|Philippe Boucher retired September 3, 2009 after 17 years in the NHL.
LAKings.com caught up with former Kings defenseman and recent Stanley Cup Champion Philippe Boucher to ask him six questions about his recent retirement, playing with Luc Robitaille and his plans for the future.
A first round pick by the Buffalo Sabres (13th overall) in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft, Boucher played 17 seasons in the NHL before announcing his retirement on September 3, 2009. A member of the 2009 Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins, Boucher finished his career with 94 goals and 206 assists in 748 games. Boucher played for the Kings from 1994-2002 before he signed with the Dallas Stars as an unrestricted free agent. While a King, Boucher went to the playoffs twice, tallying two assists in eighteen postseason games.
LAKings.com: Congratulations on winning the Stanley Cup. Tell us about that experience.
Boucher: Thank you. To win is great; it is everything that you dream of. Going back to when you were a kid, you play street hockey, you practice and you play in tournaments, you always dream that someday you are going to win the Cup. It is no different when you enter the NHL; it is still your goal. For me to reach it at that stage in my career is pretty special.
Being at the White House was a treat. You go there, and you know that other teams have gone there because you have seen them, whether it is basketball, football or hockey, you have seen them. To get a private tour of the House and hear all of the history behind it; it was a long day and a fun day. Then at the end of it you get to meet the President, which was a great feeling. I was surprised at how accessible he was actually, because he was really nice to us. He loves sports so it was funny when he was kidding us about how he hopes that the Blackhawks win, but that he was happy Pittsburgh was able to win this year. It was pretty neat to see someone in that position that actually does care about and follow sports.
LAKings.com: You won the Cup playing with Rob Scuderi, who is now a King. What was it like playing with Rob?
Boucher: He is a great guy and he is going to mean a lot to the young defenseman that you have there. With his experience and the way he carries himself on and off the ice, what he brings to a team is great. He is not flashy at all, but anyone that had a Penguins jersey on last year knows what he meant to the team. Without a guy like that shadowing Ovechkin and shadowing all of the top guys, I am sure it would have been tough to win. I think it is going to be great for the Kings to have someone like that who plays the game the right way, plays it hard and is not afraid to stick his nose in there. In tough times I think he is going to mean a lot to that team.
LAKings.com: You played with another name that means a lot to the Kings, Luc Robitaille, a fellow Quebec native. What was it like to play with Luc?
Boucher: His attitude was great. I watched him play when I was growing up and heard all about him. My agent Pat is a good friend of his, so I heard all kinds of stories about Luc. Then I finally got to play with him and see him go hard on a day to day basis. It was awesome to see his enthusiasm for hockey and how much he cared about the game and his teammates. To see the love that everyone around him had for him was also pretty unique.
LAKings.com: What is your favorite moment from your time as a King?
Boucher: I think for me personally as a player, it was when I had a tough year and I was almost out of hockey after taking off a whole year with a foot injury. Then when I came back from that, they basically gave up on me for awhile. Once I started playing pretty well almost a year and a half after the original injury I was back. So for me, it was the fact that I was forgotten about for awhile and I was able to come back.
I think that as a team my fondest memories are first, playing with Gretzky when I first arrived which was special. Then towards the end, battling back and beating Detroit after being down two-nothing then three-nothing at home. We came back in three and went on to beat them after that, so that was pretty special for anyone who was part of the team at that time.
LAKings.com: If you could change one thing about your career, what would it be?
Boucher: Well, I went through a lot of tough times with injury, so obviously that would be part of it. But that taught me a lot: to never give up, to persevere and that if you keep working that good things are going to happen. I think that is what happened to me, going through some ups and downs and going through the injuries in L.A., then things went pretty good for me in Dallas but injuries plagued me again last season. But I never gave up and took whatever role they had for me I tried to do well and I think that I was rewarded in the end. Getting a ring, getting my name on the Cup was a reward for me for never giving up.
LAKings.com: Now that you have retired, what are your plans?
Boucher: Trying to get our lives together, I guess. Moving to Canada isn’t easy after 17 years in the States. So we are in the process of reorganizing everything, bringing everything back to Canada. The kids are in school, playing hockey and having fun, but for us it will be another month of organizing everything. From there, I have had a few television offers here and there for hockey, but I am not sure. I want to take my time, I want to travel a little bit and mainly I want to enjoy my kids. I want to go to hockey games, I want to go to hockey tournaments; I want to see the kids grow up. My daughter is in first grade, so I want to be a part of that. Not that I wasn’t a part of it, but now you get to be there all the time. I get to go coach my son’s practice tonight, which is something I was never able to do before. So I want to focus on family for awhile, have fun and then I have some little projects that I am looking into for the future.
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