"Well, besides the influence of my dad and my brother (Chris), the player I really enjoy watching in the National League right now is (Devils forward) Zach Parise. I like what he brings to the game -- his consistency and his second effort on pucks. I really admire what he can bring to the table." -- Ryan Bourque
"Well, besides the influence of my dad and my brother (Chris), the player I really enjoy watching in the National League right now is (Devils forward) Zach Parise," Bourque told NHL.com. "I like what he brings to the game -- his consistency and his second effort on pucks. I really admire what he can bring to the table."
Much like Parise, Bourque, at 5-foot-9 and 175 pounds, is small in stature but always in pursuit of the puck. Bourque connected for 20 goals and 46 points in 48 games with the U.S. National Team Developmental Program last season. He'll play for the Quebec Remparts and coach Patrick Roy in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in 2009-10.
"Patrick Roy has a great mind for the game and his track record speaks for itself," Bourque said. "He's done wonders for that program in Quebec and I can't wait to get started."
Bourque, who passed on an opportunity to play for coach Dick Umile and the University of New Hampshire, was drafted in the third round (No. 80) by the Rangers last June.
--Mike G. Morreale
Mind and Body 101 -- The Blues' emphasis on filtering a few young players into the mix each year is more than just a wannabe mantra, especially when you look at how much rookies T.J. Oshie and Patrik Berglund played in St. Louis last season along with the contributions of youngsters David Perron and Roman Polak.
Alex Pietrangelo is just one of the young Blues here at Traverse City that will get a long look at making the roster this season. But the key to making it all work is having the kids ready when the Blues need them -- and that means getting them stronger physically and mentally.
"You want to set a road map up for the young players," Blues President John Davidson said. "Some of them will become real, real high-end players and others won't. We've given them some guidance in a lot of different ways, from psychology of sport to nutrition, to working with (our strength coach), being good teammates, being respectful of an organization, the whole thing."
It's like a college course in Mind and Body 101.
Traverse City storm warning -- The Carolina Hurricanes are certainly putting on quite a show here at Center I.C.E. in their first Prospects Tournament appearance.
The Hurricanes (2-0), who put their unbeaten record on the line against the Atlanta Thrashers on Wednesday, can solidify first place and a championship-round berth on Thursday with a victory.
Carolina General Manager Jim Rutherford feels the Traverse City Tournament has been everything he expected, and then some.
"If we're invited to come back next year, we will come back," Rutherford said. "It's very well run by the Red Wings and Traverse City is a nice place to come for a week."
Rutherford is quick to point out, however, that he prefers his team's prospects to be those with ties to the organization in some way. Many players competing with the other seven teams this week are here on a tryout basis.
"I would want to make certain that the prospects we send are Carolina prospects, but I realize this comes in cycles," Rutherford said. "We're in that upside of our cycle now where we have a good group of top-line prospects. I don't want to get into a position where we're coming to these camps and three-quarters of the invites are tryouts. I want to make sure that they're our players and that we come here for a purpose."
--Mike G. Morreale
Proving he's a plus -- Tyler Johnson had only one goal in the Wild's back-to-back 2-1 wins against Columbus and Dallas. But the Minnesota front office has taken notice of the 5-9, 160-pound undrafted center from Spokane of the Western Hockey League, who had 10 of the team's 72 shots in those two games.
"He's shown tremendous hockey sense. He's been quick. He's been smart. He's been poised. And he's drawn a few penalties with his intensity. He's been a real factor in the 72 shots we've had," said Tommy Thompson, assistant GM/personnel of the Wild. "With smaller players, you never give them the benefit of the doubt. They have to prove it."
And Johnson apparently did for the Wild prospects.