Philippe Boucher ponders Penguins, career, retirement

Special thanks to our residential French translator Becky for passing along this news.

Phillipe Boucher is considering retirement, according to a report from Canoe.ca, the Journal de Quebec (translated from French):

"I know the coach (Dan Bylsma) and general manager (Ray Shero) well and they've offered me the chance to come back, but in a very specific role.  It would be something like that of Patrice Brisebois in Montreal, working mostly with the younger players on the team.  If everyone stays healthy my ice-time could be limited, but there are always lots of injuries that come up during the season.  It'll be up to me to see if that interests me," Boucher said yesterday before jumping onto the ice at the Saint-Étienne arena.

Boucher thus has to figure out if he wants to come back as a seventh or eighth defenseman with the Stanley Cup champions.  "It's still early and we haven't set any deadline.  I've had contacts with other teams, and we'll see what the future brings.  With regard to hockey, I'm not at all worried about my future.  In any case, there are still a lot of us without contracts in the NHL."

Boucher made $2.5 million last season which is, safe to say, way more than he can expect to make if he does return to the Pittsburgh line-up.  Injuries plagued most of his season, as Boucher played in only 25 games and produced slim numbers:


G A P +/- PIM
2008 - Philippe Boucher 3 6 9 6 39

Boucher's nine playoffs games contributed one goal and three assists to the Penguins' run as well.

Hmmm bringing him back in a limited veteran role?  It doesn't sound like Boucher is sold on it.  Frankly, neither am I.  Is this something the Pens are getting anyway from a guy like Jay McKee?  I don't suspect McKee's role to be limited, but his $800,000 contract definitely is (and something he was entirely comfortable with).  His 14 years in the league also qualify him for veteran status, so we know he can bring some leadership and coaching to the younger guys.

Later in the Canoe article, Boucher adds that he considered retiring as early as last season:

"I started to think about retiring last winter; the season was long.  But I'm training as though I'm returning for another year.  Personally, everything's going fine, but it's harder for my family.  We either stay in Pittsburgh, return to Quebec, or we move to another city so that I can keep playing hockey.  There are several scenarios on the table, and my family is anxious to be settled."

There's a chance this may end the same way Gary Roberts' career did in Tampa.  And by that I mean, midseason.  I'd imagine Boucher wants to put in a full season somewhere, but he also has the championship likely tempting him as a way to go out on top (Jerome Bettis anyone?). 

Any thoughts on Boucher?  Would you welcome him back in a limited role or is this one of those unfortunate incidents where we must part ways?

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