If the 2012-2013 NHL season does begin on time, it will do so without Rene Bourque. The Montreal Canadiens forward will be sidelined for the next 2-3 months after undergoing surgery to repair a tear in his abdominal. Bourque suffered the injury during offseason training, and will not be allowed to lace up his skates until early November, at the earliest.
Since being traded to the Canadiens from the Calgary Flames this past January for Michael Cammalleri, Bourque struggled during his time in Montreal. He scored five goals in 38 games, but is still hopeful that he can compete well enough to impress the organization and earn a spot on the team’s second line.
But if that is going to happen, Bourque will have to closer resemble the player who scored 27 goals in each of his past two full seasons with the Flames. If not, the trade is going to heavily favor Calgary going forward, as Cammalleri scored 11 goals and tallied 8 assists in just 28 games with the Flames following the deal.
“He scored 27 goals two years ago,”new Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said earlier this offseason. “I know he had an off year, but I’m not ready to write him off.”
At this point, Montreal has no choice but to ride it out and hope for the best from Bourque, although they may have to wait longer than they expected, provided we do start the upcoming NHL season on time, or at least as close as possible with a potential work stoppage looming largely on the horizon.
Barring any setbacks or further game delays, the Canadiens were hoping to play Bourque on the second line alongside Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta. But that may not be a possibility, at least at the start of the season. Other players who may now be able to wrest away the second line gig include Lars Eller, Louis Leblanc, Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher.