SUN Hockey Pool

Bourque to dilute Oil-base

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:33 AM ET

There is no question about it, Lac La Biche is Oilers country.

Rene Bourque's hometown, some 225 km northeast of Edmonton, is filled with fans of the squad that is now his biggest rival.

It's something he was reminded of after being traded to the Flames from the Chicago Blackhawks earlier this summer.

"There's a few Calgary Flames fans, and I'm sure there will be more now," Bourque said yesterday.

"I'll have to give hats to the kids in junior high and grade school before it's too late for them."

That can be a plan of attack next summer for Bourque, one of the five Flames newcomers officially introduced to the Calgary media yesterday.

Between then and now, though, the 26-year-old left winger has bigger issues to sort through.

The most important being where he fits in with his new team.

Sure, his role on the Flames will take time to sort out, and can't begin to be decided until training camp begins next month, but like so many others, he's tried to jot down a depth chart to see where he'll be skating.

"It's easy to think the first line will be (Daymond) Langkow, (Michael) Cammalleri, (Jarome) Iginla -- that's me guessing, so there would be a spot on the second line," Bourque said.

"I want to play my best and get the chance to play the most minutes and if I can be on the second line, that would be a good deal."

"I'm sure I'm going to get a chance to play quite a bit of minutes. There are a lot of forwards on this team and I'm sure everybody will have their role."

Based on his projected top line, that leaves a second line anchored by Matthew Lombardi at centre and Todd Bertuzzi on right wing. Which means an opening to battle for on left wing. Curiously, Bourque's natural spot.

But don't for a second believe he thinks it's a foregone conclusion.

After all, Bourque's career appeared to be on such a quick climb when he compiled 16 goals and 34 points in a strong rookie season in 2005-06, but injuries limited his production in both of the last two campaigns, and saw his spot in a key role with the Blackhawks slip away.

"It was tough. I had a pretty decent rookie season and then had a lot of injury problems -- a broken ankle, my neck (he was cut by a skate and nearly died), and last year my hand -- and it was tough for me to come back," he said.

"And it seemed my position with the team seemed to be slipping every time I got hurt.

"I'm pumped to get a fresh start."

Also vying for that second-line, left-winger post is another of the skaters on hand yesterday, Curtis Glencross.

Known mainly for his speed and two-way game, the 25-year-old wasn't pegged to be a scorer at the NHL level, but last year managed a solid 15 goals and 25 points in 62 games split between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Edmonton in his first full NHL season.

"I'm just going out and play my hard, gritty game, and wherever the coach best decided to play me, that's where I go," he said.

"Hopefully we can put some points on the board. I had a good finish to the season last year and hopefully I can come and start the same way this year.

"I've always felt I could play and if given an opportunity to play -- it was more of a run-and-gun game in Edmonton compared to being in Columbus, there it's more structural -- and I think that helped me."

One player who has no doubt what his role will be is enforcer Andre Roy, but that doesn't mean he's not feeling the butterflies as camp approaches.

"It's gonna be different. I'm excited," he said. "I don't know what to expect. I'm a little nervous, too, even though I've been to a lot of camps.

"The way I finished in Tampa is not the way I wanted to, and I think a change of area will be good for me. A hockey mood like it is here is a perfect scenario for me."

Having amassed 1,086 penalty minutes compared to 32 goals over his 471 NHL contests, Roy isn't going to suddenly turn into a prolific scorer.

However, he's aware head coach Mike Keenan wants his policeman to do more than just drop the mitts.

"I know my role, but it's fun to contribute (offensively) once in a while. I've put up a couple numbers -- for my role -- and to contribute more than just get in a fight and sit down is good," he said.

"It makes you feel part of it. Even in games with no fights, I can get a big hit and get the team going, the crowd going. I think if I do that, Mike will give me a chance to contribute a little more."


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