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Letters from Camp: Day 3

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
MONTREAL - Newly-minted Hamilton Bulldogs coach Guy Boucher was the man of the hour in Brossard on Day 3 at the Habs’ rookie camp. With a handful of his former players and opponents working their way through camp and up the Canadiens’ depth chart, Boucher will have no shortage of familiar faces to call on this season.

The Bulldogs’ new bench boss took the opportunity on Wednesday to break down some player development strategies he has in mind for some of the future-Habs in attendance in Brossard this week.

“I’m really trying not to define what my team will look like while I’m here. Players coming into camp are thinking about making it to the NHL and I need to respect that and not speak to them like they’re my players right now,” explained the Boucher, who will be at the helm of the Habs’ farm team in Hamilton this season. “I sincerely hope they all make it to the NHL as fast as possible.”

Familiar territory
After lighting it up for the Drummondville Voltigeurs last year, Philippe Lefebvre was the only rookie to receive a special invite to the week-long camp in Brossard. Having led the Voltigeurs to the President’s Cup under the tutelage of Guy Boucher, Lefebvre wasn’t shy to offer up a glowing review of Hamilton’s newest coach.

“Guy is the best coach I’ve ever had. On one hand, he brings that psychology that can really help motivate you to be your best. He’s also a great strategist; he’s got a great system, which is sometimes a little complex, but it works,” admitted the 18-year-old, who also admitted that given his former coach’s ability to adapt, making the jump to the AHL coaching ranks should be a breeze next season.   

Last year, Olivier Fortier captained his Rimouski Oceanic to the QMJHL semifinals where he took on Guy Boucher’s Voltigeurs. While the loss still stings for Fortier, the 20-year-old has nothing but praise for his former foe.

“It’s kind of cool to think that Guy Boucher could be my coach since we were kind of like enemies last season. But don’t forget, he was my coach for a season when he was with the Oceanic [as an assistant coach],” added Fortier. “I know him well and I know the kind of game he likes to play. I think I could fit in well with that style.”

Despite being sidelined by injury for most of 2008-09, the speedy sniper still managed to display some of the trademark offense that earned him a three-year deal with the Habs last March. After posting 35 points in just 29 regular season games for the Oceanic, Fortier added another nine in 13 postseason appearances.

Vincent Cauchy is a writer for Translated by Shauna Denis

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