Welcome back to Checking Out, a weekly series which features bios on Avalanche players. Because Patrick Bordeleau has made the cuts thus far and is generating some interest around here, I thought it might be nice to get a peak at his career and see what we have in the Montreal native.
If you go to HockeyFights.com and look at Patrick Bordeleau's profile, you'll notice that he fights. A lot. Since his debut in the QMJHL in 2003, Bordy has averaged over 9 fights per season, topping out with a career-high 17 last year for the Lake Erie Monsters. If you look a little closer, you will notice that he dominates. Completely. He has become so proficient at hockey brawls that guys began to purposely avoid facing him last season. Others probably wished they had. Did I mention Bordeleau also hits? Hard. Both opposing players and the glass can attest to that.
At only 25, the 6'6" 225-lb forward has figured out his role in hockey and embraced it fully. Bordeleau was picked up by the Minnesota Wild during the 4th round (114th overall) in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. He began his professional career on a tryout with the Charlotte Checkers in 2007 after the Wild failed to sign him to a contract. He spent the next two seasons bouncing between 9 clubs, one of which was Colorado's affiliate, the Monsters. The brass in Lake Erie apparently liked what they saw because they signed Bordy to a one-year AHL contract for 2009-2010.
In his first full season with one club, he played 60 games, had 3 points and served 106 penalty minutes. Taking the advice of LEM coach David Quinn and members of the Avalanche organization, Patrick spent the summer working on his game, specifically his lower body strength and skating. He hired a personal trainer (who has NHL players as clients) and spent up to 2.5 hours a day working out. His training sessions involved 7 two hour days in the gym per week, adding in a half-hour of ice time three of those days.
The Monsters re-signed Bordeleau for the 2010-2011 season, and the Avalanche asked him to participate in training camp for the parent team. With enforcer David Koci out due to injury, the young skater logged regular minutes through the preseason and scored his first NHL goal against the Dallas Stars in a preseason match up. Bordeleau was one of the last prospects to be cut. He continued his impressive performance with the Monsters that season as a role player, scoring 2 goals and 10 assists and breaking the team's record in total penalty minutes by a single player (213) in January. It's important to note that Bordy's PIMs don't often come from stupid penalties. Although he is very physical, he is also very smart.
Shortly following the close of the 2010-2011 season, Bordeleau signed a one year, two way contract with the Avalanche. There was some mystery surrounding the signing as the club did not make an official announcement about it, and confirmation of the signing only came about because the player was listed on rosters and at capgeek. Regardless, Bordeleau came to training camp for the 2011-2012 season as a franchise member and has made his presence known from Day 1.
Bordeleau has already contributed with points in the annual Burgundy/White exhibition game in Colorado Springs and fighting against the Dallas Stars' Krys Barch. In his two preseason games, he averaged 7 minutes of ice time and brought the quintessential Bordello of Blood. He also brought another part of his game for which he's well-known: a positive and supportive attitude. He may be young and he may be tough, but Bordeleau, like many players of his ilk, is one of the nicest guys you'll find on the team. He constantly pumps up his teammates and is quick to laugh. He's even been known to give the guys tips on fighting, even the most unlikely of candidates. His generosity continues off the ice, as well, and he's considered a fan favorite in Lake Erie because he does the little things - like always taking time out to talk with fans and sign autographs.
People can debate the role of the enforcer in the current NHL, but no one can deny that Patrick Bordeleau adds to a team. He's responsible on defense, can help create offense, and is always there to protect his brothers. He still has much to learn about the game at the NHL level, but it's something he's ready and willing to do. He acknowledges that to be in the NHL today, a guy has to know how to play - not just fight. His commitment in the past two off-seasons to improving his skating, puck handling and hitting, as well his focus on simplifying his game, is proof positive that Bordy is serious about carving a spot for himself in the big leagues.
http://www.lakeeriemonsters.com/news/news/?article_id=855 (radio interview)
http://www.lakeeriemonsters.com/news/news/?article_id=858 (radio interview)