BROSSARD – The Habs are hoping to see Rene Bourque make a big impact.
After hitting the ice for the third period on Thursday night one forward short, the Habs didn’t have much time to digest the report that Michael Cammalleri had been traded mid-game to the Calgary Flames for Rene Bourque. Fourteen hours later, the news had sunk in and the Canadiens were already looking forward to what their newest teammate will bring to the party.
“Bourque is a bigger guy, but he’s also a really talented player,” described Mathieu Darche of the 6-foot-2 power forward. “He can score goals; management didn’t just go out and get him because he’s big. He may not be as naturally skilled as Cammalleri, but they didn’t go out and get a player like me who’s more of a chip and chase kind of guy. He’s a guy who can make plays, go hard to the net and score goals.”
Still working out some last minute details before making the trek from Calgary to Montreal on Friday morning, Bourque will have to wait one more day to get to know his new teammates on the ice. Luckily for Bourque, with Cammalleri’s No.13 nameplate already replaced by the newcomer’s No.27, pending dressing room neighbor Travis Moen will be close by to help make introductions easier off the ice.
“I played with him in the minors so I know what he’s about,” mentioned Moen, who suited up with Bourque for the AHL’s Norfolk Admirals in 2004-05. “He’s fast, he’s got a great shot, he’s physical and he’ll definitely go in the corners and battle. Hopefully he can do that for us and be a nice addition.”
While they were both working their way up the ranks of the Blackhawks organization, Moen and Bourque were teammates in Norfolk, although the two never ended up playing together on a line.
“No, he’s a little too skilled for me,” joked Moen, who notched eight goals and 20 points that season compared to Bourque’s team-leading 33 goals and 60 points.
A few stalls over, another familiar face will be waiting to greet the 30-year-old Lac-La-Biche, AB native when he arrives in his new NHL home.
“I played with Bourquey a little bit in my first year in Chicago. He’s a big up-and-down winger who’s going to play physically, take the puck to the net and he’s got a really good shot,” shared Mike Blunden, who skated alongside the former Blackhawk in 2005-06 and 2006-07. “He can score from anywhere. He likes to get in those dirty areas, bang home rebounds and crash the net. I think he’ll be a good fit here.”
Based on the scouting reports being given by Bourque’s former – and now current – teammates, Randy Cunneyworth has every expectation that his gritty new winger will be able to adapt to Montreal’s system without missing a beat.
“Big or small, we want everyone to be tenacious on the puck and part of that is finishing checks,” stressed Cunneyworth. “We don’t talk about running anyone over; we talk about separating the puck from the man. That’s the job of the forechecker to make plays along the walls. That’s what we expect to see from him.”
Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.
RAPID FIRE: January 13, 2012
Words from the room
Changing on the fly
Michael Cammalleri traded to Calgary
Carey Price among the stars
Clearing the air