Defense prospect Bourdon scores for Flyers in preseason loss to Toronto

Toronto's Colby Armstrong beats Flyers rookie goalie Sergei Bobrovsky during shootout, won by the Maple Leafs.
Toronto's Colby Armstrong beats Flyers rookie goalie Sergei Bobrovsky during shootout, won by the Maple Leafs.
Posted: September 24, 2010

LONDON, Ontario - Less than 7 minutes into his first NHL exhibition game, Marc-Andre Bourdon snapped off a hard shot toward Maple Leafs goaltender Jonas Gustavsson - but missed the target.

Bourdon's shot caromed off the boards behind the net and back toward it, with Flyers forward Jeff Carter hovering nearby.

Gustavsson kicked it into his own net and Carter raised his stick nonchalantly. Bourdon didn't know he scored his first NHL goal until the PA announcer at the John Labatt Centre informed the 8,765 in attendance.

"I thought [Carter] scored the goal," the defenseman said. "I know I'm not going to score too many goals without getting the puck on net. It was lucky, but I'll take it. It was a good feeling."

Not bad for a Quebec resident who just turned the legal drinking age in the United States last Friday.

"I thought he played well," coach Peter Laviolette said of Bourdon after the Flyers' 3-2 shootout loss to Toronto last night. "There's a lot of things he can do. He's a good passer. He's a big guy, he's physical, he can hit, he can fight. He can shoot the puck, he's got a heavy shot.

"A lot of it is the speed of the game. The game happens quick. The more games that he plays, the more comfortable he'll feel."

With the puck comfortably resting on his stick this training camp - instead of like a grenade ready to implode - Bourdon has been a pleasant surprise on the blue line for the Flyers. His calmness with the puck is noticeable.

"I've always been pretty poised with the puck, but the difference is, I am faster this year so I have more time with the puck," Bourdon explained. "I've still got to be faster, but I get to the puck and I have more time to look now. Last year I came out of juniors and it was a big step for me to play in the pros."

At every level, Bourdon has been a leader. In last week's rookie scrimmage with the Capitals, Bourdon wore the "C" as the Flyers' rookie captain, even though he was the only player with pro experience among the group.

Bourdon also captained his team in Rouyn-Noranda for two seasons in the Quebec Major Junior league.

Part of that leadership ability was on display last night, when Toronto's Christian Hanson threw a questionable jab at one of Bourdon's teammates in the third period. Bourdon took exception. It didn't matter that Hanson is the son of famed "Slap Shot" goon Dave Hanson or that he is 4 inches taller and 30 pounds heavier.

"I'm not afraid to fight," Bourdon said. "I like to sacrifice for my teammates."

Bourdon seems to fall just behind Oskars Bartulis on the Flyers' organizational depth chart. He posted 19 points in 61 games with the Phantoms last season. He was also recalled to the Flyers twice for fear of injuries but never appeared in a game.

If he can grow this year as much as he did last, it won't be long before Bourdon will be making noise with a permanent spot on the big club in sight.

"I know they have a stacked team," Bourdon said. "I want to prove that I can play here, so that when they have a spot, when a guy is injured, they will think about playing me. But really, I want to have a good year in the AHL and show them that I can play, even if they have a lot of guys."

Slap shots

Colby Armstrong gave Toronto the win in the 11th round of the shootout . . . Bill Guerin scored his first goal in a Flyers uniform in the second period . . . Brian Boucher stopped 19 of 20 shots in two periods . . . Sergei Bobrovsky entered in the third period for Boucher and allowed a power-play goal on 14 shots . . . Before the game, Comcast-Spectacor chairman Ed Snider and president/chief operating officer Peter Luukko presented London mayor Ann Marie DeCicco-Best with a Jeff Carter jersey. Carter was born and raised in London. He had nearly 100 family members and friends at the game . . . Zac Rinaldo, who spent two seasons as a London Knight, was tossed in the second period for not having his jersey tied down in a fight against Luke Schenn . . . The Flyers sent draft picks Michael Chaput and Dave Labrecque back to their respective junior teams on Wednesday. The training-camp roster will be trimmed from three groups to two on Sunday.

For more news and analysis, read Frank Seravalli's blog, Frequent Flyers, at

http://go.philly.com/frequentflyers. Follow him on Twitter at

http://twitter.com/DNFlyers.

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