By Kyle Shohara
Pictures from practice
Just two days after being acquired from the Montreal Canadiens, Rene Bourque was on the ice at Honda Center with his new team. Bourque, wearing No. 14 here in Anaheim, skated with Patrick Maroon, Ryan Kesler and Kyle Palmieri.
“I’m very excited,” he said after practice. “I was looking to be moved after everything went down in Montreal. It was nice changing to a new team. I think I have a lot left and a lot to give to this team. I’m looking forward to the opportunity.”
Bourque has appeared in 573 career NHL games with Montreal, Calgary and Chicago, collecting 278 points (142g/136a) with 474 penalty minutes. The 6-2, 214-pound wing has also played 27 career Stanley Cup Playoff games with Montreal and Calgary, scoring 15 points (11g/4a) with 59 penalty minutes. In the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Bourque led Montreal in goals (8) and co-led in hits (52), while also recording his first career playoff hat trick in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final on May 27, 2014 vs. the New York Rangers.
Bourque says he arrived in Anaheim at around 10:30 last night and all of the necessary immigration paperwork has been processed and approved. “This was the first time that I’ve been traded from a Canadian team to an American team,” he said. “Sometimes guys have to wait a few days, but I think we got lucky. If it didn’t get done yesterday, I would’ve had to wait until Monday.”
Bourque has familiarity with a handful of guys in the Ducks locker room. “[Assistant Coach] Trent Yawney was my first pro coach in the American Hockey League, and I had him during my first couple of years in Chicago,” he said. “I played with Dany Heatley in college [University of Wisconsin] and played with Corey Perry and Francois Beauchemin in the World Championships.”
He was also teammates with Tim Jackman in Calgary. Jackman, who was acquired from the Flames on Nov. 21, 2013, says he’s helping Bourque ease into this new chapter in his career.
“Everything is new when you come to a new team,” Jackman said. “It’s nice when someone is around to help you with the little things. He asked me about where I live, how the [locker] room is, and what he should expect in practice. We all just try to help him out.”
Jackman says Bourque possesses a wicked shot and isn’t afraid to throw his weight around. “I remember him scoring some really big goals for us when we were together in Calgary,” he said. “He’s got a great shot. He’s got an edge to his game, too. He can bring a physical side, which Bob [Murray] likes about our team. He can be hard to play against, for sure.”
Adds Jackman, “It’s another veteran presence; a guy who knows how to play the game the right way. I think he’s motivated to be here. We’re all excited to have him.”
Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau admits he doesn’t know much about Bourque, but says his performance during the 2014 postseason proves he still has it.
“I don’t think his skills have diminished at all,” said Boudreau. “Hopefully we can motivate him to the point where he’s playing the way he did in the playoffs last year. You know the skills are there. We’re hoping this works out as a good fit for us.”
His status for tomorrow night remains to be determined. “Sometimes a guy comes in and you want him to see a few practices before he jumps in,” said Boudreau. “For some guys, it’s a necessity to throw him right in. We’re still in discussions.”
Hampered by a lower-back injury that’s forced him to miss the past 10 games, defenseman Mark Fistric took part in the team’s full practice for the first time since his injury. The veteran blueliner says being around the company of his teammates is refreshing.
“It feels great to be back around the guys,” he said. “Mentally, it’s a lot better when you’re around the guys and skating with then. It feels good, and it’s another step forward.”
Fistric injured himself in Anaheim’s Oct. 30 game at St. Louis, and says he’s being extra cautious to prevent setbacks. “Every day is a process,” he said. “That’s just something I have to live with. It’s just going to be a part of my career. It’s something that’s manageable, but it has to be paid attention to at all times.”