Boucher: The signal for reconstruction

Philippe Boucher played 17 seasons in the NHL, scoring 94 goals and 300 points in 748 games. The native defender of Saint-Apollinaire has notably had two seasons of 40 points and more. He made the All-Star Game in 2007, and lifted the Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in his final NHL season in 2009. A first-round pick (13th overall) of the Buffalo Sabers in 1991, he successively played for the Sabres, Los Angeles Kings, Dallas Stars and Penguins. At the end of his playing career, he held management positions with the Rimouski Oceanic, the Quebec Remparts and the Drummondville Voltigeurs in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). Philippe has agreed to work with the team to cover various current hockey topics.

The exchange of Tyler Toffoli at the Calgary Flames on Monday is no harbinger of a reset or an update – call it what you like – at the Montreal Canadiens. It rather gives the starting signal for a reconstruction, in my opinion.

It’s correct. It does not mean that all veterans will leave. Paradoxically, Toffoli had been one of the first to say publicly that he wanted to be part of the solution in Montreal. He is the first to leave. Others, who may have already expressed a desire to leave, will follow.

READ ALSO : Tyler Toffoli left the choice to Canadians

The Canadians appear to have gotten a good comeback, with a promising young forward and draft picks. It’s a luxury for a general manager to come to the draft with a good margin of manoeuvre.

Kent Hughes was quick to spring into action. He has a plan in mind, which he does not have to reveal to us, and he has set about implementing it. As soon as he took office, he announced that there would be changes. He said things were going to change during interim coach Martin St-Louis’ introductory press conference last Thursday. We understand that the departure of Toffoli is only the beginning of several gestures to come before the deadline for transactions, March 21.

Hughes was entrusted with the task of restoring the dignity of Canadians. He begins his reign with a blank page. He owes nothing to anyone. Unfortunately, he owed nothing to Dominique Ducharme and Toffoli.

That doesn’t mean his predecessor Marc Bergevin only did bad things. It’s just that Hughes comes up with his own vision. He was hired for that, to make decisions.

That of entrusting the reins of the team to St-Louis surprised me, as for everyone. When you take the time to settle, yes he finds himself in position with a different and particular roadmap, but that’s what he wanted to do the most, to be a coach in the NHL, and he would have ended up achieving his goal. one way or the other.

The situation arose sooner than expected and he took it. I find his speech refreshing. He thinks and he speaks like a coach. He’s a good hockey head and he’s ultra motivated. He has the stature and he has the respect of the players.

For all these reasons, I believe he is capable of meeting the challenge successfully. We appointed him on an interim basis, but I see him there for a long time. Like he said, he didn’t come to play substitute teacher. He’s a fighter, a winner. He will want to silence the detractors, like when he was a player. He won’t give up, you can be sure of that.

The Canadiens are yet to give him a win, after three games at the helm. Seems like it’s easier for younger players to be hungry. attackers Cole Caufield and Ryan Poehling react well. A dismissal of a ‘coach’ in the NHL is a first for them. It shook them up positively.

Conversely, for a veteran like Jeff Petry, the switch is harder to find. He feels the wall in the dark, but he can’t find it. He is unable to open the light. The metaphor may apply to other veterans, who envy Toffoli.

As for Ducharme, he can leave with his head held high. He was head coach of the Montreal Canadiens, we are not talking about a charity! The team made it to the Stanley Cup Finals last year. He can be proud of what he has accomplished.

This season, he hasn’t had the best assets in his game to allow him to find success. He had to deal with all sorts of events and circumstances.

Veterans like Brendan Gallagher had good words about him. And Gallagher certainly wasn’t speaking just for himself.

Michel Therrien has already told me after a dismissal that it was important for him to have the respect of the fans. Dominique Ducharme will have the respect of people. They realize he didn’t have it easy. When he comes back to Drummondville to watch a Voltigeurs game, people will be happy to see him again.

Interview by Robert Laflamme, senior reporter

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