New Senators coach Boucher brings intensity on, off ice

The new coach of the Ottawa Senators says he'll bring some aggression, but only when necessary.

The morning after his hiring was announced, a bespectacled, soft-spoken Boucher was asked by CBC Radio Ottawa Morning host Robyn Bresnahan about his reputation for having a bit of a temper.

"Sometimes it's time to use it, sometimes it's not time to use it … I've had teams where they didn't need much emotion and I've had other teams where it's the opposite. It's really what you have and where the guys are," he told Bresnahan on Monday.

"I've had some individuals where you have to start softer and you become harder as you go along and some other guys it's the opposite. Do I have a temper? I think all NHL coaches have a temper whether you see it or not and it's just something you manage."

Boucher also used some in-your-face words when talking about the changes he would make to the Senators, who went 38-35-9 last season to miss the playoffs under former coach Dave Cameron.

"I think we want to have an aggressive penalty kill and the power play. I've taken care of power play now for 20 years, it's one of my fortes and I love working with it," he said.

"I see we have the personnel to play an 'accelerated power play,' I call it, a real 'immediate threat' mentality. I think we can certainly change that right away at the beginning of the year."

Rapport with GM

The 44-year-old father of three most recently coached SC Bern of Switzerland's top league and led Canada to gold at the 2015 Spengler Cup tournament, made up of Canadians playing in European hockey leagues.


Guy Boucher, who has a degree in sports psychology, led Tampa Bay to the Eastern Conference Final in his rookie year. ((Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press))

His NHL experience comes from parts of three seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning, who he took to within a game of the Stanley Cup Finals before underachieving and ultimately being let go late in the 2013 season — after a loss in Ottawa, of all places.

Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said they interviewed "just under 10" candidates to be their new coach.

"Through this process I had our assistant general manager Randy Lee with me and after we did the last interview I wrote down on a piece of paper, 'Who's your number one choice?' It was undoubtedly Guy [that] was our number one choice," he said.

Dorion said he spent more than 12 hours interviewing Boucher over the course of two meetings and felt they were on the same page from the beginning.

"We both want to play an up-tempo style, we both want to have defensive structure," Dorion said.

"One thing that really impressed me about guy was his attention to detail. The interviews weren't always kind questions and whenever problem situations arose during the questions Guy was right there ready to answer right away."

Defensive structure

Boucher said he too felt a good fit with Dorion and sees a lot of upside in the team he's taking over.

"You have the players that represent your style and I think we have that: speed up front, transitioning defencemen, good goaltender, the possibility of improving the defensive side of it with structure, which I think I'm known for," he said.

"But I think the partnership with the GM is absolutely something that I wanted to convey to the organization because I thought Pierre was something I could fit with."

Current Senator Mike Hoffman played parts of two seasons under Boucher when they were both in junior hockey with the Drummondville Voltigeurs.

Boucher will officially be introduced as the new coach at a 12:30 p.m. news conference Monday.

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