From a 2010 article found on fortheloveofhockey.com:
With five goals in the past two games, Calgary Flames winger Rene Bourque is red hot.
Some of the credit might have to go to his stick, which he only uses for games — not practices.
With good reason, Bourque is babying his magic wand. It’s a new model and he has only one in his possession. Following Monday’s practice, he seems almost embarrassed by the stick’s sudden notoriety. Pressed, he supplies background.
“It had been sitting in my locker for a while,” says Bourque. “So I gave it a shot the other night.”
In its debut Friday, it propelled three pucks into the net against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
At that point, Bourque decided to protect the precious twig.
He kept it out of harm’s way during the warm-up of Sunday’s match against the San Jose Sharks. Only at game time did he dare to shake it out of its scabbard. The result, two more goals.
Now Bourque, who typically mows through a stick per game, will ease his new best friend into Tuesday’s contest against the Edmonton Oilers. He’s not optimistic about its survival.
“I don’t know how much that one has left. We’ll see,” he says. “It’s already almost broke, so it probably won’t even last the game.”
The stick company has promised an airlift of reinforcements.
“They always tell you that,” says Bourque.
Coincidentally, last November, Flames captain Jarome Iginla scalded the circuit for 13 goals in 14 games — en route to being named NHL player of the month — after changing blade patterns.
He opted for a bigger curve, then went nuts.
Bourque’s tinkering had been about control.
“A little more blade on the ice,” says the 28-year-old, who’d wanted a model with a more upright lie. “I felt like I was losing the puck a lot when I was stickhandling . . . off the toe of my stick, especially on my backhand. A minor change, but it’s been working well. So I’m going to stick with it.”
His recent heroics — six tallies, including three game-winners — earned him NHL first star of the week honours.
“Any time anybody’s on fire, pucks are going in the net,” says Bourque. “This would be a tough week to repeat at any time on any team, no matter who you’re playing with or who you’re playing against.
“It’s weird — you can’t really think about how you’re going to score a goal. It just happens.”
It seems like an appropriate time to ask the Lac La Biche, Alta., native about the spotlight — specifically, his level of comfort while in it.
“Oh, I don’t mind,” says Bourque, who, hemmed into his dressing-room stall by microphones and cameras, does appear at ease. “It’s not bad. I don’t think I’m getting any more attention . . . there’s so much media here every day. So it doesn’t make a difference. Maybe a few more interviews here or there. It’s easy to deal with when it’s positive.
“But I don’t know how (Iginla) does it every day — when you think about it — and for so long.”
One of the most striking elements of Bourque’s roll is the timing — immediately after recovering from an injury. He had been sidelined for more than a week after a head injury against the Los Angeles Kings on Oct. 10. He missed two games and most of the team’s on-ice sessions.
Yet he stayed rust-free.
“It was weird because I didn’t skate for a whole week — I practised once and played,” says Bourque, who stroked an overtime winner Oct. 19 at Nashville. “I felt really rested when I came back.”
Teammate Craig Conroy says Bourque’s recent hot streak is just the beginning.
“I’ve said it before — he could be a 40-goal guy, maybe more,” the veteran centre says. “He just has to keep that confidence and just build on it. Because, at 28 years old, he’s a young guy with some great years ahead of him. But this looks like his coming-out party right now.”
Thank you very much,
The Eleven Hockey Team
Share with friends:June 08, 2012