|"Tavares to Bouchard, HE SCORES||"|
New York Islanders training camp has already given fans a glimpse of the team's early intentions for October 4th's season-opening puck drop in New Jersey.
Many of us were wondering as to who would fill the void Brad Boyes and PA Parenteau previously occupied alongside franchise superstar John Tavares.. Kyle Okposo, who trained with Tavares over the summer, and Ryan Strome, the team's top-offensive prospect who also worked out with Tavares during the offseason, had bets wagered on each to be the apparent heir to JT's right-side. Others (only myself) floated the idea of Cal Clutterbuck getting some top-line minutes with his former Oshawa Generals linemate.
Days one and two of Isles camp had the team's newly-acquired ex-Minnesota Wild winger lining up alongside Tavares, and it wasn't his former junior hockey teammate Clutterbuck. Pierre-Marc Bouchard has been skating with Tavares and Matt Moulson for camp's first two sessions, meaning the spot is his to lose in the early stages of the final weeks before regular season play begins.
This shouldn't come as a surprise, nor is it necessarily a bad thing. Bouchard, a talented player in his own right, will be playing to reclaim his spot as one of the NHL's top-playmakers after multiple injuries created uncertainty for his career over the past few seasons. Fortunately for the Isles, Bouchard played 43 of last season's 48 games with Minnesota in 2013 - his first healthy campaign since 2008-09.
“I felt great, I had a chance to work out really hard this summer. I’m healthy, I’m ready to go,”Bouchard told the media.
In a sense, Bouchard is another reclamation project for the Islanders. That hasn't caused any problems for the Isles in recent years - anybody brought in to play alongside Tavares and Mouslon has been well off - so Bouchard should have all the tools in place to rediscover his former 60-point scoring touch.
"It’s great to be on the right side of those two players, it’s fun,” he said speaking about his two linemates. “John is a great center man, he does everything good on the ice. And Matt is a pure goal scorer, works hard. It’s fun to have a chance to play with those two guys.”"Fun," is the key word here. If Bouchard can hold on to his role as the Islanders No. 1 right-wing, he, and the Islanders, could be enjoying themselves for the entire 2013-14 campaign.
I'm Chris Triants, and this is my blog.
Let's go Islanders!