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Guy Boucher - Legend Ahead of His Time or One-Trick Pony?

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  • Guy Boucher - Legend Ahead of His Time or One-Trick Pony?

    Listening to Torts talk about the Sens this year, sounds a lot like what he said about them last year. Asked about the involvement of new assistant Paul McLean, he mentioned that Mac had some ideas on how to crack Ottawa's neutral zone, which is very tough to do.

    I remember Torts saying repeatedly last year how much trouble they had with Ottawa's neutral zone and how unique it was.

    D.J. Smith has been great at getting the players motivated again, but lets not kid ourselves, this is still a version of Guy Boucher's system that he spent an entire year teaching and implementing and that got the team to the Conference Finals in 2017. I don't know what happened after that. Did he lose the room? How did the room get so broken? How much was management and ownership responsible for the toxic environment? I've always felt that his fate in Tampa was tied to his goaltending. At the ripe young age of 42, Roloson had a spectacular run in 2011, but then by 2012 age had caught up to him; and Garon was not an NHL-callibre starter.

    Aside from Torts, listen to Sid Crosby on Spittin' Chiclets. The hosts are having a laugh about how boring Ottawa's defense was when they played in 2017, and Sid was like "man, that was such a tough defense to play against, nobody wanted to play them." Tampa was the same way under Boucher - remember the infamous "no forecheck - no breakout" by Philly?

    But as "boring" as it may seem to some, it was far from passive - perhaps the offensive zone forecheck is not very aggressive - but in the neutral zone, forwards need to backcheck ferociously because the D step up so aggressively and so high into the neutral zone. It requires everyone to be on the same page and to move as a unit. Personally I think it is a beauty to watch at work, when it's really working as a unit.

    Boucher is still just 48. I think he could still find his way to being a Hall of Fame NHL coach if he can find some consistency.
    Last edited by matchesmalone; 11-27-2019, 02:22 PM.

  • #2
    I've often wondered the same thing. That system with the players we had, combined with luck, that should have been a Stanley Cup team. Had they beaten Pittsburgh I have no doubt we would have cleaned up Nashville.

    As you say, Ottawa are still using a version of this defensively. For many years the Sens have been at their best when active in the neutral zone, then collapsing to the slot in the defensive zone, getting an initial save and then clearing away rebounds.

    Craig Anderson does not get enough credit, in terms of making that first save he has been one of the best goaltenders in recent memory. I don't know if there is a specific fancy stat for it but I'm sure numbers would back me up in this. Compare to, say, Gerber, or more recently a young Lehner.

    For Boucher, I don't want to be revisionist and say he was perfect but that system and structure played to the strengths of the team, just like they did in Tampa. You make an excellent point re: Roloson, he should never have been relied on long term.