It's been over ten days since the blockbuster news of the trade for Luc Bourdon has been announced, and it has created quite a buzz around the hockey community. Fans have been eagerly awaiting big Luc's debut in the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles' black, white, and gold colours, but had to be patient while the defenceman rested up at home after helping Canada win gold at the World Junior Championship in Sweden.
Tomorrow night, for those fans who will be watching the Eastlink TV broadcast of the CB-PEI game, THE WAIT IS OVER. Bourdon will be in the lineup for the first time ever as a Screaming Eagle as the Eagles take on the Rocket at the Charlottetown Civic Centre for their first game of a four-game road trip that also takes the team to Bathurst for a Saturday night tilt, and to Moncton for Sunday afternoon and Tuesday night dates.
For the first time, fans will get to see that "big three" on the blueline of Bourdon, JC Sawyer, and Oskars Bartulis. Fans should also anticipate seeing new powerplay units, as Bourdon will certainly fit into the powerplay mix somewhere.
Bourdon may not be the only player making his Eagle debut tomorrow night. I can't honestly say I am 100% sure, but I've heard that it's a possibility that Beau Prokopetz may be ready to go for tomorrow night's game. The last I had heard, he was only day-to-day with his "upper body injury", and there have been rumblings that he may be ready by tomorrow. If not, I am sure that we will see him sometime pretty soon.
As exciting as it is to see these guys finally suiting up for the Screaming Eagles, fans must remember that it has been a while since either has played in a game, and that it may take a period or two at least for these guys to get their timing back and to get comfortable. Also, there will most likely be that inevitable period of adjustment to new systems and new teammates. Maybe it will take a couple of games for our new additions to become fully integrated into the Eagle lineup, so do not expect miracles from either of them tomorrow night! But it's still quite exciting just to see the new additions, especially Bourdon, wearing the jersey.
Cape Breton enters tomorrow night's contest on a three-game winning streak, and boasting a record of 30-13-2, good for second overall in the Quebec League, six points back of Lewiston for first in the division and in the league. PEI enters the game coming off of a pretty strong four-game road trip, where they had a 2-2 split against four tough teams. The Eagles are 5-1 against the Rocket so far this season, and have won the last five matchups. Could PEI be "due" to surprise us tomorrow night? We will have to be ready.
Ondrej Pavelec should get the start in goal for Cape Breton after his clutch play in helping the Eagles defeat Bathurst this past Saturday night. Antoine Lafleur will certainly get the start for the Rocket.
Rumours are abound that star PEI defenceman Marc-Andre Gragnani has been sent home to get his head together after an alleged incident on their most recent road trip, and that he may not be in the lineup tomorrow night as a result. However, at this point this is nothing more than a rumour; it has not been backed up by any real reliable sources yet. I still figured it was worth mentioning; we'll find out for real when it's time to drop the puck. Not that the presence or absence of this player affects the way the Eagles approach this game.
Once again, this game IS being broadcast live on Eastlink TV, so be sure to tune in to get your first look at Luc Bourdon (and perhaps Beau Prokopetz as well) in a Screaming Eagles' uniform. Was this guy worth giving up Mark Barberio? We begin the process of finding out tomorrow night.