Rabid Habs

Why is Bouillon Being Given a Tryout?

Habs' Francis Bouillon

You know it is hockey season when the leaves start to change, the days are warm but the nights are cool.  You know it is Habs training camp when you see Francis Bouillon.  I will be up front with all of you, I have never liked Francis Bouillon and likely never will.  While I admire his heart and determination, and the fact he has stayed in the NHL far longer than his skill level and size (he claims 5’8 but if he is that tall, I am 7’0) should have allowed, I just wish it weren’t with us given he has never been a good defenceman.

As you all no doubt will recall, he first played with us in 1999 when we lost Vladimir Malakhov in preseason and at one time had five defencemen out of the lineup.   We were also one season away from our worst point total since I was born in 1966.  He played because we had no one else.  However, for some reason, the organization married itself to him.  Michel Therrien did cut him in 2001 and waived him.  Nashville picked him up but after three games with the pretty bad Predators, he was waived again.  Andre Savard picked him up and the rest is history.  We never got rid of him until 2009 when he left as a UFA and signed with Nashville.  Three years later, he was back for another stint with us.  This year we didn’t sign him as we didn’t feel we needed him but like that cold that lingers for weeks, he is back on a professional tryout contract.

I cannot figure out why he is back as we really do not need him.  We have Subban, Markov, Gilbert, Weaver, Emelin as the top 5.  We also have three young dmen who need to play, Tinordi, Beaulieu and Pateryn.  Why even waste our time with Bouillon?  Some will say, well more competition is better, if the young guys can’t beat him, then they are no good etc.  To that I say hogwash.  We likely will not play more than eight defencemen all year barring something really bad happening.  Tinordi, Beaulieu and Pateryn should not have to outplay Bouillon, they are already better and need to be with the big team.  The first two definitely have nothing left to learn in Hamilton.  It should be Montreal or bust for them.  If the team is worried about having a veteran presence and a ninth defenceman if necessary, there is always Davis Drewiske.  Face it if either Drewiske or Bouillon play any significant time for us, we are in big trouble.

We also know from history that once Bouillon gets into the lineup, even if just for a game, he stays for a long time.  Weaver is 5’9, there is NO reason we should ever consider playing someone smaller than him.  Our top defencemen are not all that big to start with, we cannot have a third pair that combined appear smaller than Chara.

To me, this is just a waste of a tryout spot.  Bouillon brings nothing to the table anymore except progress stopping.

I can only hope that his stay in camp will be short, no pun intended.