Bourdon's fresh face

Kimmo Timonen is checked by Penguins' Craig Adams during first period.
Kimmo Timonen is checked by Penguins' Craig Adams during first period. (YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)
Posted: April 12, 2012

PITTSBURGH - Flyers rookie defenseman Marc-Andre Bourdon shaved his face with soap and a razor for the first time in nearly 3 years on Tuesday morning. His scruffy growth is usually thicker than his French-Canadian accent.

After all, this is the season of the playoff beard - an annual rite of passage for the 320 or so players who qualify for a chance to compete for Lord Stanley's silver chalice. And Bourdon wanted to start from scratch.

For Bourdon, who was in the AHL less than 2 weeks ago, the shave was an unexpected first-time experience. On Wednesday night, Bourdon was in the thick of the action against the Penguins' Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin after being subbed into the lineup in place of Stanley Cup-winning veteran Pavel Kubina.

It was all a bit ironic, since the Flyers went out and traded for Kubina on Feb. 18 - for second and fourth round picks - after deciding that Bourdon couldn't get the job done.

Kubina, who has 46 playoff games under his belt, was a healthy scratch for Game 1. Wednesday was Bourdon's 46th career NHL game of any kind.

At the Flyers' pregame skate, coach Peter Laviolette called over his six rookies - Bourdon, Zac Rinaldo, Eric Wellwood, Sean Couturier, Matt Read and Brayden Schenn - for a quick chat.

"He told us he has confidence in us, always," said Bourdon, who left Wednesday's 4-3 overtime win over the Penguins in the second period with an upper-body injury. "He thought we played really well this season. He wanted us to know that he knows we can do a great job. It was nice to hear."

Bourdon is day-to-day, and his status for Game 2 on Friday is unknown, paving way for a possible return for Kubina.

Bourdon played 39 straight games from Nov. 21 to Feb. 18 after being a spare, emergency call-up. His game waned in the middle of February, but he revealed last week that he was playing through a concussion in an attempt to keep his job.

He was sent back to Adirondack to make room for Kubina, but was recalled when Kimmo Timonen needed rest. Bourdon sat out for 3 weeks with the Phantoms because of the concussion.

Since injured players aren't allowed to be sent to the AHL, Bourdon would have earned $4,370 per day on the Flyers' injury list instead of $351 daily in the minors.

Bourdon said he didn't want to be the guy who the team thought was milking an injury for a paycheck. His silence has paid off in a bigger way.

Along the way, there will be hiccups - like when he was caught on a 2-on-1 rush in which he did not pick up open skater Tyler Kennedy, who converted an easy goal to make it 2-0 on Wednesday night. But that is to be expected.

"For me, this is not a roll of the dice," Laviolette said of his rookies. "We didn't go, 'Oh my God, it's your first playoff series.' I don't think that would help. Our younger players have been used in every situation imaginable up to this point. They got to be part of HBO, part of the Winter Classic. Never once has there ever been any lack of confidence from the organization, our staff, and their teammates. They need to do their job. They've done it all year."

Will Jagr be back?

Jaromir Jagr said he decided to start an account on Twitter (@68Jagr) on the eve of the Stanley Cup playoffs because he was bored.

Not surprisingly, his interest in tweeting wasn't shared by reporters on Wednesday after the Flyers' morning skate. Already tired of answering questions about returning to Pittsburgh for the fourth time as a Flyer, the topic shifted to his status for next season.

Jagr is finishing out his 1-year, $3.3 million deal with the Flyers.

"I want to play next year, for sure, if something bad doesn't happen to me over the summer," Jagr said. "I know I'm going to play. I don't know where, but it doesn't matter to me because I love the game."

Jagr was then asked if he would be willing to return to Philadelphia, where he has become a leader in the Flyers' locker room. He collected 19 goals and 35 assists in 73 games, missing just nine with a chronic groin strain.

The 40-year-old Jagr is the NHL's second oldest active non-goaltender in the league behind Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom, who turns 42 on April 28.

"If they're interested, we can always talk about it," Jagr said. "But this is not about myself. After the playoffs, we can talk about stuff like that, but right now I have a lot more important things than me."

Slap shots

Danny Briere returned to the lineup after missing the last three games of the regular season with an upper-back contusion. He was reunited on a line with Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn . . . Penguins defenseman Ben Lovejoy also returned to the lineup, making rookie Brian Strait a healthy scratch . . . Matt Niskanen, the Penguins' normal sixth defenseman, missed the game with an unspecified injury . . . Pittsburgh's Pascal Dupuis netted a point in his 18th consecutive game with his assist on the first goal. Regular-season streaks do not carry over to the playoffs . . . Cherry Hill native Bobby Ryan was named to the U.S. World Championship team on Wednesday, of which Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren is an adviser.


Contact Frank Seravalli at seravaf@phillynews.com or @DNFlyers on Twitter. Read his blog, Frequent Flyers, at www.philly.com/frequentflyers.

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