Ray Bourque went straight from being selected in the first round of the 1979 NHL Entry Draft to winning the Calder Trophy for his 65-point 1979-80 campaign.
His son, Chris Bourque, hasn’t enjoyed the same kind of storybook beginning to his NHL career, but at the age of 26, he’s under contract with his father’s old team, the Boston Bruins, and they’re willing to give him a legitimate shot at making the team.
“I told [Chris] that I think he has a good chance of making our team. I told him that he’s just not there to go to Providence,” said Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli. “If he goes to Providence then that’s great, but giving him a one-way deal in the second year speaks to how we feel about Chris. He’s got a couple of areas to work on and I told him that.”
So far Bourque has established himself as a star at the AHL level, but he hasn’t been able to prove himself in the NHL. Of course, he hasn’t really gotten much of a shot lately. He has played in just 33 NHL games, and none over the past two seasons.
In the AHL, he’s known as an offensive juggernaut, but he doesn’t necessarily need to earn a spot on one of Boston’s top two lines to be of value to them.
“He does have the ability to shoot and find seams, but he also has a grit element to his game where he can play lower down in the lineup if he has to,” said Chiarelli. “I told him – among other things – that he needs another quarter-step to maintain it at this level, and he’s a young guy so I think he will.”
He’s inked to a two-year deal at the crossroads of his career. He can still establish himself as a late bloomer like Matt Moulson or he could go down as one of those guys that just can’t quite make the jump like Alexandre Giroux.
Bummed out on this holiday? Look on the bright side: at least you’re not as sore as Florida Panthers defenseman Alex Petrovic likely is right now.
Not long after suffering three defeats at the hands/fists of Evander Kane, Petrovic likely lost another bout to Nashville Predators tough guy Anthony Bitetto.
(Note: some might consider this more of a draw, for what it’s worth. You can watch that latest fight in the video above.)
Hey, at least Bitetto didn’t taunt Petrovic after their fight …
It was a rough night for the Panthers overall, as they suffered a gruesome injury or two and fell to the Predators by a score of 5-0.
Love is in the air on Valentine’s Day, and so are rumors about hockey fans bundling up for outdoor games next season.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman went over two possible outdoor matchups coming for 2016-17 during Saturday’s Headlines segment.
A smart move for a potential game in Winnipeg: Imagine the Jets hosting a game in Winnipeg in February? Ilya Bryzgalov almost turned off his TV in protest.
Instead, Sportsnet’s John Shannon reports that the Jets are likely to host the Edmonton Oilers in October. That would be a smart logistical move, as long as it isn’t too hot.
(Also, playing it then would hopefully increase the odds of the mainstream sporting public seeing Connor McDavid in an outdoor game.)
Toronto’s turn: Friedman reports that the Toronto Maple Leafs are likely to host the Detroit Red Wings in the 2017 Winter Classic (or at least an outdoor game), almost certainly on New Year’s Day 2017.
The two teams combined for a great Winter Classic at Ann Arbor in 2014, so that could be a fun time.
Keep in mind these are reports (and well-placed ones at that) rather than official announcements for the NHL. These things could always change.
Related: Could the Penguins host the Flyers outdoors next season, too?
“Costly victories” may have been one of the themes of Saturday night, as some teams paired impressive wins with worrisome injuries.
The good news is that, in each case, it appears that the early word is optimistic about those players (Tyler Seguin got stitched up in the Stars’ win, for example).
The Anaheim Ducks are reportedly readying to recall Anton Khudobin on Sunday after John Gibson suffered an upper-body injury during a collision with Chicago Blackhawks forward Richard Panik.
Again, so far the hope/expectation is that this might not be a major issue:
The pessimistic take would be to wonder “Uh oh, is the Ducks goalie carousel starting again?”
Frederik Andersen has seen some runs as Anaheim’s No. 1 guy, so maybe this issue is a reminder that the Ducks may be better off keeping both Gibson and Andersen around … at least while they can.
For two periods, the Dallas Stars seemed to say, “Are you sure the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL?”
They chased Braden Holtby and built a 4-0 lead through those first 40 minutes, and that was enough … but barely. The Stars beat the Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, which accomplished the following:
- Dallas ended Washington’s winning streak at five games. The Stars have now won three straight.
- This win slides the Stars ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the highly competitive Central Division. While both teams sit at 77 standings points, Dallas holds three games in hand.
- By passing Chicago, the Stars now lead the Western Conference as a whole.
Impressive stuff. Some might even call it a statement game, although others may hold that nail-biting ending against them (possibly arguing that the Stars’ flaws may come back to haunt them in the playoffs).
Dallas’ biggest concern likely has little to do with doubters. Instead, they must monitor the statuses of forwards Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.
Long story short, the Stars are red-hot, yet bigger challenges likely lie ahead.