Better With Popcorn

Bourdon Troubled by Turnovers

The All-Star break is an exciting time of year for an NHL hockey player. Whether they are playing in the game or watching from home, the weeklong break is a welcome vacation from the marathon that is the NHL season.

For those involved, the event is a tangible example of their achievements and acknowledges a job well done.

For those who don’t take part in the game, the weeklong break is a time to recharge their batteries in preparation for the stretch run towards the end of the season.

Some players will spend their time catching up with family or friends. Some will go on vacation, play some golf or maybe visit their hometown.

Hopefully, Philadelphia Flyers rookie defensemen Marc-Andre Bourdon will spend some of his time going over game film.

Since team captain Chris Pronger was removed from the lineup due to injury back in late November, Bourdon has been filling his roster spot.

He has played in 29 games, has registered three points and averages around 15 minutes of ice time per game.

For the most part, Bourdon has played well.

He is a physical defensemen who looks to land hits with regularity. His physicality is by-far his strongest attribute and he has made several hits that have not only knocked opponents off the puck but have also knocked them off their feet.

He doesn’t have a flare for the offensive phase of the game, but to his credit he isn’t afraid to throw the puck on net. His two goals this season were not the prettiest of plays, but they occurred because he took a shot.

While he probably will never be considered an offensive defensemen by any stretch of the imagination, he has a sense of what to do in the offensive zone. At the very least, he isn’t a liability.

The same can’t always be said of his decision making in the defensive zone, though.

Bourdon throws the puck around too freely.

With the exception of Matt Carle, no other defensemen on the team turns the puck over more frequently than Bourdon (keep in mind, Carle averages eight minutes more than Bourdon).

As an example, in the third period of the team’s last game against the Florida Panthers, Bourdon collected a loose puck in the Flyers zone and immediately threw it across the center of the ice in an attempt to clear the zone.

Bourdon was positioned around the red line. He had a teammate at the half-wall and a teammate behind the net. No Panthers player was immediately attacking him. Not to mention that he had room to skate with the puck.

Instead, his clearing attempt hit off the opposite wall and was collected by a Florida player and enabled the team to begin an offensive zone possession.

While the Panthers failed to score, they were given access to the zone far too easily.

It’s not the first time Bourdon has carelessly thrown the puck around either.

In a game earlier this month against the Ottawa Senators, Bourdon turned the puck over in the defensive zone three times on one shift. All three came on no-look, back-handed passes.

An occurrence like that is inexcusable.

Considering how the Flyers defense is clearly one of the team’s weak points, players can’t be committing such egregious turnovers.

Moving into the second half, Bourdon is going to need to take better care of the puck.

His job is to be a stopgap, not a dish master.

The team can’t allow their opponents to sustain extended attacks in the offensive zone due to their own mistakes when handling the puck.

While it’s bad enough when a member of the top-four commits those kinds of mistakes, it’s even worse when they come from a rookie-replacement.

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