Raymond Bourque will forever be considered one of the best offensive defensemen in the history of the National Hockey League (NHL). Some current players, including Roman Josi and Cale Makar, are going for performances that had not been seen since the 1990s, and the Quebecer is asking for more.
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In 2021-22, Josi (Nashville Predators) and Makar (Colorado Avalanche) led the Bettman circuit guards with 96 and 86 points, respectively. Victor Hedman (Tampa Bay Lightning) was not far behind with 85 points.
These three quarterbacks on ice have reached a level rarely seen since the 1990s and the exploits of Bourque, Brian Leetch, Al MacInnis, Paul Coffey or even Phil Housley.
Asked about this on Saturday during the reopening of the Raymond-Bourque arena, in Saint-Laurent, the legend of the Boston Bruins was full of praise for the new generation.
“That’s nice to look at. We are talking about great players, among the best in the league, he said of Josi and Makar. They won’t slow down, I hope it will continue. Maybe one day one of these guys could break my records.”
During his illustrious 22-season career, Bourque became the all-time leader in his position in several categories. His 410 goals, 1,169 assists, 1,579 points and 173 power play goals are all records that will be hard to come by.
“Everything keeps getting better. There are changes, but hockey is hockey,” he agreed with a smile.
Impressed by Makar
Bourque is still well aware of what is happening at the Avalanche, where he finally won the Stanley Cup in 2001. The 60-year-old still goes to Colorado from time to time to see the team that made his childhood dream come true.
It is also with this organization that evolves a certain Cale Makar, hero for the “Avs” during the last playoffs. The 23-year-old defenseman has recorded more than a point per game since the start of his career and has already won the Calder, Norris and Conn-Smythe trophies.
“He is very talented. His level of talent is higher than 90% of the players who play today,” mentioned Bourque.
“Maybe he too will have an arena in his name one day,” he concluded, like a wink.