|Chris Bourque not worried he’ll be replaced at trade deadline||03.04.13 at 3:21 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — As the trade deadline approaches, players on bad teams worry about being moved, but players on good teams worry about being replaced. Not too many Bruins should have reason to worry about that, but Chris Bourque probably tops that list.
With less than a month to go before the trade deadline, enough of the season has been played for teams to diagnose potential weaknesses and where upgrades could be needed. In the Bruins’ case, there isn’t much not to like.
Tyler Seguin is finally hitting his stride after a slow start and the Bruins’ top two lines have been very productive. The defense has been strong as usual, and though Andrew Ference isn’t having his best season, the B’s shouldn’t actively seek anything more than a potential depth move on the back end. Tuukka Rask has been healthy and strong, so between the offensive production, solid defensive play and sound goaltending, you’d have to nitpick to find an area that needs upgrading.
That’s why Bourque’s name has come up so much. The Bruins have grown accustomed to getting more production out of the third line, and Bourque has gone from the third line left wing to the fourth line Saturday to a healthy scratch Sunday, which was his second of the season. He was taken off the power play late in Saturday’s win against the Lightning before eventually sitting vs. the Canadiens.
With there little not to like about this Bruins team, Bourque has been a target for criticism from the get-go. The chemistry with Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley — two guys who gelled with the likes of Michael Ryder and Benoit Pouliot in the past two years — wasn’t there, so it’s no surprise that B’s fans were hoping for a Ryder redux prior to last week’s deal that sent the veteran sniper from Dallas to Montreal.
Despite Ryder no longer being an option, you would think that a winger for that Kelly line would be at the top of Peter Chiarelli’s shopping list as April 3 draws nearer. If the Bruins were to upgrade on the third line, Bourque wouldn’t be of much use as a fourth-liner, so he would likely suffer the same fate that Joe Corvo did last season when Boston replaced him in the lineup with Greg Zanon.
For now, Bourque isn’t worried that the trade deadline will mean him losing his spot in being lineup.
“Everyone’s here to win,” Bourque said Monday. “If they bring more guys in, that’s what they’re going to do. I can’t control any of that stuff. I’ve got to control what I can control and that’s it.”
In 17 games this season, Bourque has one goal and three assists for four points and a minus-4 rating. With three more games, the 27-year-old will have tied his career high with 20 games played, which he did in the 2009-10 season with the Penguins. The question at the beginning of the season was whether Bourque would be the season-long answer with Kelly and Peverley after being given the job in camp, but he’s yet to secure a stranglehold on the spot.
In the meantime, Bourque says his mindset hasn’t changed from one game to the next. He’s going to assume he’s in the lineup and he’s going to assume he’ll be given more opportunities. Time might be running out for him to make a lasting statement though.
“You come to the rink ready to play,” Bourque said. “If you don’t, then you’re not coming to the rink with the right attitude. You’ve just got to stay positive and be ready at all times.”
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