The Montreal Canadiens have lost faith in Rene Bourque.
The big winger, who led the club in playoff goals last spring, cleared waivers Monday, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported, meaning he will be assigned to the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League (AHL).
“No way I’d keep him around. They’re doing the right thing,” Don Cherry told Sportsnet 590 The Fan’s Brady & Walker on Monday. “He can do it. That’s the maddening thing about a guy like that. Eight goals in the playoffs last year, hitting and banging — he looked like a million bucks. Then he goes and floats. He’s a floater.
“He deserves to be in the minors,” Cherry went on. “When he looks back on life, he’s going to be very, very sorry.”
Despite an impressive post-season in which he tied Patrick Kane and Martin St. Louis for fifth overall in goals, Bourque has been restricted to just one goal in his last 32 regular-season games. He has two assists, six penalty minutes and is a minus-9 through 13 games this season.
A 32-year-old native of Lac La Biche, Alta., Bourque has 142 goals and 136 assists in 573 NHL games played with Montreal, Calgary and Chicago.
Since being a 20-plus-goal producer for the Flames from 2008-09 through 2010-11, he has failed to score more than nine goals in a season. Montreal was reportedly shopping the forward at the trade deadline in March of 2014.
Bourque’s contract with Montreal, which carries a $3.33-million cap hit, runs through the 2015-16 season.
The Canadiens could save $925,000 on the salary cap if Bourque plays the remainder of the season in Hamilton, reports Arpon Basu of NHL.com.