CALGARY, AB -- It is just six games into the 2010-11 season but Rene Bourque may have discovered another weapon to add to his already potent offensive skill set - a new stick.
The Lac La Biche, AB native has been experimenting with a Bauer stick this season and the trial
run has been nothing short of exceptional.
Bourque has potted five goals and six points in six games and was named the NHL's first star for the week of Oct. 17-24.
"I'm just trying something else and it's working," he smiled. "I've got to order some more of them."
Bourque has refrained from using the stick in practices or warmups until the pre-game on Tuesday.
"I used it this morning ... for most of it," he said sheepishly, adding he can't "baby" the last stick.
"The sticks nowadays they break after you use them for one or two games. They don't last too long especially when you get a lot of shots in practice. Hopefully it lasts for a little longer.
"I don't want to have a chance in a game where I have a good shot and it's going break so I've got to make sure it's still strong enough to use."
When asked if the stick was responsible for his offensive outburst, all he could do was chuckle.
"It's not the stick ... I hope not. If it is, I'm in trouble," he laughed. "I don't think it's the stick. I think it's just getting into position to shoot the puck and getting nice passes from my teammates."
Captain Jarome Iginla noted Bourque's slight tweak in equipment but said his teammate deserves more credit than his stick.
"He's shooting it hard. He's playing with a lot of confidence and he's had some nice goals getting it off quick. It's a nice combo though," Iginla said."Slight changes give you something different to try and be excited about and feel like you've got a little bit of an edge."
The winger has been in the media spotlight since adding his third career hat trick to his resume against the Blue Jackets last Friday but every time he's praised for his recent performance, he deflects all praise to his team.
"I feel good. The puck has been going in - I've been getting some nice passes from some of my teammates. Some of the goals, anyone could have put them in the net," he smiled.
Since being teamed up with Olli Jokinen and Niklas Hagman, the trio has combined for 10 points in their last two games.
"Our team has been playing a lot better. Everyone, as a group, has been playing at a level that we need to be successful. Obviously Olli and Hags have been a big part of my success.
"Olli has been great. He's playing awesome right now. He's coming up the ice with a lot of speed and pushing back the defence a lot. That gives me and Hags a lot of room and giving us the puck to do whatever we want to do with it. Hags is playing great too. He always battles hard."
Bourque missed two games with a head injury this month but has shown no signs of rust from the week he missed. In his first game back, against the Predators, Bourque scored the winner in overtime.
"It wasn't a major injury where I was rehabbing a knee or a shoulder. It worked out well. I got that one in overtime in the first game back and got that off my shoulders and relaxed after that."
Last season was a career year for Bourque. In 73 contests, he put up 27 goals and 58 points. When questioned as to his expectations for himself this season, Bourque is simply planning on improving his play night after night.
"I'm not going to set numbers for myself. I just want to get better. I want to have a better season than I did last year. I want to keep building off it and see where it takes me."
Despite their recent 10 goal burst in the last two games, the Flames remain one of the lowest scoring teams in the NHL. Bourque knows he and his need to maintain offensive consistency going forward.
"Hopefully it keeps going because we need to score more goals on this team. We're still one of the lowest scoring teams in the league.
"I'm relied on to provide a lot of offence for our team and so is my line. We've just got to keep working."