The normally-jovial Kelly Hrudey surprised Hockey Night in Canada viewers this past weekend with a stinging critique of Calgary winger Rene Bourque.
The incident occurred during the first intermission of the Flames-Avalanche game — you can watch the video here (not exactly the cleanest footage on earth) or you can just read my flawless dictation.
Hrudey: “Who in the world would trade for this guy? Come on, that’s a joke they’re saying teams are calling for him and everything. It’s a great start for Calgary right, 3-0? Have you noticed him? You know, this guy — and I’m going to say this politely — but this guy’s passion meter isn’t low on a scale of one to 10…it’s turned off. This guy has to learn that you actually have to have passion in a game, that you can play with hatred.
“The four Hall-of-Famers that we had in the pregame show [Doug Gilmour, Mark Howe, Ed Belfour, Joe Nieuwendyk] talked about the compete level of athletes. There are a lot of guys that have talent and this guy…I don’t even think he cares about the game. He should apologize to his teammates and start playing. He’s got 66 games to go to actually care.”
Eric Francis touched on this situation today (which Yerdon discussed), saying trade talks are “as much a knock on Bourque’s inconsistency, which on Saturday drew the ire of a particularly animated Kelly Hrudey, as it is the term of his deal.”
Today, Bourque replied. In speaking with Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun, he admitted to not playing well but also stated he “definitely wasn’t happy” about Hrudey’s rant.
In Hrudey’s defense, this wasn’t him spewing nonfactual vitriol for a ratings boost. Hrudey lives in Calgary and attends numerous Flames games, so he’s been on-hand for a number of Boruque’s (admittedly) uninspired performances this year. Perhaps that’s why he used the “pissed off ticketholder” approach — there was a layer of honesty to it.
As for Bourque: He’s pointless (both in the literal and figurative sense) over his last eight games and has yet to record a single assist this season. Meanwhile, Calgary is still on the hook for his six-year, $20-million deal…that expires in 2016.