CALGARY – Tuesday night’s tilt won’t be just any other game for Rene Bourque.
Having spent exactly half of his seven-year NHL career to date as a member of the Calgary Flames, Bourque wasn’t sure what to expect the first time he walked by into the Saddledome after being traded in January. It didn’t take long for him to start feeling the nostalgia when he arrived for the pre-game skate.
| Rene Bourque's first goal as a Hab
“It’s different, especially coming to the rink and getting dressed in the visitors’ locker room for the first time in four years,” admitted Bourque, who played 249 games as a member of the Flames. “I’m excited to play tonight. I don’t think it will be anything special. I don’t think I’m going to be booed. Well, hopefully not.”
Having already made the quick transition to Montreal life, Bourque will have a chance to take care of some unfinished business when he hits the ice in Calgary as a Hab for the first time. Before doing that, the 30-year-old winger took advantage of the opportunity to tie up some other loose ends in his old stomping grounds on Monday night.
“I own a house here and I went there last night. I didn’t have much time to get my stuff sent to Montreal so I went and got some more clothes and I brought back some of the stuff I had brought there with me,” shared the Lac-la-Biche, AB native, who didn’t arrive home to any rotting produce in his fridge. ”Thankfully I had some people to help me with that. I left some keys for family so they could come take care of it and they come check on it every few weeks. But I’m going to sell it this summer.”
Having had the opportunity to watch their son play in his home province for three-and-a-half years, the Bourque clan unfortunately won’t be on hand to watch him take on his former team in person.
“My parents are actually in Hawaii – they booked their trip before I got traded so I won’t see them,” admitted Bourque with a laugh. “I’ve been through it before when I played in Chicago. I think that was more of a shock to play my first game back in Chicago [with the Flames] but I’m kind of used to it now.
“I don’t think I’ll be as nervous as I was a few years back. I’m not really worried about that,” he added. “I’m going to just go out there and play my game. I would like to beat my old team obviously. Hopefully the guys come ready to play tonight.”
In case his teammates need a little added incentive to drop the 12th place Flames even further out of playoff contention, Habs scoring leader David Desharnais has a feeling his new teammate will be sweetening the pot by putting some money up on the board before puck drop.
“Rene is part of this team and it’s always nice when a guy is playing against his old team to be able to get him that win. For sure it’s a little extra motivation for us,” offered Desharnais, who still doesn’t know the amount Bourque will be offering up to whoever pots the game-winning goal. “Maybe we’ll find out tonight just before the game. But believe me, we know this is important for him.”
Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.