Thursday, May 29, 2008

Luc Bourdon: We Hardly Knew Ye

By now vast amounts of electricity and trees will be sacrificed eulogizing on the Web and in print over the death of the Canuck prospect Luc Bourdon as well as plenty of handwringing over athletes riding motorcycles.

Let's just move on and honor a young man whose life was cut short far too soon. The best way to do that might be to rename the QMJHL's Best Defenceman Trophy after Bourdon? This may sound premature but there is a precedent for it in the Q. That league's MVP trophy was renamed in 1972 after Q grad Michel Briere, who had just completed a very successful rookie season with the Pittsburgh Penguins, died at the age of 21 in 1971 from a brain injury received in a car crash during the NHL's off-season. (If the camera pans up to the rafters on Saturday night during Game 4 at the Igloo see if you can spot number 21 among the Pens' retired number banners. That was Michel Briere's number.)

Currently, the Q's Best Defenceman trophy is named after Habs' great tough guy Émile "Butch" Bouchard. Pierre Bouchard's dad actually did not even play in the QMJHL as it did not technically exist back in Butchy Boy's day. He played in the old QJHL which was the former moniker for the Q.

That's another thought. Although Bourdon only played 36 games all tolled in the NHL, why not retire either his number 4 or 28 (since he wore both over bits of two seasons as well as number 40 at his first camp for you statheads) here? It would make up also for the bad publicity of quietly unretiring Wayne Maki's number 11 so the Messiah could wear it well as he cashed all those nice cheques here in Vancouver. Admittedly Maki was no angel as Ted Green can attest, but to unretire any player's number is bad karma.

Time to reverse that bad karma and retire Bourdon's number, too.

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