Bouillon scores one-year contract extension
Published Wednesday, March 20, 2013 9:59PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, March 21, 2013 9:00AM EDT
When the lockout was on, he thought his career might be over, so Habs defenceman Francis Bouillon was pleased to find himself receiving a one-year contract extension.
At 37, if the lockout ruined a year, that likely would have been it for Bouillon, but now, another $1.5 million has committed to him for next season.
“I was nervous because of the lockout. I was in great shape. I did everything possible. I didn't know what was coming with the lockout (until) finally we started playing,” he said.
The deal is well deserved, said fellow defenceman Josh Gorges.
“No question. He’s such a great person. You love to have him in your locker room. You know what you’re getting, 150 per cent. He's a true professional,” said Gorges.
Bouillon admitted he was a little surprised when the deal came up.
(“When my agent called me two weeks ago and told me that they wanted to sign me I was… a little bit (surprised). I didn't expect it. I was focusing on my season. I had no doubt that I would play somewhere next year,” he said.
Head coach Michel Therrien said it was a good decision.
“It's a well-deserved contract. We're more than excited. I'm happy for him and his family as well,” he said.
Caring for your health and committing to a regimen did a lot of Bouillon, whose game has not faltered a bit at 37.
“I spend a lot of time in the gym. I eat well. Obviously in the summertime I work out. I take three weeks out and then I know what I need to do if I want to keep playing,” he said.
Despite plenty of youth D preparing to take over in Jarred Tinordi, Ryan Ellis, Greg Pateryn and Nathan Beaulieu, it seems nothing can shake the veteran Bouillon.
The tank-like 5’8” warrior, who made the NHL after going undrafted and spending time in the East Coast Hockey League, has been a pleasant surprise upon his return to the Canadiens who now boast the fourth-best defence in the Eastern Conference after struggling last season.
Bouillon, who first played on the Habs in 1999, has one goal and six assists in 29 games for the Canadiens this season and is a plus six.
Bouillon returned this season after spending three seasons with the Nashville Predators, having played 191 of his 705 NHL games in Tennessee.
Bouillon, whose father is of Haitian origin, was born in New York and moved to Quebec as a child.
Bouillon has had a long association with Habs’ Coach Michel Therrien, playing for him as a member of the 1996-Memorial Cup-winning Granby Predateurs, the Habs’ farm club in Fredericton and then again on the Canadiens for parts of 2000-2003.
A community arena in South Central Montreal was recently renamed after the soft-spoken, hard-hitting defenceman.