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.”

SCHEDULE
 

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 51 24 7 228 221 109
2 y - STL 82 51 24 7 239 197 109
3 x - NSH 82 47 25 10 226 202 104
4 x - CHI 82 48 28 6 220 186 102
5 x - VAN 82 48 29 5 236 220 101
6 x - MIN 82 46 28 8 227 198 100
7 x - WPG 82 43 26 13 223 204 99
8 x - CGY 82 45 30 7 237 213 97
9 LAK 82 40 27 15 218 197 95
10 DAL 82 41 31 10 257 257 92
11 COL 82 39 31 12 209 223 90
12 SJS 82 40 33 9 224 226 89
13 EDM 82 24 44 14 193 276 62
14 ARI 82 24 50 8 165 267 56

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
F. Forsberg 82 26 37 15 63
M. Ribeiro 82 15 47 11 62
R. Josi 81 15 40 15 55
S. Weber 78 15 30 15 45
C. Smith 82 23 21 11 44
C. Wilson 77 20 22 19 42
M. Fisher 59 19 20 4 39
J. Neal 67 23 14 12 37
R. Ellis 58 9 18 8 27
S. Jones 82 8 19 3 27
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 41 17 6 .923 2.18
C. Hutton 6 7 4 .902 2.61