Tag Archives: Marc-Andre Bourdon

With Gustafsson Up, Lilja Top Candidate To Sit

12 Jan

He waited and waited and played five games with the Phantoms. Finally, Erik Gustafsson gets the chance to pick up where he left off. On Nov. 5, his last game with the Flyers, he was a plus-6, played a career-high 23 minutes and got his first NHL point on an assist. Then he missed almost two months of action with a wrist injury.

The Flyers called Gustafsson up on Wednesday and sent Matt Walker down to the AHL. The team has been lacking something on the blue line, not that Walker was part of the problem. He hasn’t been able to crack the lineup.

But Andreas Lilja has and he may be the one, instead of rookie Marc-Andre Bourdon, to sit as a healthy scratch. Lilja has been steadily losing ice time to Bourdon, who continues to improve and has even contributed a couple points. He had a goal in Sunday’s loss to the Senators. He seems unlikely to sit with Gustafsson back in the fold.

Some have wondered if Gustafsson has been at full strength, whether he could even take a slapshot. But he was firing from the point at Citizens Bank Park. He said that he was ready even then, but was trying not to think about a comeback to the NHL.

It was a huge disappointment for Gustafsson to miss time. When he went down injured, he was clearly playing his best hockey at the NHL level.

“It was really frustrating at the start there,” said Gustafsson last Friday. “I tried to put that aside and then when I had to have the surgery I was trying to stay positive. It was for sure really frustrating, but I’m just gonna keep working hard right now. It feels pretty good right now and I hope I get another crack at it.”

He was a plus-2 with two shots on net in the Outdoor Classic against Hershey and wants to get back to his old form. He played another game after the Outdoor Classic and registered an assist. According to Gustafsson, his conditioning was the only thing that wasn’t 100 percent. Now it will be tested at the highest level.

Bourdon Cashes In On Big-League Opportunity

13 Dec

WASHINGTON — He was the first player on the ice for morning skate. Not for the Adirondack Phantoms, but for the Philadelphia Flyers. If someone said that about Marc-Andre Bourdon last season, it probably would have garnered a few laughs. The third-round pick of the 2008 draft mostly sat in the AHL and was ragged on for conditioning problems, but now he’s one of the hardest-working Flyers.

The hard work was reward in the second period when at 7:23 of the middle stanza against the Washington Capitals in Tuesday night’s win, Bourdon got his first NHL goal.

“He’s been rock solid,” said Peter Laviolette. “His head is up. He makes a good first pass. He’s been physical. He looks really comfortable out there. His opportunity of getting some minutes has grown to increased minutes and someone we now count on and rely on. It’s good for him. I’m happy for him because he’s a guy that’s been to the minors a couple times and he gets called up and he gets an opportunity. He’s played terrific; he gets his first goal tonight. Lots of positives.”

Even from the bench, Kimmo Timonen can tell that Bourdon has not just promise, but the skills necessary to compete in the NHL.

“It’s one of those things that as an older guy you watch a lot of young guys coming into the league and these are the things you watch,” said Timonen. “If they can’t do that, it’s gonna be hard for them to have a long career, but once a guy makes good plays every time almost and position-wise he’s in the right spot.

“These are the things you can’t teach. It’s hockey sense and if you don’t have those things you’re not gonna play a really long time in the NHL, but these guys have them and he’s gonna have a long career I think.”

Bourdon, 22, would love to stick around. He says he feels good playing at the NHL level and that his time with the Phantoms has suited him well for this.

“I just feel more comfortable here because all the guys are in the right spot and everybody knows the system,” said Bourdon. “When I take the puck in the corner, I lift my head up and there’s always an outlet for me. I play with Matt Carle; he’s really smart. He always gives me good passes, always in a good position. I think it makes it easier.”

Bourdon made it easier on himself by coming to camp in better shape this year. He is listed at 6-foot, 206 pounds and is using it well. In years past, he didn’t look prepared to compete with his conditioning sub-par.

“I had a concussion last year and I finished the season in the East Coast [Hockey League],” Bourdon recalled. “I think that made me realize that you don’t have 17 chances like that in your life and I worked really hard this summer and I worked really hard down there too. I changed my practicing habit and I think it paid off.”

