Breaking down the opposition, knowing what to expect and having an educated and prepared team are important keys for any team in any sport. But long before the Predators hit the ice in Smashville, video coach Robert Bouchard is toiling away in the editing room making sure the team is just that – prepared. Taking at least 180 minutes of tape and breaking it down into three-minute teaching tools is just one of the ways this coach helps the Preds prepare for action.
“My main responsibility as the video coach is to break down the opposition. Take a few game tapes of an opponent, watch it and cut it down to what I think the coaches want to see. The main thing is preparation, and then during the game I try to provide insight into what we are doing right what we are doing wrong so we can make corrections.”
Bouchard didn't get his start in hockey as the video coach.
“I was actually first hired for team services, but they had purchased a state-of-the-art video system with all the bells and whistles and needed to find someone to operate it. So long story short, I ended up being the video guy and team services coordinator the first year. Then after that first year David (Poile) basically asked what would I prefer to do; I knew I would like to do this.”
Since his decision to join the video and coaching end of the team, his position has evolved, and more importantly, Bouchard stated he can tell the trust and respect between him and head coach Barry Trotz has grown.
With this gained trust in his work Bouchard talked about the importance his position as video coach has become.
“The coaches really value my input. Every team now has one (a video coach) and we like to think we are a valued part of the staff, just because there is so much tape to go through, you couldn’t possibly do it as a head coach with all the other demands one has. But we work well together as a staff, and we do what we need to do to get these guys prepared before hand.”
When asked his favorite part of the job, being able to make difference and contributing to the end result was quickly the answer.
“When a player comes up and says what happened on that play or asks what he could do differently, I can help him. I know where I stand on the ladder, but it’s great to be able to make that kind of contribution.
Bouchard also takes pride the impact he has had with the team since Day One. He is proud to be part of the common goal of winning.
“The interaction I have with the players, and the satisfaction that anyone as a coach has win the team wins, is great. You really feel like you are contributing to success. Since we have been here, the goal has been to win the Cup, and that’s why I still want to be here. That’s what we are trying to do. I want to be a part of a program that started from zero and has turned into a championship team. We are all geared toward the same thing.”
A few weekends ago, Bouchard had his first go at coaching from behind the bench at the NHL level. Trotz asked Bouchard to come down during the third period of the Montreal game, and the Montreal native jumped at the opportunity.
“I guess he figured it was a good chance for me to get involved a little more in the game and see what it is like. Similar to when I started to go upstairs, it just gives you a whole other perspective. It really helps when you are developing things or trying to put things together on tape because you know exactly what you are trying to accomplish.”
Bouchard admitted that this change midway through the game came as a surprise but meant so much to him and his career as a coach.
“It obviously had special meaning because I am from Montreal and I think Barry knows that being behind the bench has been a goal of mine. It was just ironic, but a very classy move, to do it against Montreal. Just shows it cares.”
Prior to working with the Predators, Bouchard worked for 12 years for the National Hockey League, last serving as officiating coordinator.