In our newest weekly feature, we're going to be naming a Bulldogs Player Of The Week, the recipient being the Bulldog who we thought was the best on the ice over the previous week. Our inaugural POTW is Bulldogs rookie, Michaël Bournival. Acquired from Colorado in exchange for defenseman Ryan O'Byrne in 2010, Bournival scored a goal and added an assist for a +1 rating in 3 games last week. He saw top line minutes and was impressive when matched against the oppositions top lines, having only been on the ice for 2 of the Bulldogs 18 goals against.
Bournival's strong start has definitely been a surprise, while other rookies are having a difficult time trying to adjust. Centering what has come to be known as the "CHL Line" consisting of two other rookies, Patrick Holland, and Brendan Gallagher, both of which graduated the CHL this season, Bournival has become a rock on the ice, rarely making mistakes and keeping his play simple. It is that type of play that helped him captain his Shawinigan Cataractes to a Memorial Cup victory last season.
With all the new faces on the Bulldogs this season, Bournival's experience as a leader and captain may be the start of the Bulldogs team finding an identity. Very few of last years players are returning, only Aaron Palushaj, Louis Leblanc (inj.), Gabriel Dumont, and Frederic St-Denis have suited up for the Bulldogs prior to this season, with the exception of Zack Stortini, who is on the bubble as far as the Bulldogs lineup goes. With so many rookies, we expected bumps in the road, yet Michaël Bournival has been a bright spot night in and night out for the Bulldogs, and we're hoping the other Bulldogs rookies take note of what Bournival is doing.
In our preseason Top 25 Under 25 list, Bournival was ranked 12th for the second season in a row. With his solid play, I would expect to see that number rise, as well as the number of POTW honours he earns.