Like many a game in the storied past of the Boston Bruins, Saturday’s contest saw Bourque score the game-winning goal. This time it was not legendary defenseman Ray, but instead his son Chris Bourque; who scored his first NHL goal since 2008. That, coupled with a shutout from Tuukka Rask, was enough to down the Toronto Maple Leafs 1-0.
In 40 NHL games, this was only Bourque’s second career tally. Considering the family history with the club, this one may have been even more special for the Boston native than the first.
A former second round pick by the Washington Capitals, Bourque’s career likely hasn’t gone exactly as planned. Undersized by NHL standards, he was never able to crack the Caps’ lineup for more than eight games in a season during his seven seasons with the organization.
He was claimed off of waivers by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009, producing the only three assists of his career. Still, he was unable to stick with the club and was waived yet again, and claimed by the Caps (who promptly sent him to their AHL affiliate in Hershey).
Bourque seemingly gave up on his NHL dreams after that season, signing with Alant Moscow Region in the KHL. After producing only one point in eight games in Russia, he was released. He finally latched on with Lugano in Switzerland, producing a respectable 33 points in 39 games.
Returning to Hershey last season, Bourque led the AHL in scoring with 93 points (13 more than the next closest scorer). Despite his success, he did not receive a single call-up to Washington.
That offseason he was traded to the Boston Bruins for Zach Hamill. After being promised a fair shot at making the Bruins roster, he signed a two-year deal. After the lockout, the team made good on their promise. He was invited to the abridged training camp and made the team, playing in seven of the eight games this season.
His father played for over two decades before winning the Stanley Cup. With that in mind, perhaps patience is key for the Bourque family. After several years toiling in the minors and Europe, Bourque may have found a home on an NHL roster in Boston. The same Boston his father spent most of his career. The same Boston where Chris was born; and where he played his college hockey. His hockey career took him far away from Beantown, but perhaps his heart never left.