Ray Bourque on M&M: Dougie Hamilton ‘a little bit like I was at that age’
|01.16.13 at 2:19 pm ET|
Bruins legend Ray Bourque talked with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday about the end of the NHL lockout, his son’s play at Bruins camp, and Dougie Hamilton‘s situation as a promising teenage defenseman.
Through Celebrities for Charities, Bourque is sponsoring a raffle in which the winner gets to watch the Bruins’ season-opener with him and his family — an opportunity many Bruins fans would love no matter what, but even more so considering that Chris Bourque could be taking the ice.
“He is so excited about the opportunity,” Bourque said of his son. “This kid grew up in the old Garden and the FleetCenter and the new Garden, skating. I’d bring him to the rink as much as as I could, two, three times a week, and he’d start skating. He was on skates at 2½. Chris and his brother Ryan ran around that room and drove the trainers crazy for many, many years. To put that Bruins jersey on last night [in the Bruins' scrimmage against the AHL Providence Bruins] and go out and play in the Garden was a real thrill for him.
“I wasn’t at the game last night — I actually went and saw my younger son Ryan play in Portland as part of the Rangers’ farm team — but I’m really excited and hoping to see [Chris] this weekend. And I got a lot of texts saying he played well and did a good job.”
Bourque also weighed in on Hamilton, who will try to establish himself as a high-scoring 19-year-old Bruins defenseman this year, just as Bourque himself once did.
“The position is not an easy one to play in the NHL at a young age,” Bourque said. “But I’ve got to say, he’s coming into such a good situation, just like I did. I didn’t come in with an expansion team or where expectations are for you to carry a load, to be the savior. He’s just here to do his job and play his game, and his game is a very good game.
“He’s got a lot of talent, he’s got great size, he’s got all the tools. Who knows how it’s going to start, but this kid could play for the Bruins for many many years. It’s a comfortable situation to come into as a young guy you’re supported by so many veterans. Guys like [Zdeno] Chara and [Dennis] Seidenberg and their whole defense corps are very solid and such great veterans in how they go about their business and how they prepare and all that stuff. For a young guy to see that and to live that, there’s no better situation to be in, and I know they’re going to be right there in terms of support for him and giving him advice. Just watching with your own eyes and seeing how they’re doing their job will be great for him.
“I met him the other night. He was at my restaurant, Tresca, and he was coming out. Very quiet, very shy, a little bit like I was at that age. I just spoke to him for a little bit and look forward to talking with him more. He’s excited about the opportunity. I think we’re going to see him around this year, but many, many years to come, we’re going to see this guy and he’s going to be a big part of the Bruins.”
Following are some highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
On the end of the lockout: “I always thought it was going to kind of be the same scenario we had in ’94 where we started playing in January, the same thing with the 48-game schedule. I really did think that it was going to settle in late December, late January like it did. But it was more hope than anything else, because I would have hated to have seen another season go by like ’04 without hockey. That wouldn’t have helped anybody.”
On the effects of a shorter season and training camp: “It was intense, and I don’t know if we had anybody playing overseas. I think a lot of the guys will be in a lot better position this year — the Bruins had 10 or more guys playing overseas, some guys playing in the minors. I think that’s really going to help a lot of players.
“Back then, it was pretty tough, but everyone was in the same boat because not that many guys were skating overseas. I’m anxious to see how it’s going to go, how they’ll jell together, how long it’s going to take. I think what the Bruins have going for them is they have a veteran group with the same coaching staff, the same systems, and they know so much about the system and they’re so well coached that I think the Bruins really have an advantage going back into the season this year.”
On his prediction for the Patriots-Ravens game: “I love the Pats, but I don’t know if they’re going to cover. It’s going to be a close game. But I think the Patriots are going to win.”
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