Rene Bourque

Slumping Bourque admits ‘it’s been a tough year’ in Montreal


The numbers leading up to Rene Bourque’s healthy scratch versus Toronto on Saturday were pretty ugly — zero goals, zero points in 13 straight games.

On Monday, Bourque addressed his slump and overall effort to date.

“Not good, obviously,” he said, per the Canadian Press. “It’s been a tough year.”

If it wasn’t for the struggles of fellow Habs forward Daniel Briere, Bourque might be public enemy No. 1 in Montreal this season. (Heck,  might be anyway.) In the fourth of a six-year, $20 million deal, Bourque — a three-time 20-goal scorer — has just six tallies this season, none since scoring against New Jersey on Dec. 2.

Bourque missed seven games this year with an upper-body ailment, but Saturday’s absence was all about performance. Habs head coach Michel Therrien parked Bourque in favor of Finnish rookie Joonas Nattinen, who only played 1:45 in his NHL debut — and it appears Bourque received the message.

“Hopefully, it’s a wake-up call,” Bourque explained, “and I get back to playing my game and producing.”

It does look as though Bourque will return to the lineup on Wednesday in Pittsburgh. He took this morning’s line rushes with Briere and Brandon Prust on what appeared to be Montreal’s third unit.

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?