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The Rocket focuses on youth development, not enough on the Calder Cup
Credit: Getty Images
The regular BPM Sports teams have been on vacation for a week or two, but the replacements are doing a good job at the moment.

This morning, Anthony Marcotte welcomed former Rocket head coach (and new head coach of the Clarkson University men’s team) Jean-François Houle to the morning show. Houle agreed to sign a contract extension with the Rocket… only to ask the organization a few days later to break the new contract so he could sign with his American alma mater.

Better salary? Waiting for real negotiations from the Rocket, as Houle’s contract expired? Greater long-term stability? Closer ties with his family back in the U.S.? A number of reasons have been put forward left and right to explain J-F Houle’s change of heart.

But listening to BPM Sports this morning, we can understand between the lines that the former Rocket head coach would have liked to have had a few more veterans during his three years in Laval to 1) increase his chances of winning and 2) better mentor the organization’s many young players.

The school club, it should be used to develop your best young players, but also to try to win championships. It pleases your fans… and it prepares your best young players to one day win in the NHL.

It also keeps them from getting lost too often in the bars of Montreal and Laval…

The Rocket, on the other hand, seemed to have only one of these two objectives: to develop. Because if J-F Houle says he wants fans to add veterans to aim for the Cup, it’s because that’s not how it was when he was head coach. And that can bother a coach in the long term, even if he’s done very well in terms of youth development.

Every coach wants to win… and wants the resources to do it.

Last season, Houle would have liked to get some help in front of the net, but it was a long time coming. According to my sources, the Rocket could have acquired Louis Domingue quite early in the season, but preferred to wait… and sign Kasimir Kaskisuo later (too late?).

Could the fact that the Rocket had so many young players and so few veterans have played on J-F Houle’s mind to the point of making him accept an American university offer? Of course it did. That and many other factors.

I imagine that Houle was told by his superiors at Clarkson University that he could coach a team in his own image.

Will this make John Sedgwick and Canadiens management think twice about what’s next in Laval? We hope so, because Rocket fans deserve to see a winning team on the ice at Place Bell. We must aim for the Cup, nothing less.

The Capitals offered help to Todd Nelson and the Hershey Bears… and it paid off, as the Bears won the Calder Cup last night. Hendrix Lapierre (21, playoff MVP ), Pierrick Dubé (24), Ivan Miroshnichenko (19) and the rest of the team’s youngsters were well supported.

Who will replace J-F Houle in Laval?
We still don’t know who the Rocket’s next head coach will be, but according to my sources, the hiring process is already well underway. Could Pascal Vincent, who is still being paid by the Blue Jackets, be tempted to accept the challenge? When you’re paid for nothing, you might take your time, you know…

Note that Yanick Jean, current head coach of the Saguenéens, has withdrawn from the list of potential candidates for Laval. He told Anthony Marcotte this morning that he wanted to stay in Chicoutimi for at least two years, citing personal and contractual reasons.


– Dylan DeMelo will be back in Winnipeg.

– Nearly $6 million a year for Casey Mittelstadt in Denver.

– Matvei Michkov has things to prove before he becomes an NHL player.

Rumor: Brett Pesce in New Jersey?

– The Adidas logo will no longer be on NHL jerseys next season.

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