Guy Boucher may never have set NHL scoring records or won the league’s MVP trophy on numerous occasions, but unlike Wayne Gretzky, he’s got what it takes to coach.
Following a 7-0 manhandling of the Belfast Giants at the Gardiner Cup tournament in Edinburgh on Saturday, and a 1-0 defeat of rivals the Toronto Marlies on Thursday, Boucher was commended by his new charges.
Team captain Mike Glumac praised the coach for his intensity, which has rubbed off on the rest of the team.
“He’s got a lot of great ideas, different idea that some of the team haven’t seen before, but he has us working on them every day to ensure we get them straight,” he told HabsWorld.net. “It’s good to have the preseason to work on them and get on the same page, because once we perfect those I think we’ll be pretty good.”
“A lot of our core guys are back but we have some new additions too so it looks like we’re going to be a fast team and a good transition team, which, with Guy’s help, should hopefully turn out well for us.”
Glumac’s line, together with Brock Trotter and David Desharnais, combined for several goals in the 7-0 drubbing, which featured over 50 shots on net. But the game’s number one star was starting Great Britain netminder Stephen Murphy, who managed a respectable .860 SV%.
Desharnais was also complimentary of Boucher’s shake-up, having been on the receiving end of some advice at the early morning practice on Saturday. The team has practiced almost every day since arriving in Scotland on Wednesday, unlike their Canadian counterparts who’ve managed just one practice this preseason.
“Everything [Boucher] does is different compared to what we were used to last season, it’s a different mentality, but it’s good for us and will help us get to the next level,” he said.
Boucher, for his part, still feels there is a lot of work to do before the team gets anywhere close to ready to challenge for the Calder trophy.
“Our intensity was there but obviously our execution lacked in preciseness, so while I’m not expecting things to be perfect, I’d at least like to get some of our concepts in place and see how the guys fit into their roles.”
Boucher was impressed by the current top line of Trotter, Desharnais and Glumac, and said he has high hopes for them and one of the Habs’ many acquisitions of the summer.
“The top line played together last year, and since we’re missing some players they’re our top line right now,” he said. “This could be a line to challenge our top line, and if we can have two top lines this season then I won’t be crying.”
“[Mikael Johansson] has great skills, so it’s a matter of how to make use of those skills with less time, as there’s always somebody in your face in North America,” he added. “He’s got the grit, he’s got good heart, so he should be fine.”
“Some Europeans come over and don’t have the grit, and don’t make it. Likewise, some North American skaters go overseas and get lost in the fast-paced east-west game. But I think Mike will adjust because every day you see improvement and I think he’ll be a real good player for us down the road.”
The Bulldogs take on the Marlies in the Gardiner’s championship game on Sunday night before heading back home for a busy week on Monday.
* Ryan Russell was awarded the Bulldogs’ “Man of the Match” prize after recording two goals. Also deserving of recognition was Andre Benoit, whose shot-blocking abilities will have fans saying “Mike Komi-who?” this season.
* Most of the team spent Friday on a scavenger hunt along Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile, taking photos of famous landmarks.