"Montreal was a very strong team at the time. Toe Blake was coaching. I got a chance to go to the NHL when they expanded. It's hard to turn down a chance to get into the NHL. I was coaching the Junior Canadiens who had moved back to Montreal. I got the opportunity to go to St. Louis from Lynn Patrick. He was going to be the general manager, and I coached his son Craig in junior hockey in Montreal. When he got the job with the Blues, he hired me as his assistant. I decided I really should take a chance. I was fortunate the league expanded and I got an opportunity to get to one of the expansion franchises."His time in St. Louis was a success, after becoming head coach after mere weeks into the season, Scotty’s teams went on to reach the finals in each of his first three seasons in the NHL. No doubt Scotty learned much.
Apprenticeship completed, his old head coach and friend Sam Pollock convinced Scotty to rejoin his hometown club in 1971. The rest is history.
Guy Boucher may never match Scotty Bowman’s achievements, but his path to the NHL coaching ranks is at least somewhat similar. In both cases, the coaches had keen eyes for talent, a commitment to winning and the determination to outstretch their rival coaches. Both were also known stars of the Canadiens organizations they were part of.
In following Bowman’s path out of the Canadiens family to stretch his legs, we hope that the similarities continue ¬ there’s really nothing else to be done. In the new world of the NHL, where teams from one season rarely resemble the one three years down the line, there’s no real reason to fret over Boucher. We simply hope he can learn and thrive while keeping the candle he has for the Canadiens organization flickering until the opportunity for his return may come.
On a related note, one would think that the hiring of Guy Boucher last year will have taught the Canadiens management team a valuable lesson about installing quality personnel under the main team. I hope that in addition to holding early camps, firing scouts, signing Americans and negotiating with Plekanec that Gauthier is dedicating a substantial slab of time to scouting the next Bulldogs coach.