PORTLAND – After hearing his name among the scratches at every game this season, Portland Pirates fans are finally going to see veteran center Alexandre Bolduc play.
Bolduc’s debut could come as early as Wednesday against the Connecticut Whale at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
Fans may not know Bolduc, but Portland Coach Ray Edwards is aware of what Bolduc’s insertion into his lineup could mean for his team.
“It will be nice to have that guy you can put out there against top players,” Edwards said. “He’s got real high level of compete. He wants to win, and he’ll be good for our group.”
Bolduc, 26, signed with Phoenix last July after spending the first six years of his professional hockey career with the Vancouver organization. He spent part of last season in the AHL with the Manitoba Moose and part of it in the NHL with the Canucks, appearing in three Stanley Cup playoff games.
Bolduc, who played 46 games with the Canucks over the past three seasons, said he can play a variety of roles for the Pirates.
“I’m a seventh year pro now, and I think I’ve gotten to where I am by playing hard, playing with an edge,” he said. “I really like killing penalties, and I think in the (AHL) I can play an offensive role.
“I can play on the first and second lines, filling in if a guy goes down, but I think my role really is playing on the third line, the checking line. If it’s shutting down the other team’s top line and chipping in with a goal, here and there, that’s what I’m suited for.”
Bolduc, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound center, has spent the first half of the season recovering from off-season surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder.
In November, he began skating and for the past few weeks he’s participated in team drills during practice.
“All he has to do now is to get in and play,” Edwards said. “He doesn’t have to feel his way around the group. They’re excited for him to come, and he’s excited to play.”
Bolduc, a Montreal native, is looking forward to playing hockey again.
“It’s a new team, a new organization, and I’m excited to see what I can do here and make my mark,” he said.
Bolduc has been in Portland since the start of the season.
“It was my choice and the team’s choice as well. They wanted me around the guys,” he said.
“I wouldn’t want to be home by myself. I prefer being with the team, getting to know the guys.”
Because he’s spent the last three months with the Pirates, Bolduc said it won’t take him long to get up to speed.
“As soon as I get back, I think it’s going to be a smooth transition,” he said. “I’m going to know the systems, what the coach wants, what the guys are like. It’s definitely a lot easier than being home all the time and coming and just jumping in.”
Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: