Bob Boughner and Sebastien Bordeleau played together in the Nashville Predators’ formative years.
That’s right, the San Jose Sharks head coach played with Thomas Bordeleau’s father.
“It just means I’m looking in the mirror and I’m old,” the 51-year-old bench boss laughed. “[Thomas] wasn’t even born when I was in Nashville.”
Boughner and Bordeleau skated for the expansion Preds, from 1998 until Mar. 2000, when Boughner was dealt to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Thomas Bordeleau was born on Jan. 3, 2002 in Houston, as Sebastien’s North American playing career was winding down. Sebastien Bordeleau would go on to star in the Swiss leagues for the next decade.
So it was a reunion when Thomas Bordeleau made his NHL debut in Minnesota on Sunday. Both Sebastien and Chantal Bordeleau were on hand.
“I hadn’t seen Thomas’s mom for 22 years since Nashville,” Boughner said.
Meanwhile, Boughner has run into Sebastien Bordeleau from time to time at the Draft – Sebastien has been a development coach for the Montreal Canadiens and Predators since 2017-18 – but Sunday in Minnesota, according to Boughner, “was really the first time I spent time talking to him in 20-plus years.”
Judging by the stories that Bob told us, it was fun reminiscing.
“I used to hang out with Sebastien a lot in Nashville,” Boughner recalled. “There were four or five guys that played instruments and they had their own little band set up in Nashville back in the day. They always tried to get me to sing, but I would be the guy bringing a six-pack of beer and just watching the guys. I was their biggest fan.”
Sebastien Bordeleau was the lead singer, but Boughner remembered Bordeleau as just being “okay” at the mic, which might explain why the band wanted to add another frontman.
Boughner, however, couldn’t besmirch his ex-teammate’s dedication to the show.
“We did a charity event one night and they actually played. They were on stage,” he said, chuckling. “Maybe a month before that, I can’t remember the exact timing, Sebastien broke his neck. So he was actually on stage with the big neck brace, he was singing with the band.”
Now, Boughner is watching another Bordeleau. Does he see anything from Sebastien in Thomas?
“They look similar on the ice and both have the baby faces,” Boughner quipped, before elaborating. “The stature, the skating, small. Both guys are strong on the puck. Both center icemen. Sebastien took a lot of pride in his draws and his faceoffs. He’s probably more skilled than he got credit for.”
The 5-foot-11 Sebastien Bordeleau notched 98 points in 251 NHL games with the Canadiens, Predators, Minnesota Wild, and Arizona Coyotes from 1995 to 2002. He found greater success when he moved to the Swiss National League, piling up 383 points in 392 games.
“[When] Sebastien broke in, it was a different era. It was the big, strong, clutch-and-grab, the game wasn’t as fast,” Boughner, who was one of those clutch-and-grab defensemen, acknowledged. “If Sebastien played today, he’d probably play 15 years and have an unbelievable career. But the game was different and for a small guy, he had to battle through that.”
Boughner also happens to be a big fan of the 5-foot-9 Thomas Bordeleau: “No knock on Sebastien, but I think Thomas’s skill levels are a lot higher than Sebastien’s.”
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