Bourque breaks through for game-winning goal


Bourque breaks through for game-winning goal

TORONTO There was no mistaking who scored the goal after watching the familiar celebration.

Bruins left wing Chris Bourque scored his first goal as a member of the Black and Gold in memorable fashion as he was the only lamp-lighter in a 1-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre before a national Hockey Night in Canada audience in the Great White North.

The goal came after Bourque was a healthy scratch on Thursday night against the Buffalo Sabres after hed gone scoreless in his first six games of the year, and admitted that things were going a million miles a minute for him out on the ice. It was also only the second NHL goal of Bourques career with the last one coming all the way back on December 30, 2008 for the Washington Capitals.

The goal was certainly more beauty than greasy as Chris Kelly picked up a chip into the offensive zone from Rich Peverley, and zinged a backhanded pass to Bourque waiting to slam home the one-timer at the left post. For the first time in a Bs sweater, there was zero hesitation in the youngsters game.

So to celebrate Bourque pulled out an impromptu tribute to his old man, No. 77. Once he had slammed home the one-timer he dropped to one knee and slid across the goal crease while pumping his first just like Ray did hundreds of times during a Hall of Fame career for the Bruins.

There might have been a couple fist pumps. It might have been over-excessive, but I think I just blacked out when it happened. I was excited, said Bourque. I dont know if it was getting the pressure off myself or feeling like I contributed to the team, but thats all I wanted to do hereto help the team win. That goal ended up making the difference.

I always knew I had the capability of doing it. Its just a matter of going out there and proving it. I had a couple of chances here and there over the first six games, but tonight I wanted to really bare down and it ended up in the back of the net.

Bourque had previously said that hell always work his balls off on every shift he plays, and thats part of the reason Claude Julien has continued to stick with the 26-year-old has tried to bridge that gap between AHL player and established NHL veteran. In part it was because of the work he was putting in every shift, the diligent back-checks even if things werent dropping offensively and the flashes of offensive finish that the Bruins are hoping to continue seeing more of.

The Bs coach also said he had a conversation with Bourque on Saturday morning, and thinks his motivational tactic might have worked.

Im really happy for him. I joked around with him before the game and told him Id bag skate him on Sunday if he didnt score, said a smiling Julien. He obviously doesnt like those kinds of skates, so he didnt waste any time.

Bourque didnt score that first goal at home in the TD Garden where he grew up as a hockey player, and he wasnt sure if his father saw it live as hes in Florida on a golf getaway. But the son said that the wise father and the loyal younger brother, Ryan, gave him all the positive support he needed on a daily basis. When some got impatient to see production out of Bourque in his big chance with the Black and Gold, his Hall of Fame dad preached patience and relaxation.

All throughout the day I felt pretty comfortable and confident. Sometimes sitting out change your mindset a little bit, said Bourque, who finished with the one shot and a plus-1 in 13:05 of ice time. These are the best players in the world and it takes you a little while to slow things down and adjust to the speed. Then you start making your plays.

I talk to Ray every day. Were really close. He and my brother are the two guys I talk to about certain things and bounce things off them. They are two really good people to talk to. He just told me to play my game. Sometimes I go out of my comfort level and play a million miles an hour. Sometimes you try too hard if that makes sense. I just need to slow it down and play my game. Thats been good things happen.

The first good thing happened in game-winning fashion on a big stage Saturday night, and both Bourque and the Bruins hope that the best is yet to come.

Sunday, July 24: Dominic Moore mulls NHL offers


Sunday, July 24: Dominic Moore mulls NHL offers

Here are the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while marveling at how good the Justice League and Wonder Woman trailers were this weekend.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker has veteran center Dominic Moore mulling a couple of offers as he looks for an NHL contract for next season.

*Jordan Eberle joined Canadian sports radio, and agreed that something needed to change with the Oilers after continually missing the playoffs.

*I will miss Jim Prior’s trademark “The Teams are ready, so let’s play hockey!” open to every game as a PA announcer, and I’ll miss his warm personality around the rink. It’s a sad day for the BU hockey program.

*The Arizona Coyotes continue to put together a very interesting D-men picture by signing Luke Schenn to a two-year contract. For my money, Schenn has long been one of the most overrated players in the NHL.

*The Hockey News’ Mike Brophy has some thoughts and observations about the NHL offseason as it continues to wind on.

*Good piece by FOH (Friend of Haggs) Dave Stubbs on Andrei Markov and his candid thoughts on everything from the Montreal traffic to the PK Subban/Shea Weber trade.

*Here’s a spot to track the travels and stories of the Pittsburgh Penguins amid their summer with the Stanley Cup.

*For something completely different: as mentioned above, here is the trailer for the Justice League that shows a much lighter, better touch with what should be a fun movie to watch. Hopefully this means it won’t be another pretty-looking, Zack Snyder funeral dirge.


