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12-10-2012, 08:43 PM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Bourque seems to be sort of an enigma here. He isn't - it is quite simple really.
Watch Bourque play a few years ago. Watch him play now. What has changed? Bourque was much more of a 'bull' in the china shop. For a short time, he was even heralded as the player to pick up after Jarome leaves. Watch Bourque play, and he used to sometimes just take a game over. Great shot, and when he is playing a power-forward type game, he is truly a 'beast'. No overrating here - when Bourque is on his game, he IS A BEAST and can take over a game.
So, what has changed? Some people say: "He doesn't care anymore", "he is lazy", etc. Well, to be honest, it was rare to see him put 10 great games together at any one time. Inconsistency is definitely an issue with his game, but he is being paid 3.5 million/year (if memory serves me) not 7 million. If he was consistent every game, he would be one of the higher scoring forwards in the league - add his physicality into the equation, and he would be a 'stud' in this league.
His contract = his output (or it has, up until this past year). What happened to Bourque? Why does he not 'take over a game' any longer? Why doesn't he play with that 'edge'?
Concussions. I saw him struggle to get back to that type of player. When he did, he got another concussion. That is why he plays a somewhat perimeter game nowadays. He isn't one of those slick high hockey-IQ type of players that does well on the rush. He is a 'north-south' type of honest player that crashes the net. He tries to play that way, he gets his noggin run. I think this is Bourque trying to stay healthy now.
I don't blame him. I can't remember how many concussions he has had in his career, but I honestly think that he did his best to fight through them and maintain his playing style. I feel really bad for him more than anything.
The 'infamous' night that Hrudey called him out on national TV - Hrudey was both wrong and right. Bourque does possess the ability to be a PPG player - one of the scoring leaders in the NHL, with game-breaking ability. He was 100% right on that. What he was wrong on was: "He has no heart, he doesn't care, and he should apologize to the rest of the Calgary Flames players." Many fans felt the same way in Calgary. They saw the old Rene Bourque take over games at times, even challenge Iginla for the top RW position (pushed Iginla, especially at the beginning of every season). He was that good. To see him not do the things that have made him successful - fans and some media personalities assumed he had no 'heart' left.
I think Bourque is just scared to have his career end with another concussion. It is unfortunate that he is only effective when playing that physical game. That is how I see Bourque now - someone just trying to hang on maintaining his health after having some 'scares'. I really do believe that he is one concussion away from being out of the NHL, and I am betting he believes the same thing.
Inconsistent in his game? Yes, he has always been inconsistent. Uncaring... I don't buy it - not when you see his concussion history, and follow his play after coming back from each one. He is just a guy trying to hang on and be able to walk away from this game still being able to live a normal life. That is what I see in Rene Bourque now. From reckless, to overly-cautious.
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