Earlier this week I caught up with Preds defenseman Francis Bouillon to get his thoughts on the current state of the Preds and his experience in the 2003 Heritage Classic.
RLD: So far through the first half of the season, the wins and losses have come in bunches… how do you get more consistency moving forward? Francis Bouillon: We played well before the last few games, and we’ve had a tough time to score. We have to be better on our special teams units, too. We’ve got a lot of up and down lately, but we have to be more consistency and play a better 60-minute game. RLD: In the big picture, in a tough Western Conference, where do you see where this team is right now? FB: It’s never easy when you get injuries like this and now we’ve got a few guys out. But I guess those young guys who get called up, they are doing what they can to help the team and doing well for us. We need wins right now and we need to do everything possible to get them.
RLD: Do you feel more comfortable in your second year here in Nashville? FB: Yeah for sure. It’s my eleventh year in the league, and I know I’m a good veteran in this room. I’m going to do everything possible to help the team. If it’s to block shot, I’m going to block shot. If it’s to fight, I’m gonna go. Right now we’ve got a good mix of players here and we have to go at the same pace to get those wins.
RLD: You mentioned the fights, been a little bit more physical this year… is that all a part of being more comfortable? FB: Yeah. That’s what brought me into the league a long time ago and that’s what keep me in the league, too. When I play that physical game I feel like I’m comfortable in the game. That’s how I play my best game.
RLD: Earlier this year in Montreal, you were named the third star of the game and received a big ovation. What was that like in your first game back? FB: (With grin on his face) Oh, that was really nice! I really didn’t know what to expect when you play against them and that big crowd there. It seemed like all the fans really enjoyed what I did in the past with Montreal, and it was really nice.
RLD: Winter Classic coming up… you participated in the Heritage Classic back in 2003. What was that experience like? FB: Yeah, that was the first one against Edmonton. It was really awesome and great experience. It was so cold on the ice, so warm on the bench with a big heater. It’s a game that you want to play.
RLD: How did you deal in those elements and the brutal cold that night in Edmonton? FB: You have to put everything on the side for sure to get those two points. But it’s not like usual since it’s really cold outside and the crowd is much bigger. You have to be focused and play the same game.
RLD: Back before you broke into the league, were there any players that you always looked up to? FB: My role model was always Ray Bourque. He was a great player. He won the Stanley Cup at the end, too. He was a great player on and off the ice and he was definitely my role model.
RLD: What are some hobbies you like to do off the ice? FB: I try to spend a lot of time with the family. We all know that in our sport we’re on the road a lot in the winter. When I’m home I get to spend time with my kids and play hockey with them… they love the sports. Since the middle of December, a lot of people have come visit us, so it’s nice to have some great dinner and spend some time at home.
Our podcast 'RLD Hockey Talk' is LIVE every Wednesday afternoon at 1:00 ET/Noon CT. Some of our notable guests in past episodes have been Dustin Brown, Doc Emrick, John Buccigross, Dave Strader, E.J. Hradek, Elliotte Friedman and Jay Grossman.