I ran into Francis Bouillon yesterday as we were taking turns talking to a radio station about hockey in general (though he talked mostly about the Montréal Canadiens - saying he thought the Habs were on the verge a winning a Stanley Cup - I talked CBA and cap space, some regarding the Habs, but also of the Detroit Red Wings' options should Pavel Datsyuk choose not to play another season though he's owed $5.5M and will account for $7.5M on the cap).
I'm of the opinion that Bouillon will end up working for the Habs, sooner rather than later, probably as a player development coach, replacing the position left vacant from Patrice Brisebois' departure two years ago.
He's the ideal guy for it: he communicates well, had a lengthy career - 80% of it in Montréal, so he knows the market as well - and became everything scouts thought he'd never be: a rugged, punishing checker in the defensive zone who improved his skating speed almost until the end and developped offensive skills, not stealing his second-unit powerplay time when he got it.
He was deemed too small to ever play a single NHL game - yet he suited up for 776 in the regular season, 55 in the playoffs, and six more as a member of Team USA at the 2003 World Championships, logging more than 20 minutes per game over his career. So, yeah, here's to silencing his critics.
He signed this card for me in blue sharpie:
2005-06 Parkhurst set, showing him wearing the Habs' then-home white uniform.