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Bourque Pushing For Time With Big Club

Tuesday, 09.27.2011 / 4:38 PM CT / Training Camp Central
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Bourque Pushing For Time With Big Club
It’s difficult to sum up Gabriel Bourque as a hockey player.

No part of his game is exceptionally better than another part. There’s no signature style, no overwhelming ‘wow’ factor.

And this is actually a good thing.

Bourque, 21, is one of 32 remaining players on the Nashville Predators training camp roster. Since the start of camp, the forward has provided elements that a coaching staff loves, but that are sometimes easily overlooked by fans. He is dependable, features an all-around game and has established himself as a solid two-way player.

“He pays attention and wants to learn,” Predators assistant Coach Lane Lambert said. “He’s very coachable. Because of that, he’s turned himself into a reliable player on both sides of the puck. That’s the thing about being a young player, you have to gain trust. He’s established that side of his game. It’s not perfect. It’s never perfect. But there is certainly a reliability factor with him.”

Lambert would know. He was the head coach in Milwaukee last year when Bourque (5-10, 192 pounds) played 78 regular games and registered 36 points (18 goals, 18 assists). But it was in the postseason when Lambert saw Bourque’s ability to elevate his game. In 12 playoff games with the Admirals in 2010-11, Bourque had seven goals and six assists (13 points). As Lambert says, “He always seems to make something happen when he’s on the ice.”

Bourque’s playoff performance was the latest in a series of confidence builders. One of the most important – and noticeable – came during the 2010 World Junior Championships when he played for Team Canada. In the opener against Latvia, he had three goals and four assists to tie a Team Canada record for points in one game at the WJC.

And Bourque, who the Predators took in the fifth round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, is having another confidence builder with this season’s training camp. He started strong with a dominating performance during the Preds Rookie Camp. Teamed with Craig Smith and Taylor Beck, the three were the best forward line at the rookie tournament in South Florida, leading Nashville's rookie squad to 2-0-0 record. The Beck, Bourque, Smith line accounted for seven of the team's 10 goals in the two games.

“I think I’ve tried to make simple plays, play hard and do what (the coaching staff) wants me to do, like makes some plays, throw the puck at the net and bring energy to the team,” Bourque said. “I know I can play well and do some good things on the ice. I need to do what I do best.”

One of Bourque’s best attributes is an off-the-ice approach that carries over to his game. His maturity level is something to marvel at, especially considering he turned 21 last week.

“He’s a very prepared individual,” Lambert said. “He turned pro last year and sometimes there’s a big curve when you’re turning pro and becoming a pro. Part of that is learning how to be properly prepared. He didn’t really have that curve. He was so keen on the game and getting to where he wants to be. That curve for him is very, very small.”

Also helping Bourque’s chances of making it to the NHL is the coaching staff’s familiarity with him. He is a homegrown product who is doing the necessary work that many current Predators did before him.

“It’s a great organization,” Bourque said. “I think they like me and they give me a chance to improve my play. I don’t know what’s going to happen this year but I’m pretty excited.”

SMASHVILLE CENTRAL

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HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 CHI 58 36 18 4 160 134 76
2 DAL 55 35 15 5 178 147 75
3 STL 57 31 17 9 138 133 71
4 LAK 54 33 18 3 151 128 69
5 COL 58 29 25 4 155 160 62
6 SJS 53 28 20 5 154 143 61
7 ANA 53 26 19 8 120 125 60
8 NSH 55 25 21 9 142 148 59
9 MIN 54 23 21 10 133 134 56
10 VAN 54 22 20 12 125 144 56
11 ARI 53 24 23 6 139 163 54
12 CGY 53 25 25 3 143 156 53
13 WPG 54 24 27 3 139 157 51
14 EDM 56 22 29 5 138 168 49

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Josi 55 11 29 -2 40
F. Forsberg 55 18 18 -7 36
S. Weber 55 14 21 -5 35
M. Ribeiro 55 6 28 3 34
J. Neal 55 20 13 18 33
M. Ekholm 55 6 19 3 25
R. Ellis 54 6 16 2 22
C. Smith 55 11 7 -1 18
C. Jarnkrok 54 9 8 0 17
C. Wilson 38 4 12 -1 16
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 20 18 8 .902 2.57
C. Hutton 5 2 1 .916 2.36