During the last episode of the “Habs Tonight” podcast, former Montreal Canadiens player Del Wise Slug Joel Bouchard, who knew him as a coach at Laval Rocket.
The Quebec coach accepted the position as head coach of the San Diego Jules, the Anaheim Ducks School Club, earlier in July. Wise doesn’t think Bouchard’s departure is a huge loss, because he never really appreciated his way of doing things at Laval.
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“Some say he should have replaced [Dominique] Ducharme because he has a good hockey spirit. “I’m sorry, but I didn’t see any particular tactics or strategies in training coming from it,” the 32-year-old said.
Wise believes that the environment behind the scenes of Laval was toxic due to Bouchard’s presence. Dutchman Wayne Gretzky played about 30 games with the Rocket in 2019 and 2020.
“For me, a good coach is someone who is able to distinguish his life from hockey. This guy said he was a roller coaster of emotions. Every day you don’t know which human you would meet. It was a very toxic environment in my opinion.”
from the old school
Wise thinks Bouchard especially scares young people. Prior to coming to Laval, Montrealer had spent a decade behind the bench in the Major League Hockey League in Quebec, particularly with Blainville-Boisbriand Armada.
“It’s a technique we often see in youngsters, but it scares young people. […] “He doesn’t hit anyone, I can assure you, but the way he treats players is really old school,” Wise said.
“He is in the video room destroying a man for triviality rather than teaching him. He was constantly doing it with the youngest, in front of everyone.”
Finally, Weise realizes that Bouchard was only encouraging his men to work hard and that his coaching techniques made his opponents laugh. Although the Rocket won the Canadian Division titles in 2020-2021, he underscores that more credit must be given to CH’s stellar batch of hopes.