He had to wait two years, but in his third season since being drafted, Bourdon is finally seeing NHL action. Although Chris Pronger, Erik Gustafsson and Andreas Lilja played a role in why he’s up here, he’s proving to the Flyers that he’s capable of staying.

Flyers Turn To Youth To Replace Pronger

1 Dec

It certainly is familiar territory. The Flyers will have to deal with life without Chris Pronger once again. The 37-year-old captain had surgery on Tuesday to remove loose bodies in his left knee and will miss a month of action. It is his fifth documented surgery in 16 months.

Last year, the Flyers had to deal with his absence twice. The first time, they went 9-4-0 without him from Dec. 18 to Jan. 18. Then, down the stretch when the wheels started coming off, they were 6-4-6 to finish the regular season. Then they found themselves down 3-2 in a playoff series before he came back and played all of 4:33 against the Buffalo Sabres in Game 6 — but the Flyers won.

This time around, the fate of the season isn’t in question just yet, but his absence is still troubling. The Flyers are also without Erik Gustafsson and Andreas Lilja; both are on long-term injured reserve along with Pronger.

Marc-Andre Bourdon and Kevin Marshall are currently filling one-third of the Flyers’ defensive corps. They have between them a whopping six games of NHL experience. While they’ve done well in relief, that is still somewhat concerning. The Flyers could use some extra help from another defenseman.

“It’s not like they grow on trees,” said Paul Holmgren on Tuesday. “I’m not sure if anybody has an excess of defensemen right now. People I that I talk to, it seems like everybody is looking for a defenseman now, not looking to trade one.”

The general manager admitted that he’s at least getting on the phone and seeing what is out there. The Flyers have 49 contracts, one shy of the league-mandated limit.

“We’re talking about a lot of things here,” said Holmgren on Monday, when the Flyers announced that Pronger would need the surgery.

It’s unsure exactly what direction they’re going in, but if they make a move it’s almost certainly going to come on the blue line. Despite Internet rumors, the Flyers are probably not in on Cherry Hill, N.J. native Bobby Ryan. The Flyers’ need is on the blue line, not the offensive forefront. Also, Ryan makes $5.1 million. Sure, the Flyers would fit that with whatever package they moved back to Anaheim, but what about when Pronger returns from long-term injured reserve? His $4.91 million cap hit will come back too. Then what?

Even though the Flyers may have some artificial cap relief right now, when Pronger, Gustafsson and Lilja return, money will be a concern once again. If the Flyers opt to go outside the organization for help, it probably won’t be an expensive piece.

Also in the back of Holmgren’s mind is that it’s only December. Yes, Pronger is undoubtedly a huge part of the team and has had trouble staying in the lineup, but the season isn’t even half over yet. It would not be wise to blow up the team just for a potential replacement.

While some bloggers and fans await a blockbuster deal, it is far more likely that the Flyers make a minor move, if any at all. Otherwise, look for Bourdon and Marshall to stay with the team while the Flyers wait it out. After all, it’s not like this is the first time Chris Pronger has been missing in action.

Despite Loss, Night Was A Success For Bourdon, Marshall

22 Nov

WELLS FARGO CENTER — It could have read like a bumper sticker: “I drove all the way here from Glens Falls and all I got was this 4-2 loss.” But Marc-Andre Bourdon and Kevin Marshall don’t see it that way. Both defensemen made their NHL debuts Monday night and despite traveling about 900 miles in three days, they looked pretty good.

Perhaps it didn’t show on the scoresheet, but for two players who played Sunday night, drove to Glens Falls, N.Y. then took a six-hour drive down to Philadelphia, the two Flyers draft picks made the right impression.

“We were kind of tired a little bit because we traveled a lot, but I was so pumped and the adrenaline was there because it was my first game,” said Bourdon. “My three first shifts, my nerves weren’t exactly there, then I just got going. I moved the puck and I think I did what I had to do.”

Early on in the game, Bourdon made his presence felt. As Anthony Stewart dumped the puck into the Flyers’ zone, Bourdon met him at the edge of the Flyers’ bench with a bone-crushing hit and was called for interference.

“First of all, I don’t think it was a penalty,” said Bourdon. “I could have got him better, but I saw there was the post there on the side and it reminded me of the [Zdeno] Chara-[Max] Pacioretty thing, so it kind of made me slow down a bit. I didn’t want to run him into there, but it was definitely nice defense. It was cool.”

