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Phil Bourque

October 14, 2011

Phil Bourque:

How has your NHL playing experience helped and hurt you as a commentator for the team?

My NHL playing experience has given my the credible experiences and knowledge to analyze the game and players. Also having played in the OHL, AHL, IHL, NHL and the German Elite league has given me an appreciation on what it takes to get the NHL and what it takes to stay there. 

What part do Ray Shero and Mario Lemieux play in the day-to-day activities of the team?

Ray Shero is very involved in the day to day operations of the Penguins. Mario, on the other hand does not get quite involved but always has the pulse of the players,coaches and managers. He is always involved in major decisions but on a day to day basis lets everybody just do their job.

What would surprise fans most about this team?

People would be most surprised on how well this team gets along and truly is like a family. 

How do you feel the salary cap has impacted the team specifically and the NHL as a whole? Is it a positive or negative thing in your opinion?

The salary cap has had such a positive effect on the league as a whole. The Penguins were never a team that had unlimited resources so they always had a self imposed salary cap. The cap has helped the “Big Dogs” who couldn’t control their own spending. 

What have been some of the more surprising/interesting players over the years and why?

One the most interesting players I can recall was Al Iafrate who played for Washington and Boston amongst others… He could shoot the puck about 105 mph while using a very short stick….what made him so interesting was that he smoked like a chimney and used to light his cigs while working on his sticks with a blowtorch. Thus earning the nickname Weird Al .

What blogs and websites do you turn to for hockey news and analysis?

I use about 12-15 different web sites including NHL.com, TSN.ca, and Yahoo sports, Also a variety of publications that help me with unique stats and stories. 

If you could make any changes to the game – on or off the ice – what you would do and why?

I would not change many things with the game right now as I feel alot has been done since the lockout. I would consider allowing the coaches 1 challenge per game for goals that are not reviewable by replay. If the coach is wrong with his challenge he would lose his teams timeout. 

Who are some of the AHL and ECHL and other prospects we should watch out for in the next year or so?

Some blue chip prospects coming down the pike are Dustin Jeffrey and Eric Tangradi down in Wilkes Barre as well as Simon Dupres that is playing in the Quebec Major Junior League and representing Canada during the 2011 World Jrs  played in Buffalo.

Anything you’d like to add/further thoughts for Pittsburgh Sports Daily Bulletin Readers on the Penguins or any other subject?

Finally, after being blessed enough to play this great game of hockey professionally for 18 years and retiring in 2000 I spent 3 years trying different lines of work that did not come close to satisfying my hunger for a game that gave me the highest of highs. Thanks to Mario Lemieux I was given an opportunity to work as the radio analyst for the Pittsburgh Penguins and talk about the greatest team playing the greatest game.

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