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Canadiens' Bourque to miss 8-12 weeks after surgery

by Arpon Basu

The Montreal Canadiens announced Wednesday that forward Rene Bourque will be out of action for eight to 12 weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a tear in his abdominal wall suffered during offseason training.

Bourque was expected to compete for a role on Montreal?s second line this season after struggling following his trade from the Calgary Flames to the Canadiens in January.

Bourque scored five goals in 38 games after he was acquired by the Canadiens in exchange for proven goal-scorer and playoff performer Michael Cammalleri -- a trade finalized during the second intermission of a Jan. 12 Habs game in Boston. However, new general manager Marc Bergevin was hopeful Bourque would be able to provide similar production to his past two full seasons in Calgary, where he scored 27 goals in both 2009-10 and 2010-11.

"He scored 27 goals two years ago," Bergevin said earlier this summer. "I know he had an off year, but I'm not ready to write him off."

The Canadiens were hoping to slot Bourque on a line with Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta, but they will now need to give someone else a chance to fill that scoring role until Bourque is ready to return sometime in November or December.

The Canadiens don't have an abundance of candidates to play that kind of a role; some possibilities include Lars Eller (who normally plays center), second-year forward Louis Leblanc, or rookie hopefuls Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher.

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