While some are quick to say Bourque is struggling, the former AHL points leader is scoreless in 6 games, he has been a good soldier and tried to play through his offensive drought. He’s done the small things right, played hard and been physical even those he’s undersized and I’ve even seen him make a great defensive play or two.
It’s just not clicking right now and maybe the son of Ray Bourque just needs to step back and take some pressure off himself as he may be gripping his stick just a little too tight.
Here is what Bruins coach Claude Julien had to say about Bourque according to Boston.com: “I think he’s putting a lot of pressure on himself right now. He’s certainly not the Chris that we know. I’ve seen him enough to know he’s a really good skater. He’s a really good playmaker. Right now, he’s putting way too much pressure on himself. Hopefully we can help him through that. Once he takes that extra weight off his shoulders, we can see a player who can certainly be a much more efficient player than he’s shown so far.”
Bourque will now be a healthy scratch tonight and he gets to take a step back from the game and gritty Lane MacDermid gets his shot to show everyone what he can bring to the table for the B’s.
At 6’3″, MacDermid brings a bit more size and toughness to Boston’s lineup and they may just need every ounce of that toughness tonight when they take on the Sabres in what is expected to be a very physical and heated matchup (as are most Northeast Division games).
The Sabres didn’t try to hide the fact they needed to get tougher after being pushed around physically by the B’s and some other teams last year. So, in the offseason Buffalo brought in guys like Steve Ott and John Scott in an attempt to match Boston’s toughness and physicality.
While the moves haven’t helped the Sabres win many games yet as they’re currently riding a 4 game losing streak, the additions most assuredly have made Buffalo a more physical team and “tougher” to play against (at least in the brief glimpses I’ve seen).
All that newly acquired toughness in Buffalo will certainly be tested tonight on the Garden ice as the B’s boast a bevy of heavyweights themselves in Shawn Thornton, Adam McQuaid, Johnny Boychuk, Zdeno Chara, Milan Lucic, Gregory Campbell and now MacDermid.
MacDermid is expected to skate on the 4th line with Campbell and Thornton, while Daniel Paille will get a promotion up to the 3rd line with Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley. Speaking of Paille I’m glad to see him move up the ranks a bit, he’s been solid all season and could help the 3rd line get back on track as Kelly and Peverley have struggled a bit here in the early going.
Like I said before, many are anticipating a physical game between Buffalo and Boston, now it would appear the B’s are as well with the addition of a scrapper like MacDermid to the lineup.
I do know one thing for sure, like most games between the B’s and their division rivals, it should be one heck of a show with no shortage of fireworks.