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Cunneyworth blasts Bourque: “He seems like a tough player who is not playing tough”

Mar 15, 2012, 6:03 PM EDT

Rene Bourque Getty Images

It seems no matter where he goes this year, Rene Bourque can’t escape criticism.

On Thursday, the Canadiens winger was taken to task by head coach Randy Cunneyworth, who told the Canadian Press he was “definitely unsatisfied” with Bourque’s play.

“He has the potential to do much more,” Cunneyworth said. “We’ve got to push him to get better results. He knows and is working harder, but he’ll have to get it into a higher gear.

“He seems like a tough player who is not playing tough.”

Bourque has been a disappointment in Montreal since getting traded from Calgary for Mike Cammalleri. In his 27 games as a Canadien, he’s scored 4G-3A-7PTS with a minus -16 rating, and his physical play has disappeared.

“With his style and reputation he should be making the space near the net but he’s got to play his game,” Cunneyworth said. “He’s got to fight harder in front of the net to create space.”

This is the second time Bourque’s come under fire for lacklustre play. During a November game between Calgary and Colorado, CBC Hockey Night in Canada (and former LA Kings goalie) Kelly Hrudey lambasted Bourque — then a Flame, believed to be on the trading block — for his poor effort, questioning why anybody would deal for him.

Hrudey: “Who in the world would trade for this guy? Come on, that’s a joke they’re saying teams are calling for him and everything. It’s a great start for Calgary right, 3-0? Have you noticed him? You know, this guy — and I’m going to say this politely — but this guy’s passion meter isn’t low on a scale of one to 10…it’s turned off. This guy has to learn that you actually have to have passion in a game, that you can play with hatred.

“The four Hall-of-Famers that we had in the pregame show [Doug Gilmour, Mark Howe, Ed Belfour, Joe Nieuwendyk] talked about the compete level of athletes. There are a lot of guys that have talent and this guy…I don’t even think he cares about the game. He should apologize to his teammates and start playing. He’s got 66 games to go to actually care.”

Three months later, Habs GM Pierre Gauthier answered the question, “Who in the world would trade for this guy?”

  1. istallion - Mar 15, 2012 at 6:13 PM

    This guy is such a tease. Like the Lion in Oz, no heart.

  2. drewsylvania - Mar 15, 2012 at 6:33 PM

    I think Cunneyworth mistook toughness for “willingness to throw cheapshots”.

    Really, though, “tough player who doesn’t play tough” kinda describes most of the Habs. They seemingly learn to act gutless upon arrival.

  3. rgee3 - Mar 15, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    caps nation still outraged over that malicious elbow on backstrom.

    bourque is a classless chump in my book.

  4. solador78 - Mar 15, 2012 at 7:15 PM

    One word: glug, glug, glug..

  5. crazemastercraze - Mar 15, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    just adding to the list (a long one at that) of why Gauthier should be out of a job in a few weeks….

  6. t16rich - Mar 15, 2012 at 8:28 PM

    Is he calling out any other players? Not saying he’s wrong, but he must be stupid to bring that comment public. In house Randy, especially when you could be calling out some of the players who have actually been in Montreal since day one and not a guy you traded for.

  7. thegonz13 - Mar 15, 2012 at 8:42 PM

    @ istallion… It was the Tin Man, not the Lion… but you’re right!

    • solador78 - Mar 15, 2012 at 9:56 PM

      You’re right. Bourque is totally the tin man. I’m sure he’s greased all the time.

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