There are multiple reports circulating that the Columbus Blue Jackets
have extended an offer to Guy Boucher to be their next head coach.
Boucher is the hot young name among up-and-coming coaches, and led the
Hamilton Buldogs of the AHL to an impressive 52-17-11 record with
Montreal Canadiens affiliate.
That the Blue Jackets have decided
to look to Boucher to be their next coach is no surprise, as he would
instantly bring fresh look to the franchise. At 38, he would be the
youngest coach in the NHL and there is nothing but good things to say
about his future in coaching. Yet there is the question of whether he is
actually ready to take the job and whether the Montreal Canadiens are
willing to let him leave their system.
Can the Canadiens really afford to let a
homegrown Francophone product
with some star qualities go elsewhere to ply his trade?
Montreal head coach Jacques Martin isn’t going anywhere, not right now
anyway, just one year into his tenure with the Canadiens.
suggests that perhaps Boucher and current Canadiens assistant coach
Kirk Muller would switch places, providing a promotion for Boucher and
an avenue for Muller to get head coaching experience before eventually
moving back to the NHL.
Columbus Dispatch suggests that it’s not just a matter of whether
the Canadiens are willing to let Boucher get away, but whether he would
actually fit with the personnel they currently have in place.
He has three college degrees and has been called a master motivator, a
team builder and a hockey
genius. He developed a 1-3-1 forecheck that relies on mobile defensemen
who can carry the puck.
This is where the anxiety creeps in. Of the Jackets’ defensemen, only
Kris Russell seems suited
for that, although former first-round draft pick John Moore would, too.
But would it work with Mike
Commodore? It’s hard to picture.
Then again, Howson hoped to rebuild the blue line this summer, so if
Boucher accepts – uh, a
young coach is being offered an NHL job and we have to wonder if he’ll
accept? Boucher’s reluctance
might be the most worrisome part.
Boucher has just one year of head coaching experience, and this could
be a time when a team is hoping to strike gold early. Boucher is on the
fast track to being the next great coach, and the Blue Jackets would
love nothing more than to finally be able to take the next step.