Sunday, September 28, 2008

Should he stay or should he go?

It's late and after a my second shade of red was stifled by a clash of maroon and orange, I feel it's time to return to my #1 team and get back in a hockey state of mind.

With the Capitals sitting at 3-0 on the pre-season, and another set of cuts to come, the question is, who deserves to stay and who will go to chocolate-town?

There are many young players who deserve a spot on the roster such as Carlson, Alzner, Perreault, but one sticks out to me as the feel good story worth rooting for.

Last March my father told me to look out for Chris Bourque. I agreed, but I wasn't expecting him to make an impression just yet.

Bourque suited up for the Capitals in four games last season during Hanlon's nose dive, but didn't record a single point in those games. I considered Bourque to be a player at least two to three years away from cracking the Caps roster.

But I should have known I wasn't giving the kid enough credit when Bourque told the Salem News this summer...

"I'll do anything I can to make the big club -- even be a fighter," Bourque, who has one career fighting major in three pro seasons, joked. "I'd probably get beat up all the time, but I'd be happy if it was in the NHL."

And fight he has, not with his fists, but with a nose for the goal.

Bourque has been a smart and solid in the pre-season. In last nights game against Boston, Bourque recorded a goal and an assist. In the pre-season opener in Carolina, he also got on the scoring sheet with a goal and an assist.

Pre-season success should be taken with a grain of salt. If we were to believe our pre-season hype, many might declare us a clear contender for the Stanley Cup.

But what we can appreciate is when a player is going above and beyond to earn a slot on the big club's roster. Bourque is playing with the intensity that each pre-season game might be he last chance to earn a slot on the roster this year.

Sadly though, the Capitals roster is likely to be full up and decided within the coming days.

There are many youngsters still hanging around that are definitely going to play in Hersey. For example goalie Simeon Varlamov has not been sent down, but why send down a training camp stand out when you can keep testing him against NHL talent?

I see this happening to the likes of Bourque and Perreault. Chances are, they won't make the team, but that's no reason to get upset. If it were up to me, they would first in line for a call up in the event of injury or a slump.

So does Bourque stay, or does he go to chocolate-town?

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