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.
Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.
Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:
Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).
The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.
Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…
Coaches are quickly getting the hang of this challenge thing.
Following Mike Babcock’s successful challenge in Toronto’s opening-night loss to Montreal on Wednesday, Babcock’s provincial rival — Sens head coach Dave Cameron — got it right as well, successfully reversing Evander Kane‘s would-be equalizer in the third period.
From the league:
At 10:34 of the third period in the Senators/Sabres game, Ottawa requested a Coach’s Challenge to review whether Buffalo was off-side prior to Evander Kane’s goal.
After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Linesman determined that Buffalo’s Zemgus Girgensons was off-side prior to the goal. According to Rule 78.7, “The standard for overturning the call in the event of a ‘GOAL’ call on the ice is that the Linesman, after reviewing any and all available replays and consulting with the Toronto Video Room, determines that one or more Players on the attacking team preceded the puck into the attacking zone prior to the goal being scored and that, as a result, the play should have been stopped for an “Off-side” infraction; where this standard is met, the goal will be disallowed.”
Therefore the original call is overturned – no goal Buffalo Sabres.
The clock is re-set to show 9:32 (10:28 elapsed time), when the off-side infraction occurred.
As the league later noted, this was the first coach’s challenge under the offside scenario.