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.

Morning Skate: NHL passes on participating in 2018 Olympics


Morning Skate: NHL passes on participating in 2018 Olympics

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while still digesting all of the awesome trailers and tidbits released at Comic Con in San Diego. 

*The NHL says there is no alternative regular season schedule for next season, and that any hope of participating in the Olympics is dead

*PHT writer James O’Brien has the Predators just one Ryan Johansen deal away from a piece of salary cap artwork, and being able to keep everything together.  

*Clark Booth is either upset or mystified that the Bruins haven’t done anything this offseason. My good man Clark, they need to re-sign David Pastrnak and let some of their young prospects continue to grow and develop. Better that than sign another premium-priced contract to a player like David Backes or Matt Beleskey. They don’t need that at this point. And they shouldn’t panic and trade one of their good, young players either. 

*Former UMass-Lowell goaltender Connor Hellebuyck has agreed to a one-year deal with the Winnipeg Jets. 

*It’s a wonderful time to be a sports fan in Pittsburgh as the Penguins have been dominant, and it looks like the Steelers are in position to finish in second place behind the New England Patriots in the AFC. Well, that’s something to write home about. 

*Minnesota native Kyle Okposo opens up for the first time about a scary season-ender with the Buffalo Sabres where Illness forced him to the hospital. 

*Larry Brooks explains why the New York Rangers have short-changed Mika Zibanejad in their salary arbitration exercise. 

*For something completely different: Are you kidding me with this Stranger Things 2 trailer to Michael Jackson’s Thriller? This looks awesome. 

Morning Skate: Tempered expectations for Bolts' rookie Sergachev


Morning Skate: Tempered expectations for Bolts' rookie Sergachev

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while simply shaking my head at David Price. What a typically soft, boorish ballplayer not meant for a big market where more is expected of those wearing the Red Sox uniform.

*There are tempered expectations for rookie defenseman Mikhail Sergachev as he gets things going with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

*Keith Yandle believes that Dale Tallon being back in charge of the Florida Panthers is going to bring unity and solidarity to the Panthers once again.

*Kevin Shattenkirk believes that the New York Rangers are right on the cusp of challenging for a Stanley Cup title.

*Here 20 thoughts from the just-concluded Chicago Blackhawks prospect camp, where there’s some pretty strong, young talent.

*Even as the highest-paid player in the NHL, Connor McDavid is underpaid for what he brings to the table, says Ron MacLean.

*Interesting look at the Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog situation in Colorado, where both players have watched their performance fall off a bit. This is why I’d be very nervous about giving up the farm to trade for either of these players if I’m the Bruins. The jury is out on whether they’re in decline as players, or if it’s simply the mess in Colorado getting them down.  

*For something completely different: What a sweet interaction between "Wonder Woman" Gal Gadot and a young, emotional fan all decked out in WW gear.