Islanders' Aucoin knows what Bourque can bring to B's


Islanders' Aucoin knows what Bourque can bring to B's

If anybody should know about Chris Bourques capabilities as an NHL player, it should be the guy that, up close and personal, watched him light up the AHL for a league-leading 93 points last year. Waltham native Keith Aucoin was one of those guys as a teammate and linemate of Bourques last season with the Hershey Bears before getting called up to the Washington Capitals once Dale Hunter took control of the team.

The 34-year-old Aucoin, now with the Islanders, knows that Bourque feels the double pressure of a family legacy in Boston and the need to establish himself as an NHL player, but also thinks theres a simple solution that will ease all of the pressure.

Once the first goal comes for Bourque, whether its five-on-five with Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley or with the second power play unit, then things will start rolling for the 26-year-old winger. Right now Bourque has zero points and no shots on net in three games while averaging 13 minutes of ice time per night, and putting a crooked number next to those state lines brings with it a world of confidence.

He can score, he can pass and he doesnt take a shift off. He works hard, said Aucoin, who has two points in three games for the Islanders thus far this season while centering their third line. For him its all about getting the confidence. Once you get one goal they just keep on coming. Hes a good player that plays at both ends of the ice, so once he gets going hell be good.

Bourque has been just as happy for his former teammate after watching him put up 11 points in 27 games with Washington during the regular season. Aucoin suited up for all 14 playoff games for the Capitals last year while centering a fourth line that factored greatly in defeating the Bruins, and is now playing big minutes for the Isles after getting claimed from Toronto off waivers at the end of the lockout.

Of course all of that support doesnt come without the two buddies own version of hockey smack talk as they get ready to play against each other tonight when Aucoins Islanders invade the TD Garden ice.

I just talked to him, actually, said Aucoin with a smile on his face. I told him that Id been all over him tonight. But its actually really good to see him get a chance with his hometown team. Hes put in his time in the minors. Im happy for him.

It would be awesome to play for the Bruins but also a little stressful too with his last name. I played here a bunch of times last year during the playoffs with the Capitals and its a tough place to play and thats without the ticket requests and the people that come out of the woodwork. But growing up here and loving hockey I was always a big fan of the Bruins my entire life.

The Bruins coaching staff has been patient with Bourque knowing the dominant AHL player still waiting to burst, and his own Bruins teammates have all seen the offensive skills on display in practice. Now its just a matter of capitalizing on chances as the Bs third line looks to get an offensive jolt from a winger with a familiar last name.

Sunday, Jan. 22: Jimmy Vesey's rookie wall

Sunday, Jan. 22: Jimmy Vesey's rookie wall

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while proud of my wife and daughter for taking part in the Women’s March on Saturday.

*The day-to-day NHL grind may be getting to Jimmy Vesey a bit, and causing him to hit a bit of a rookie wall after his Harvard career.

*Alex Radulov has gone from being an NHL headache to being an impact playmaker for the Canadiens in a quick pivot for the Russian player.

*Melrose native Conor Sheary seems to have found a home for himself on the Pittsburgh Penguins skating on a line with a guy named Sidney Crosby.

*The Chicago Blackhawks are always looking to improve, and they’ve reportedly kicked the tires on Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar with Detroit.

*St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock is nearing another coaching milestone in what’s been a long, distinguished career behind the bench.

*P.K. Subban is slowly approaching a return to the Nashville Predators lineup from injury, and the Preds need him as soon as possible.

*For something completely different: Greg Poppovich hits the nail on the head here, and it never ceases to amaze me that he’s such a smart, well-versed human being.


Saturday, Jan. 21: McKenzie on Julien's job security

Saturday, Jan. 21: McKenzie on Julien's job security

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while proud of my wife and daughter participating in today’s Women’s March.

*This is from a few days ago, but Bob McKenzie weighing in on the prospects for Claude Julien and his job security is always worth checking out.  

*The New York Rangers have themselves a rookie named Pavel that’s doing a pretty darned good job for the Blueshirts.

*What should the St. Louis Blues do with Kevin Shattenkirk as the trade deadline approaches and the seven-year, $49 million contract waiting for him in free agency is pretty daunting?

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kevin Allen has a list of underperforming NHL stars, including Jamie Benn and Jonathan Toews, that may have been impacted by the World Cup of Hockey. Certainly Patrice Bergeron could have made this list as well.

*Blackhawks backup goalie Scott Darling may be earning some more playing time after the way he performed against the Bruins, according to Pro Hockey Talk.

*Good news with Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson set to return to the team in a couple of weeks after tending to his wife in a battle against cancer.

*The struggles of Anthony Duclair with the Arizona Coyotes mirror the team’s issues this season as well. It’s interesting that Duclair has popped up in trade rumors with the Desert Dogs this season.

*For something completely different: the final Wolverine movie with Hugh Jackman is going to be extremely emotional with its characters.