Rene Bourque has been in Montreal for two years; he will not be here for a third.
Bourque scored 3 goals and registered 22 SOG in the Canadiens’ four-game sweep of the Lightning in the Eastern Conference Quarter Finals. His performance in game 2 of the series was particularly pleasing to Habs fans when he lit the lamp twice and scored the game winner. He scored a goal and added an assist in game 1 of the Boston series, but was held pointless during the remaining 6 games. In the next round he followed up with 6 points (4G) in 6 games versus New York, including the rare postseason hat-trick, after which his parent’s lawn on the other side of the country was littered with hats. He finished up with 8 goals and 11 points in 17 playoff games.These numbers are not earth-shattering, but they are strong and his in-game attitude was where it needed to be. It was a solid performance, considering Bourque was averaging under 15 minutes of ice time per game and was coming a off a less-than stellar regular season – 9 goals and 7 assists in 63 games. In the spring, whether a player is producing or not, if he is proving effective in other in-game aspects he is praised. As long as the team is winning – that is the goal. His regular season stats were quickly forgiven once he found his stride. Forgiven, but not forgotten.
The Canadiens are a team with plenty of success to look forward to and a group that is headed in the right direction. One task Marc Bergevin faces is to sit down with head coach Michel Therrien and determine how to eliminate obstacles that can slow the progress of this team. There can be no hesitation – no doubt. It is important to grow the team as a team; it is important to keep continuity in the dressing room and allow the coaches and players to strengthen their trust which will translate into wins. As harsh as this may this sound, eradicating the dead weight will have to begin with Rene Bourque. He will not carry this recent burst of playoff success and energy into the fall.
I appreciated his performance in the playoffs, as did all Habs fans. Every time he touched the puck I was cheering him on along with half a dozen friends. I was his biggest advocate every time someone hinted at his poor regular season. That is the responsibility each of us Montreal faithful undertake when we swear an oath to bear the Canadiens banner. It was not enough, however, to cloud my vision. The hype of a deep playoff run can create love but said love is temporary. Even if the Canadiens would have won the Stanley Cup, I would still feel the same way about Rene Bourque, because in 128 games with the Canadiens he has 22 goals and 37 points. Those numbers simply cannot and will not be accepted going forward by Marc Bergevin and Michel Therrien; especially at a $3.3M cap hit.
The course of action is not simple though. The Canadiens are one of four teams that have already used their two compliance buyouts, (the other three are Philadelphia, Toronto and Boston), and Bourque has 2 years remaining on his deal. I would attempt to move him at any cost, if even possible. He is sadly plagued with having been moved here during the Pierre Gauthier era.
…And we sent Mike Cammalleri to the Flames in return.
Any thoughts? Leave them below.