Tonight, Rene Bourque will face the Washington Capitals for the first time since concussing Nicklas Backstrom with an elbow.
It’s the rematch nobody expected. Bourque delivered the hit while playing for the Flames and Washington wasn’t scheduled to face Calgary again this year — but when Montreal acquired Bourque for Mike Cammalleri last week, the stars and moons aligned for potential frontier justice.
Not that Canadiens coach Randy Cunneyworth wants any part of it.
“Hopefully, there’s nothing residual,” Cunneyworth told the Montreal Gazette. “[Bourque] paid his price and we hope there isn’t going to be anything residual and, if there is, then we have to be disciplined and let the refs take care of it.
“He has to focus on what he does and that’s play at both ends.”
Cunneyworth’s quotes are all fine and dandy, but let’s be real — it’s very likely Bourque’s focus will be on a swarm of angry Caps. Prior to the Montreal-Calgary deal, Washington forward Troy Brouwer lamented the fact he and his mates wouldn’t get another shot at Bourque while John Erskine, Jay Beagle and Alex Ovechkin also expressed anger at watching Backstrom, their leading scorer, get knocked out of the lineup
In a related story, Caps head coach Dale Hunter has re-inserted Erskine into the lineup for tonight’s affair — the first time Erskine has dressed in five games.
If that wasn’t a strong enough message, consider what forward Joel Ward told the Washington Post today.
“Guys are going to be playing pretty hard, especially against [Bourque],” Ward said. “Let him know that what he did, we thought was a pretty cheap shot.”