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September 28, 2012

Bourque brothers hope strong AHL showing will eventually lead to NHL callups

(Continued)

It’s hard to believe, but today starts the 26-year-old Chris Bourque’s eighth pro hockey season. The majority of that time was spent in the Washington Capitals’ organization (with short stints in Pittsburgh as well as Russia and Switzerland). He has played primarily in the AHL; just 33 of his 455 pro games have been at the NHL level — something he’d like to change.

“In the back of my mind, ever since I signed (a two-way contract with the Bruins), I’ve wanted to make the big team out of camp,” said the 5-foot-8, 180-pound winger. “I love Hershey, but it was time for me to move on and Boston gave me that chance by trading for me. Now it’s a clean slate and I’m very, very happy with the position I’m in.”

There seems to be a permanent job in Boston there for the taking on the team’s third line, something the one-time Boston University Terrier would love to fill.

“That’s the carrot at the end of the stick for me,” admitted Chris, who grew up with his family in Danvers. “I’m hoping all my hard work pays off and the lockout ends soon so I can go after it.”

Ryan, five years younger than Chris, is in a bit different scenario. Drafted in the third round by the New York Rangers in 2009, he played junior hockey in Quebec for two seasons before turning pro last year.

The 5-foot-9, 170-pound winger impressed the Rangers’ brass enough that he was brought to Europe on the team’s preseason trip and was one of the last cuts, spending his rookie season in the AHL with the Whale.

“It was a very valuable year in my development, I’d say,” said Ryan Bourque, who scored six goals and 14 points in 69 games in 2011-12. “Going to Europe with the Rangers was a great experience and gave me confidence in myself and my game. When I got to Connecticut, I just tried to listen to everyone and learn as much as I could about adapting to the pro game: the speed, the strength, how long it is, things like that.

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