Bourdon and Marshall get First Shot with Flyers
Kevin Marshall and Marc-Andre Bourdon finally got their chance to play in the NHL last night.
Unfortunately, it came under less than ideal circumstances.
Prior to the start of Monday night’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes, the Philadelphia Flyers announced that their captain Chris Pronger was unable to play due to an unspecified illness.
The team’s general manager Paul Holmgren addressed the issue right before opening puck drop.
“Chris is suffering from a little bit of a virus,” he said. “Once we get some tests run on him we'll have a little better idea but right now we're going to list him as day-to-day.”
To make matters worse, Holmgren also announced that Braydon Coburn, another of the team’s big-bodied defensemen, would also be out of the lineup due to an upper-body injury.
Holmgren didn’t specifically address what the issue with Coburn was but the GM remained optimistic about his return.
“We’re hoping he can be back within a game or two,” he said.
The loss of Pronger and Coburn had serious repercussions upon the Flyers lineup; the two players composed the physical component to the team’s top defensive pairs.
But as one door closed, another opened as Bourdon and Marshall finally got their opportunity to play with the big club.
Bourdon, a 6’0”, 225 lb defenseman, was drafted by the Flyers in the third round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. The 22 year-old had spent a little over three years in the AHL with the Phantoms and had recorded three goals and 29 assists for a total of 32 points.
After a bumpy start where he was called for an interference penalty on one of his first shifts, Bourdon seamlessly completed the game with competent play.
He finished the night with close to 16 minutes of ice-time and a plus-one rating.
Bourdon acknowledged that he felt some pressure in his first NHL game.
“I think everybody is stressed out [in their first game],” he said. “I just tried to see it as another game and do what I do and go out there and play.”
Marshall, also a 22 year-old, was drafted in the second round of the 2007 Entry Draft. In his four years with the Phantoms, he scored six goals and 18 assists for a total of 24 points.
He would play a little over 14 minutes in the game and finished the night with a minus-one rating. He played the least minutes of any defensemen.
Following the game, head coach Peter Laviolette acknowledged the difficulty of the situation.
"Well certainly we would rather have them in there,” he said in reference to Pronger and Coburn. “They are both big bodies and terrific defensemen for us.”
But the coach was quick to compliment Bourdon and Marshall.
"I thought they came up and played hard," He said.
While the two players first appearances may not have opened eyes the way Erik Gustafsson’s plus-six performance against Columbus did, they displayed that they are viable options for the future.
It’s important to acknowledge that while neither player stood on his head, neither player fell on his ass either. Bourdon and Marshall were both seemingly invisible on Monday night and while that may be a negative when talking about Danny Briere, it’s the opposite when talking about two minor league call-ups.
It means they didn’t stand out because of a mistake.
“They stepped in and did a great job," James van Riemsdyk said. "I thought the two guys that got called up did a pretty good job of keeping it simple and playing a hard game.”
Many thanks to Samson Photos for allowing us to use their photos.