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Leave the future to the future Add to ...

Our alma mater is justly famous for producing pretty much the smartest of all smarty-pants.

Still, French Immersion couldn't resist going down to the Habs' rookie development camp in Brossard to day to try and match wits with our fellow McGill alum Guy Boucher and try to wheedle some exclusive-type exclusives about his future.

You'll recall the 38-year-old coach of the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs is the hot young thing among hockey bench bosses this year, and is rumoured to be courted by several teams, including the Columbus Blue Jackets, who are reportedly set to interview him for their head-coaching gig.

And so the assembled hacks deployed the mighty and fearsome journalistic arsenal (badgering, pleas, subterfuge) but Boucher, an historian and engineering grad who has a master's degree in sports head-shrinkery, is a tough nut to crack.

We ended up with this: "I love this organization [Montreal] I love what I do in it, and I love the people in it."

And this: "I have to practise what I preach to my players and focus on the moment."

At our feeble attempt at framing a hypothetical situation where he is asked for advice by a young up-and-coming coach who is being mooted for bigger things at a higher level, Boucher just scoffed.

"You're good," he said, before launching into some tedious piffle about how he takes his role in developing prospects seriously and wants to "respect the process" other teams are going through in choosing their coaches.

He needn't have bothered with all that stuff, we were broken and defeated at the first "I'm not going there" - there's no incentive within the FI corporate structure to be diligent, let alone insistent.

Still, we reckon there's a better than even chance Boucher will remain in the Habs fold for the time being.

Mostly because Boucher, who was coaching junior a year ago, wants to not only make sure he's ready to coach in the NHL (which he certainly is as a tactician and bench manager), but ready to be successful.

And after only one year in the pro ranks, he may not quite be there - unless someone were to throw him the keys to a ready-made Cup contender.

Our spies report that one of the factors that may weigh in Boucher's decision is term of an eventual contract, and the long-term situation of Columbus general manager Scott Howson, whose contract expires next year and reportedly contains a clause that allows either he or the team to walk away this summer.

If neither exercises the option, Howson will be extended through 2013.

Boucher, being a smart guy, would probably prefer not to suddenly find himself working for a new GM.

It might be tempting to work with young stars like Rick Nash, Steve Mason and Derick Brassard (whom Boucher coached in Drummondville).

Then there's the Tampa Bay, where new GM Steve Yzerman - close pal of McGill alumnus Mike Babcock, who is said to be a giant Boucher fan - is running the rule over coaching candidates.

Who knows if Boucher would want to plunge into a team that has looming contract decisions for the likes of Steven Stamkos and could well need to trade one or two franchise-type players in Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis.

And it's fair to say Mike Smith is not likely the guy to get it done in net.

That said, Jacques Martin apparently has three years left on his deal, and will be nearly impossible to dislodge before it runs out. So perhaps Boucher won't be inclined to ride the AHL buses that long.

Which is a roundabout way of saying we're not really sure what he's thinking.

Just that he's thinking, and at a much higher level than we are.

 

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