Chris Bourque has been around professional hockey players nearly his entire life. Yesterday, the 18-year-old son of Hall of Fame inductee Ray Bourque got his first NHL experience from the other side of the glass.
Although he was one of the smallest players on the ice, Bourque might have been the most impressive offensive prospect on the first day of Washington's developmental camp at Piney Orchard in Odenton, Md.
Bourque, a 5-foot-7, 170-pound center, blew past defenders with his speed and made others miss with the slick stickhandling that helped him accumulate 37 goals and 90 points in 31 games for Cushing Academy (Mass.) prep school last season.
"I can't wait to call [Ray]," Bourque said afterward. His dad played 22 seasons, finally winning a Stanley Cup with the Avalanche in 2001. "I'm going to tell that it was awesome, that it was everything I dreamed of."
The younger Bourque, taken in the second round (33rd overall), is headed to Boston University in the fall. Although he likely is several years from being ready for the NHL, he already has made a good first impression on Coach Glen Hanlon.
"There has to be something to be said about a young man who grew up in a hockey environment [because] there is an advantage," Hanlon said. "We interview the parents. We know what they do for a living. If you have Ray Bourque as your father, that would certainly have to enhance your opportunity to play in the National Hockey League."
Meantime, two of Washington's top prospects, wingers Alexander Semin and Eric Fehr, were sidelined with injuries. Semin sat out with a sprained ankle and Fehr, the team's 2003 first-round pick, is recovering from wrist surgery. Semin is day-to-day.
General Manager George McPhee wouldn't comment on the possibility of next season being disrupted by an expected work stoppage, saying only that the Capitals will operate "business as usual" until he is told otherwise. McPhee also said that he's okay with Alexander Ovechkin, whom the team chose with the No. 1 overall pick last month, remaining in Russia to train with Moscow Dynamo because he is skating with more mature, higher-caliber players.
-- Tarik El-Bashir