On July 5th, Pierre-Marc Bouchard signed a 1-year, $2 million contract with the New York Islanders after the expiration of his contract with the Minnesota Wild, thus ending his 11 year tenure with the team. So, in light of that, I’ve put together this article to say farewell to “Butch” and re-live some of his most memorable moments in a Wild sweater.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard was drafted by the Minnesota Wild 8th overall in the 2002 Entry Draft. Physically tiny, he was picked for his amazing playmaking skills and team player mindset. He joined the team immediately as an 18 year old and found his feet over his first two season, gaining some playoff experience in 2003. During the 2005 lock-out he played with the Houston Aeros in the AHL where he really fulfilled his potential. His put-up excellent numbers for the next 3 seasons, having hs best year in 2007/2008. His 08/09 season was cut-short after 71 games when he was concussed after being boarded by Nate Thompson in a game against the New York Islanders (the very team he just signed with). Post-concussion symptoms wiped-out all but 1 game in his 09/10 season.
He finally returned to the ice in December 2010, playing well to finish-out the season. Things were going well for him in 11/12, until, in December, the notorious Zach Bogosian boarding incident occurred, effectively ending his season (bar one short-lived comeback).
I remember towards the end of that season and through the offseason and the lockout, most Wild fans (me included) very much doubted that PMB would ever be back. It was taken for granted that concussions had finished him off. Yet, somehow, he was back in the team when the 2013 season finally resumed. His play wasn’t quite at it’s normal level and there was speculation that he was taking his foot off the gas to avoid injury.
This, along with the emergence of Jason Zucker resulted in Bouchard getting demoted to the 4th line, and then scratched for a couple of games. When he got a chance to get back in the team because of injury to Zucker, he grabbed it with two hands and played extremely well for the rest of the season. He formed an excellent partnership with Kyle Brodziak and Jason Pominville that yielded excellent production, before Pominville’s regular season was prematurely ended by concussion.
Bouchard continued his good performance into the playoffs where he was one of the few Wild forwards who was able to be creative and cause the Blackhawks’ defencemen some headaches.
As the offseason began, it was made clear by the Wild that, pending UFA, Butch would not be offered a new contract, so when the free agency period began, he took his chance to sign with a playoff contender team full of young talent, in need of some veteran guidance and playmaking ability, and most of all, enjoy a change of scenery, after spending is entire career in the Minnesota Wild organisation.
Anyway, as a final farewell, here are 10 memorable clips from Bouchard’s time with the Wild. Enjoy!
Spinorama #1 (2006)
This is the 1st time PMB used his patented spin-o-rama move. Khabibulin would be reminded of this a few years later…
Batter Up (2007)
Butch shows fantastic skill and vision to chop an airborne puck into the net vs Colorado.
1 vs 4 (2008)
Probably his best goal. No words necessary, just watch it.
Bouchard Gets a Fighting Major (2008)
This video features the Canucks, in particular Burrows, being a bunch of dirtbags. Butch gets speared and cross-checked but still holds his own and doesn’t fall to pieces in a fight vs the aforementioned Burrows. Not bad for a guy who is about as non-physical as a hockey player can be.
The Commercial (2008)
Weird TV commercial featuring Bouchard and the late Derek Boogard (RIP). Worth watching just to see Boogie in special #24 pyjamas.
Top Corner (2009)
Scintillating one-timer here vs the Leafs. PMB showcases his speed and shooting ability here.
Bouchard and Stephane Veilleux talk about and play ping-pong. Very entertaining.
Spinorama #2 (2011)
Same move. Same goalie. This time from open play.
100th Goal (2013)
PMB gets his 100th goal, and a GWG, against ‘Lumbus. Nice goal and a great celebration afterwards. Vintage Bouchard.
Final Goal (2013)
His last ever goal was, fittingly, in an important playoff win vs the best team in the league. Not a bad way to get your last one. Pretty nifty goal too.
That’s all folks. Stay tuned throughout the offseason for more analysis and opinion, and feel free to hit me up on Twitter @GerDevine