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Thursday, January 31, 2013
Bourque letting pressure get to him

By James Murphy

BOSTON -- Bruins forward Chris Bourque was one of the last players off the ice Thursday, and it was pretty clear and later confirmed by coach Claude Julien that Bourque would be watching the Sabres-Bruins battle at TD Garden from the press box as a healthy scratch. Bourque has gone pointless in his first six games with the team that his Hall of Fame father, Ray, played for.

When asked on Thursday what was wrong, the answer was pretty simple: “I’m not scoring,” Bourque said with a smile.

Bourque racked up 93 points for the Washington Capitals' AHL affiliate the Hershey Bears last season, and had shown promise in Providence with 28 points in 32 games. The Bruins are hoping he'll provide an extra scoring punch to the third line with Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley, or boost the power play. Neither has occurred thus far, and Bourque thinks he may be putting too much pressure on himself.

“I don’t know if it’s the pressure that I’m putting on myself ... I just want it to happen so bad,” Bourque said. “I always put a lot of pressure on myself and when I’m not producing the pressure mounts. I just need to stop thinking about it so much and go out there and play. When I was racking up those points I was just going out there and having fun and playing my game. Right now it’s not fun and I need to just focus and maybe stop being so hard on myself.”

Julien agreed that Bourque, who, at 27, still hasn’t found a way to stick at the NHL level, has let the pressure seep into his game.

“I had a good talk with Chris this morning," said Julien. "I think he’s putting a lot of pressure on himself right now, certainly not the Chris that we know. I’ve seen him enough to know that he’s a really good skater, he’s a really good playmaker, but I think right now he’s putting way too much pressure on himself. Hopefully, we can help him through that and once he takes that extra weight off his shoulders you’re going to see a player that can certainly be a much more efficient player than he’s shown so far.”

Bourque did joke, though, that if he has to be a healthy scratch, tonight's Adams Division battle between the Sabres and Bruins was a good time for it.

“I’m thinking this is a good one to sit out for a guy my size,” the 5-foot-8 Bourque said. “I’m guessing the only guy I may be able to take would be [Nathan] Gerbe.”