"Bourque Night" in Hartford has familiar ring

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"Bourque Night" in Hartford has familiar ring

HARTFORD, CT It will happen at least six times this season, so perhaps the novelty will wear off eventually.

But there was something inherently old time hockey about both of Ray Bourques sons playing against each other in Hartford while the strains of Brass Bonanza seemed to pipe through the arenas loudspeakers every five minutes.

Heck, even the nine total goals scored in the game seemed like a flashback to a time when hockey players used to routinely light up the NHL scoreboard.

Their Hall of Fame father was in attendance for the brotherly showdown between Chris Bourque and Ryan Bourque, and both of his sons did their hockey thing.

The elder Bourque sibling put up a pair of assists and ran the Providence power play just like his old man, and the younger Bourque brother notched an important first period goal for the Connecticut Whale that helped propel them to a 6-3 victory at the XL Center on Saturday night.

While its pretty clear that most Bruins fans will look at the P-BruinsWhale regular season matchups as a Bourque Family Affair, the two brothers on the ice tried to downplay it as much as possible.

Its always enjoyable to play against your brother and its always a challenge because hes a very good player, said Ryan Bourque. But at the end of the day its not about us. Its about two teams trying to come out on the winning end of things.

The younger Bourque got the early edge with the first period goal created by talented former Boston College standout Chris Kreider, and he ended up getting the last laugh with the final score in the Whales favor. But the Bourque brother wearing the Black and Gold Bruins sweater showed off all the skill, confidence and poise in the final two periods befitting somebody with his last name wearing a Bruins sweater. Bourque ended the second period on a high note for Providence by setting up a power play formation, and then executing a perfect cross-ice pass from the right point to Jordan Caron at the doorstep.

All Caron had to do was tap the puck in for his fourth goal of the season after Bourque had done all the hard work. On the night the P-Bruins were 2-for-6 on the power play and much of that boiled down to Bourques involvement on both PP units as the calming, controlling influence at the point position.

After the first weekend I think weve done a good job with the power play, said Providence coach Bruce Cassidy. We could have scored on every power play tonight. We need the power play. We are making a concerted effort to make it better, and Chris Bourque is doing that for us.

Just look at that play Chris Bourque made with Caron. You need some easy goals on the power play from time-to-time and thats one that he simply made happen for us.

The eldest Bourque son continued to drag Providence back into the game in the third period as he set up a transition play that ended with Max Sauve firing a short-side power play past Connecticut goalie Cam Talbot. That goal cut it to a two-goal deficit for the P-Bruins and put the momentum on the Baby Bs side.

But the hole proved too deep to climb out of even though Providence had somebody named Bourque working for their side, and that seemed pretty important on fun AHL throwback night of hockey.

Two more Pastrnak goals pull him into tie for NHL lead with Crosby

Two more Pastrnak goals pull him into tie for NHL lead with Crosby

BOSTON – While the loss to the Avalanche on Thursday night was a monumental dud, it put another dazzling display on the hockey resume of David Pastrnak. 

The 20-year-old star right winger scored two more goals in the 4-2 loss at TD Garden and nearly brought the Bruins back into the game by himself before another defensive breakdown at the end of the second period doomed them. 

Instead, Pastrnak had to settle with being the proud owner of 18 goals scored in 23 games that places him in a tie with NHL superstar Sidney Crosby for the NHL lead in goals. 

The goals also showed his wide range of lethal offensive skills. On the first score, he just broke away from the Avalanche defense and managed to bury a second-effort breakaway chance after a nice Tim Schaller stretch pass off the boards. The second goal was a straight one-timer bomb from the high slot off a slick setup pass from Brad Marchand in the corner, and it had the Bruins right back into the mix after a dreadful first period. 

It wasn’t enough when the B’s defense faltered again toward the end of the second period, but it was enough for everybody to be singing Pastrnak’s praises once again following the loss. 

“He’s a game changer. The momentum is going the other way, and he has the ability to break away on any given shift and score a big goal for us. He did that tonight,” said Torey Krug. “We can’t just keep relying on the same guys to score goals. We’ve got to come up with secondary offense, and I know every other guy wants to do that. 

“Now it’s about showing that on the ice and making sure we’re doing the work and getting better and proving to ourselves. But Pasta [David Pastrnak] has been great for us so far, and we’re obviously lucky to have him.”

The 18 goals barely two months into the season are not too shabby for a kid, in his third NHL season, who just now coming into his own. He’s nearly halfway to 40 before Christmas. For Pastrnak, however, it’s about the team result and he wasn’t overly satisfied with his two goals in a losing effort. 

“I’ve said before the season that our goal is to make the playoffs and to have that experience and have the chance to win the Stanley Cup. I’m still focusing on that,” said Pastrnak, who has yet to experience the Stanley Cup playoffs in his two-plus seasons with the Black and Gold. “We have zero points from tonight’s game and we have to move on. I think our game gets better in the second and third periods, you know, and we have to regroup and get ready for Saturday’s game.”

The Bruins will undoubtedly regroup and once again count on another Pastrnak offensive explosion to help lead the way in what’s become a truly spectacular season for the youngster. 

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Major league manager. Inventor of the wrap sandwich. Champion ballroom dancer.  And…

US ambassador to Japan?

Bobby Valentine is on the short list for that position in President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a WEEI.com report.

The former Red Sox manager (fired after a 69-93 season and last-place finish in 2012), and ex-New York Mets and Texas Rangers, skipper, also managed the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons. 

Valentine, 66, has known the President-elect and Trump's brother Bob since the 1980s, is close to others on Trump’s transition team and has had preliminary discussions about the ambassador position, according to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. 

Valentine, currently the athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., is also friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like Valentine, attended the University of Southern California.