Heinen looking to be dark-horse candidate for Bruins' roster


Heinen looking to be dark-horse candidate for Bruins' roster

While much of the focus is going to be on the young D-men headed into Bruins training camp, it would be foolhardy to overlook a forward prospect Danton Heinen, who is in position for a real dark horse run at an NHL roster spot. 

The strong odds are that the former University of Denver star is going to be begin the season in the AHL for the Providence Bruins after putting up a couple of points in four games there at the end of last season.

Still, that certainly hasn’t stopped Heinen from setting his sights on an NHL spot out of this fall’s camp, most likely in a third- or fourth-line capacity to start things off, or perhaps at the top-six right wing spots that have given the Bruins some problems filling permanently over the past couple of seasons.

Either way, the 2014 fourth-round pick knows that his clock to fulfilling his dreams as an NHL player has started and that it’s up to him when he can start making that a reality.

“It’s something I’ve wanted to work toward my whole life, so I’m just going to try to keep getting better, have a good rest of the summer and then put my best foot forward to see what happens,” said Heinen, who had an assist and a sweet goal in the Friday scrimmage at development camp when he twisted D-man Cam Clarke around like a pretzel on a nifty rush to the net. “I just need to continue to get stronger this summer, and working on my skating to get a bit quicker.

“[The AHL] was a lot of fun to get in there and see what it was all about. It was a lot different than college hockey, and it was definitely good to get a taste of it. [Bruins officials] told me to have a really big summer getting faster and getting stronger, so that’s what I’ve been doing.”

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Heinen, 21, continued to show in development camp last week, however, that he has the playmaking skills and hockey IQ to flourish while surrounded by more accomplished players and in tighter situations. It’s exactly what he showed while posting 36 goals and 93 points in his freshman and sophomore seasons for the Pioneers and it was what he showed while finishing last week as one of the best forwards in camp.

“He’s looked really good at [development] camp. He’s a smart player, he’s committed and I think you’ll notice him in training camp. It will be up to him, but I think he’ll definitely be pushing some guys [for an NHL job],” said Bruins assistant coach Jay Pandolfo, who was running the Bruins development camp. “He looked good [in Providence]. He fit in well. He’s the type of player that can play with good players because he’s got high hockey IQ, and he’s got really good skill.

“Anywhere you put him he’s smart enough to figure it out. You could tell in his first game there was a little bit of an adjustment for him, but the second time game it really looked like he’d been playing [at that level] for a long time. He’s a quick study, and he looked really good last year.”

The Black and Gold management hope he continues to look good at main NHL training camp in a couple of months, where he’ll undoubtedly be featured, and could be a lot closer than many people think as a polished skill forward coming out of a big-time college hockey program. 

Saturday, July 23: Hammer Time for VP pick Kaine with Caps


Saturday, July 23: Hammer Time for VP pick Kaine with Caps

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while everybody is working for the weekend...or during the weekend.

*The vice-presidential candidate for Hillary Clinton, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, made quite an impression while hanging out a Capitals game with MC Hammer. They call this guy boring, but that doesn’t sound very boring to me.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Bob Stauffer has the news that the Edmonton Oilers are parting ways with fancy stats lad Tyler Dellow. Boy, it seems like some teams are reversing course pretty quickly on some of these smarter-than-thou advanced statistics types, aren’t they? I certainly wish Dellow well and hope he finds another gig. But Instead of baselessly wondering whether the Oilers are going to continue down the fancy stats road (which they most certainly will), perhaps this is more a referendum on nonsensical stats-driven decisions like handing out that long term contract to a perpetually underachieving Benoit Pouliot.

*The New York Rangers have locked up Chris Kreider to a four-year contract at a reasonable number, and now he has the time with the Blueshirts to see how good he can be.

*Brian Leetch opens up to the Players Tribune about his NHL experiences playing with the New York Rangers, and all of his favorite experiences from a Hall of Fame career.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker says that Carey Price’s injury from last season is no longer a concern, according to Habs coach Michel Therrien.

*The Chicago Blackhawks will appear a whopping 21 times on national television across the NBC Networks next season.

*Incoming BU goaltender Jake Oettinger is among the names to look out for at the 2017 draft, according to the NHL Central Scouting bureau.

*Travis Yost says that the Carolina Hurricanes are on the rise thanks to winning the shot differential battle. I think it’s because they have an outstanding cast of young defensemen, who are helping them control the puck and win that shot differential battle. But they still need to score more if they’re going to really be a team on the rise, so we’ll see what happens there.

*For something completely different: for those that think I’m a Democrat because I am anti-Trump, here’s a story on the DNC machinery attempting to torpedo Bernie Sanders during the presidential campaigning over the last year.