Everyone knows the plight the Senators are in right now. And everyone knows the Maple Leafs are performing well for the first time in like 180 years. What the hell happened?! What kind of parallel universe is this?? What are our Southern Ontarian “friends” doing differently?? Well, Chad The Researcher just handed me a story that may alter the path of these two franchises, perhaps forever. Ok maybe just the next 6 months but still. According to this, Guy Boucher, the head coach of The Ottawa Senators, secretly met with Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock for lunch yesterday. What??? Why would they do that? Aren’t they mortal enemies?? Well, luckily, I had an insider that spied in on their conversation.
Guy Boucher was the first one to walk into the Denny’s Restaurant. He was wearing a fake mustache so as not to raise suspicion. About 5 hours later, a bald Mike Babcock entered and sat with his back to Boucher.
“Talk about late,” mumbled Boucher.
“I had to drive all the way from Toro—“
“It’s fine, it’s fine,” Boucher rolled his eyes.
”All right then, why did you call me here Guy? I told you we shouldn’t have contact in public. It’s too dangerous,” said Babcock.
“I know that Mike. I know the consequences this meeting could have. But I need to talk to you. I wouldn’t do this if it wasn’t important,” said Boucher.
Babcock turned around as he could hear the desperation in Boucher’s voice. “Well, get on with it. What’s ailing you?”
“What do you think of this weather we’re having? Global Warming? More like Global Colding, amirite??” Laughed Boucher, nervously.
Babcock stood up and began to walk out, so Boucher quickly yelled, “Mike wait, MIKE! I’m sorry. I’m not actually here to talk about the weather. I’m here to ask....for your help.”
Babcock looked down, gave a big sigh, and then returned to his table.
“You know I shouldn’t help you Guy. You know what happened last time I helped you. You ended up in Switzerland for 3 years,” said Babcock.
“Those were some of the best days of my life. The food in Switzerland was amazing. And oh my god the wine! Let me tell you about the wine! They have this wonderful pinot noi—“
“GET ON WITH IT GUY!” Yelled Babcock, impatiently.
“Okay, listen. This is hard for me to ask....but....I need to know.....your secret. Your secret formula for winning,” said a defeated Boucher.
Babcock adjusted in his chair with a humbled look on his face. Finally, Boucher would listen to someone.
“I am desperate. We are in a free-fall. A Tampa Bay style free-fall. If I don’t turn this around, I’m gonna lose my job, I’ll lose my house, my corvette, even Nancy, my Kamodo Dragon,” cried Boucher. “I can’t lose Nancy! She’s all I’ve got!”
“Calm Down Guy. I’ll help you. The answer is simple really. You need to listen to the needs of your team,” explained Babcock.
“Listen? You mean they need to listen to me because I am the boss,” said Boucher.
“Clearly something there isn’t working Guy. You need to understand and adapt to the problems,” explained Babcock. “For example, you’re playing Gabriel Dumont and Alex Burrows over legit young prospects with skill, smarts, and speed. Simply put, take out the players under-performing and put in the players that ARE performing.”
Boucher thought about it for a minute as he stroked his jaw. “You mean under-play the performers?”
Babcock slapped his forehead in frustration. “No. Play the performers.”
“Okay, I get it! I should play Gabriel Dumont on the first line with Tom Pyatt! They’re really nice guys, they let me borrow their PlayStation Switch and fed me candy,” said Boucher.
“No....no, you’re not listening Guy. You have Thomas Chabot and Chlapik, two great players that should have more ice time. I guarantee you that if they played more, you’d have more success as a team,” said Babcock.
Boucher’s eyes lit up. “Ahh okay, so like, I should play Burrows with Duchene to better Duchene’s offensive production. I get it,” said Boucher nodding.
”Oh my god, no. Okay. Let’s look at your defense. You’re playing Oduya way too much. He’s clearly lost a step and his ice time should reflect that. In fact, I’d be scratching him and playing Chabot and Jaros, two great defenceman more equipped for today’s NHL,” said Babcock.
“But Johnny Oduya is my best player. Well like, other than Cody Ceci. I’m not sure I’m following you? Anyways, what do you do when you get behind in a game?” asked Boucher.
“Well Guy, I adapt my system. Like, if I need a goal, I don’t play the trap, I tell my forwards to forecheck and be aggressive. Do you know what I mean?” asked Babcock.
Boucher blankly stared at Babcock for a minute. “No.”
“Jesus, okay, when you only play the 1-3-1 System, even when you’re behind by goals, you’re not gonna have success. You need to change things up on the fly and allow your highly skilled players like world-class Erik Karlsson to play their offensive game,” said Babcock.
“Ahhh I see what you mean. Okay, smart. I should play Gabriel Dumont and scratch or even better yet, trade Mike Hoffman! All he wants to do is score goals. Idiot!” said Boucher.
“ok......are we done here?” asked Babcock.
“Just one more thing, how do you get players to be accountable for their actions?” asked Boucher.
“Well Guy, there are many things you can do. You can reduce their ice time, you can even call them out in front of everyone. If they made a mistake, they need to know they did, so that they don’t make that mistake again in the future,” said Babcock.
“I see...Okay. Thanks Mike. I appreciate everything,” said Boucher as both men stood up.
“No problem Guy. Now I need to get back to my up and coming Stanley Cup contender team. Good luck the rest of the way,” said Babcock.
Guy Boucher smiled as Mike walked out. The moment he was out of sight, Guy yells out, “WHAT AN IDIOT. That guy knows NOTHING about hockey. WHAT A WASTE OF MY TIME.”