks like! Yes. “Yeah, everyone says that,” Dennis says kind of sheepishly. Is that why we got the free drinks? Does the barkeep think he’s serving Jason Statham?
After tossing back a few beers, the guys are ready for something stronger. Jaeger bombs, perhaps? Tequila shots?
Well, no, instead of sticking around for another drink, we go get smoothies. I ask them what they did with the Stanley Cup when it was their turn to hang out with it. “My cup day?” Dennis asks, then explains that he took it to Atlantic City, where his wife is from, and that they partied there with his teammates from his first team in Germany. Did he drink from it? “Oh, yeah. The guy who helped me out at Caesars, he had some kind of special old champagne. He put it in there, and everybody got to drink out of it. But one guy, my buddy, he drank out of it and a leg of the table broke, and he spilled a lot of the precious champagne.” Are you supposed to clean the cup before you pass it along to the next person, or does someone do that for you? “I think there was a guy…I’m not sure. I guess a lot of diseases got passed along,” he deadpans.
For his part, Milan took the Cup to the Serbian Cultural Center, “then I took it on a boat cruise around Vancouver, my hometown.” Did you drink from it? “My family, we’re Serbian, and in my house we drank slivovitz—a plum brandy—and we drank it out of the cup, which was pretty cool.” Did anyone eat from it? “Brad Marchand ate a whole box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch out of it.” Did he have a giant spoon? “He had a giant spoon.”
Then we walk several blocks to our private duck boat, where there’s a small crowd of people with special invitations gathered—about 20 or so of us, including a bunch of little kids, some parents, some giddy tweens in braces, and an older newlywed couple decked out in head-to-toe Stanley Cup/Bruins gear. Sort of an odd but sweet group. Lucic stands up and takes the mike at the front of the boat: “Can you hear me?” “Yeah!” “Thank you, everyone, for coming on our random duck boat tour of Boston, from myself, Milan Lucic, and Dennis Seidenberg of the Boston Bruins.” “Yeeahhh!” “Let’s go! Bos-ton!”
After his intro Milan hands the mike back to our official tour guide-slash-historical comedian, Fluffy Ruffles, a thirtysomething in a pale blue suit, ruffled tuxedo shirt, and yellow duck cuff links. “Hi, everybody, welcome to the Mayflower. Sorry for the rough seas. Couple of jokes to cheer you up: What side of a duck has the most feathers?” Silence. “The outside!” He hits a cymbal above the steering wheel. “Thank you, thank you.”
We cruise around Boston, driving slowly into the Charles River. When we pass the TD Garden (neé the Boston Garden) and Fluffy Ruffles notes that it’s the home of the Stanley Cup champion Bruins, everyone cheers, and Milan and Dennis beam. We then pass a cluster of Canada geese, and Fluffy makes a series of off-the-cuff jokes about Canada, birds, and hockey. They don’t go over too well. “These guys,” he murmurs, “are going to kick my ass.” They may have spent our dough on pastry and tourism, but they are hockey players, after all. Big ones. It’s possible he has a point.