He finished the night with 15:49 of ice time, more than his defensive partner Andreas Lilja who had 14:25. Before the game, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said that Bourdon is a puck-moving defenseman and sure enough, the 22-year-old pinched in the play a lot. He was also responsible defensively, blocking a pair of shots in his own end.

“I wanted to show them that I could move the puck well and be solid defensively and hit too,” said Bourdon. “I think that’s what I did tonight. For sure, in the third and the second we pinched up more because we were losing, so I just tried to stick to the system. The coach asked us to pinch because we were down one.”

Marshall was a minus-1, but looked strong alongside Matt Carle who played the role of Chris Pronger, his usual defensive partner, as veteran leader and quarterback.

“At first I had a little butterflies like everybody else in his first NHL game, but being with all those veterans, I had a lot of ice time with Matty Carle and he was making the game so much easier for me,” said Marshall. “That’s what veterans are there for and they make me feel comfortable and I think for a first game I did pretty good.”

“I thought both those guys played pretty well, considering the circumstances,” said Carle. “I think they both played two games this past weekend. They played a lot coming into the game and we talked early on before the game started, just about what we wanted to do and how we wanted to play certain situations and I thought they both did pretty well.”

Despite losing in their first NHL game, the defensemen see the night as a success.

“I would have liked to win no matter where I am,” said Bourdon. “The goal of the hockey game is to win, so for sure I’m pissed we lost, but on the personal side, I think I did what I had to do and I showed that I was able to play here and I was able to.”

It’s been four years since Marshall was drafted and three since Bourdon was selected by the Flyers. It seems like a long time to wait, but they’re both only 22-years-old. Surely they’ve been chopping at the bit to stick around, and after one game, they feel like they’re ready to stay in the NHL.

“I’m just playing and I’m doing my best,” said Bourdon. “That’s not my decision, but I felt great tonight out there and I felt like I belong here. It doesn’t mean I belong here now, but I just felt good out there, I felt comfortable.”

There has been a lot of time spent on the road over the past three days for Bourdon and Marshall, but so far it’s been worth it. The road back to Glens Falls will add nearly 300 more miles to their journey, but whenever that trip back is made, they see it as well worth the drive.

Pronger, Coburn Both Day-To-Day

21 Nov

WELLS FARGO CENTER — It’s not just Jaromir Jagr. The Flyers are shorthanded another two players. Braydon Coburn is day-to-day with an upper-body injury that he suffered in Winnipeg against the Jets on Saturday.

“We’re hoping he can be back within a game or two,” said general manager Paul Holmgren.

Coburn took part in the morning skate, but is not cleared for contact according to Holmgren.

Chris Pronger is also day-to-day with a virus.

“Once we get some tests run on him, we’ll have a little better idea,” said Holmgren. “But right now, we’re gonna list him as day-to-day too.”

One man’s injury is another man’s opportunity and for the Flyers it means the NHL debut for Kevin Marshall and Marc-Andre Bourdon.

Marshall, 22, was drafted in the second round of the 2007 draft by the Flyers, but has never cracked the lineup in the regular season. With the Phantoms he has one goal in 15 games this season.

“Well it felt pretty good,” said Marshall about getting his first call-up. “It’s been a while that I’ve been in the organization, but still I’m 22-years-old. It’s a pretty good feeling right now. Hopefully we’ll get a good game tonight.

“To be honest, I had a little sleep last night because you’re thinking a lot and stuff like that. To get that call, it feels pretty good.”

Bourdon was picked in the third round of the 2008 draft. He will make his NHL debut as well in for an injured Braydon Coburn. In 14 games with the Phantoms this season, the 6-foot, 225-pound defenseman has three assists.

“I’m gonna play just like I was playing down there, to win the game and get two points in the standings,” said Bourdon. “I’m gonna do my best to help the team.

“It’s my first game ever, so I’ve just got to keep it simple and do some good work.”

The Flyers are once again forced to get creative with the accounting and roster decisions. They have sent Harry Zolnierczyk down to the Trenton Titans of the ECHL with the objective of bringing him back within the next couple days. They also placed Erik Gustafsson on the long-term injured reserve. That clears up two roster spaces and allows the Flyers an allowance of $900,000, which Gustafsson makes at the NHL level.