BROSSARD – After three seasons in Music City, Francis Bouillon is back with the Canadiens.
At 36 years of age, the once and future Habs blue-liner is making the leap back to Montreal and the Eastern Conference. It will be a double-dose of déjà-vu for Bouillon as he’ll not only be reunited with his former organization, but his former coach at the same time.
“Michel Therrien’s arrival and the changes in the Montreal organization played a big role in my decision. I had Therrien as a coach for six years, going all the way back to my days in the Juniors,” pointed out Bouillon, who was contacted by the Habs’ bench boss when the free agent market opened for business on July 1st. “When Michel called me on Sunday afternoon I already knew I wanted to come back. Since coming back from Nashville a lot of Quebecers were asking me about the possibility of returning to Montreal. It was definitely a priority for me, and I always made that clear.”
Bouillon skated under Therrien for three seasons as a member of the Canadiens between 2000-01 and 2002-03. Prior to that, the two already shared a history from their days with the Fredricton Canadiens, where Bouillon, after being passed over at the draft, first got his start in pro hockey after receiving a call-up from Therrien. Before even that, the two were members of the Granby Predators organization, with whom they won the Memorial Cup in 1996.
“He was my assistant coach during my first year in the QMJHL. He was always there to give me a hand and allowed me to improve in so many areas of my game. He helped me a lot,” explained Bouillon, admitting that the advice he received from the coach extended well beyond confines of the rink. “I owe him a lot. Michel helped me to make a lot of good decisions in my life. When you’re young, you have many options available to you and it can be easy to pick the wrong one. He was there to help me make the right choices.”