"Bourque Night" in Hartford has familiar ring


"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.

Celtics late rally falls short, Bulls hold on to win, 105-99


Celtics late rally falls short, Bulls hold on to win, 105-99

It was only 24 hours earlier that the Boston Celtics learned a valuable lesson about what can potentially happen if you let up on an opponent too soon.

The Chicago Bulls made the same mistake on Thursday as the Celtics wiped out a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter and made it a one-possession game for the last couple of minutes.

But like Boston did against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night, the Bulls managed to fend off a late rally by Boston in handing the Celtics a 105-99 loss.

Boston had multiple opportunities to tie the game or take the lead in the fourth, only to consistently come up short.

Their last shot came with less than a minute to play and Boston trailing 101-99.

Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown had the ball and seemingly had a mismatch with Nikola Mirotic guarding him.

Brown dribbled into the lane, spun away from Mirotic and left his feet and landed without anyone to pass to.

It would prove to be a critical turnover as Dwyane Wade came down afterwards and drained a 3-pointer, his fourth of the night, to make it a 104-99 game with 26.3 seconds to play.

That would be the Celtics’ last chance at a victory.

The Celtics trailed by as many as 15 points, but made it a game courtesy of a slew of baskets by Isaiah Thomas.

He finished with 25 points on 10-for-15 shooting.

As well as Thomas shot from the field, he’ll most remember this game for the shots he didn’t make; his free throws specifically.

A career 86 percent free throw shooter, Thomas was just 2-for-6 from the line on Thursday.

Boston (1-1) also got a strong game from Avery Bradley who had 16 points, six rebounds and five assists.

The Bulls, playing their season opener with a newly-formed Big Three of prodigal son Dwyane Wade, ex-Celtic Rajon Rondo and All-Star Jimmy Butler, didn’t waste any time establishing control of the game.

Chicago opened the game with an 8-2 run and led by as many as 15 points. Boston had moments in which it cut into Chicago’s lead, but the Bulls’ control of the game remained strong throughout the night.

Things got a bit chippy in the second quarter when Jae Crowder was called for an offensive foul against Jimmy Butler, a good friend of his as well as a former teammate at Marquette.

After Butler hit the ground, he used his legs to tie up Crowder who fell to the floor afterwards. Crowder then forcefully put the ball in Butler’s chest.

That led to some back and forth trash talk between Isaiah Thomas and ex-Celtic Rajon Rondo.

Officials reviewed the play and called all four players – Crowder, Thomas, Butler and Rondo – were called for a technical foul.

Tempers cooled down afterwards for both teams as the Chicago Bulls continued to stay red-hot from 3-point range.

The Bulls were especially impressive in the first half when they were 7-for-13 on 3s.

And leading the 3-point barrage was Wade who rarely looked to score beyond the 3-point line a year ago. He would finish with 22 points which included a trio of 4-pointers which was the first time he made that many 3s since the 2012-2013 season when he played for the Miami Heat.

Chicago’s top scorer was Butler who had 24 points and seven rebounds.

Chicago Bulls sign former Boston Celtics guard R.J. Hunter


Chicago Bulls sign former Boston Celtics guard R.J. Hunter

Minutes before they opened their regular season Thursday against the Celtics, the Bulls announced the signing of shooting guard R.J. Hunter.

Click here to view the compete story on CSNChicago.com