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Canadiens continue to revamp hockey department

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The Canadiens have a reputation for being a small team, and it may be fitting that one of the newest members of the scouting staff is Serge Boisvert, a speedy winger whose size was an issue when he tried to break into the Canadiens' lineup in the 1980s.

Boisvert, who has served as a development consultant for the past year, has been handed a full-time assignment as an amateur scout, with particular emphasis on Quebec. The Canadiens have taken a lot of heat in the past decade because they haven't done a good job of identifying and drafting homegrown players. Since 2000, the list of Quebec players who made it to the NHL after being drafted by the Canadiens is limited to Maxim Lapierre(notes) and Guillaume Latendresse(notes).

The Canadiens have managed to find some potential diamonds in the rough in undrafted free-agent prospects like David Desharnais(notes), Cedric Desjardins and Frederic St. Denis, but they have missed players like David Perron(notes) and Claude Giroux(notes).

Boisvert, who replaces part-timers Denis Morel and Michel Boucher in general manager Pierre Gauthier's shakeup of the hockey department, knows what it's like to be overlooked. He had two 50-goal seasons with the Sherbrooke Castors in the QMJHL, but NHL teams shied away from him because he was barely 5-foot-9. Toronto gave him a chance, and the Canadiens stepped in when the Maple Leafs gave up on him.

Boisvert's NHL numbers are modest -five goals and seven assists in 46 games over five seasons. But there was no mistaking his heart, and he played his best hockey at playoff time. He had three goals and five assists in 12 games with the Canadiens in 1985, and a year later had eight playoff appearances on a team that won the Stanley Cup.

In 1988, the Canadiens lent Boisvert to the Canadian Olympic team, which finished fourth in Calgary. The next season, he moved to Davos in the Swiss League, and he spent the next decade playing in Sweden and Norway. In all, his professional career spanned 20 seasons before he turned to coaching in Norway.

Boisvert was one of six appointments to the Canadiens' hockey department announced yesterday.

Ryan Jankowski, who was the assistant general manager and director of scouting for the New York Islanders, joins the team as an amateur scout, while Vaughn Karan replaces Gordie Roberts as a pro scout alongside Doug Gibson. Karpan has spent the past five seasons as an amateur scout with the Canadiens.

Christer Rockstrom, who has spent 26 years scouting for the Detroit Red Wings and New York Rangers, joins the Canadiens as a European scout.

Pierre Allard becomes the team's third strength and conditioning coach in as many years, while Ken Morin has been appointed to the new post of hockey information co-ordinator.

The hiring of Morin, who is a former captain of the McGill Redmen, recognizes the growing role of technology in the NHL. His job description will be evolving as the season goes on, but he'll spend a lot of time watching video to help Gauthier and his staff assess players, examine trends in the game and scout opponents.

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