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Guy Boucher is getting a little antsy

Oct 17, 2011, 12:07 PM EDT

Tampa Bay Lightning v Boston Bruins - Game Seven Getty Images

To say Tampa Bay head coach Guy Boucher is somewhat restless over his team’s 1-2-2 start is a slight understatement. He spent the better part of last week addressing nearly every issue plaguing his Lightning:

— First, how the team had to re-learn “the process” and re-dedicate itself to defense.

— Next, eschewing “sophomore psychology.”

— Finally, a lineup change.

Unfortunately for him, nothing’s worked. After scratching Teddy Purcell and Ryan Shannon on Saturday, Boucher and the ‘Ning dropped a 3-2 shootout decision to in-state rival Florida (although they’ll have a chance for revenge tonight in their home opener at the renovated St. Pete Times Forum). It was Tampa’s fourth consecutive loss which, despite Boucher praising his team’s work ethic, probably sparked some more hand-wringing/fingernail-chewing.

But hey, don’t you think maybe Boucher’s been a little too fidgety in addressing Tampa’s woes? The Lightning started the season on their longest road trip of the year — a five-gamer that went through Carolina, Boston, Washington, Long Island and Miami — and lost shutdown defenseman Mattias Ohlund (knee) for a month. Oh, and lest we forget this team overachieved wildly last season to come within one game of the Stanley Cup final. The early-season hangover was pretty predictable.

It’s in times like these you forget Boucher, 40, is the NHL’s third-youngest coach with just two years of pro experience. While he’s a tremendous competitor and Xs/Os guy, he’s also super intense. ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun wrote earlier about how Boucher is still evolving as an NHL coach, a demanding individual described as “hard, but fair” and “very honest, but very fair” by two of his players. (Which is code for “I think he hates me,” in case you were wondering.) He doesn’t strike you as a guy that would be okay with any stretch of lackluster or indifferent play…even if it did occur from games one-through-five of an 82-game schedule.

  1. Mia - Oct 17, 2011 at 12:29 PM

    I think perhaps you meant that he was “eschewing sophomore “jinx”” and espousing “sophomore psychology”.

    I wasn’t wondering what “tough, but fair” meant, but since you brought it up, does Martin St. Louis strike you as a person who thinks his coach hates him?

    On more than one occassion, Boucher has very much indicated that he is NOT as much worried about the “X’s & O’s” as he is the little things that make the “X’s & O’s” difficult for his team to achieve given the current learning stage in which the team is in considering the big picture. I believe he is a process guy and couldn’t agree with him more on his approach.

    Is it possible you were thinking of Bruce Boudreau when you mentioned “X’s/O’s guy?”

    Thanks for the perspective and happy hockey season!

  2. Mike Halford - Oct 17, 2011 at 12:39 PM

    — Boucher stated that sophomore psychology “is thinking you thinking you’re good, that’s why you don’t perform.” Unless I’ve misunderstood that quote entirely, I’d say he’s trying to eschew that.

    — The tough but fair bit was a joke. Haha?

    — Boucher’s 1-3-1 is very much Xs and Os. I would never consider Boudreau an Xs and Os guy, unless X and O was a type of barbeque sauce.

    • Mia - Oct 17, 2011 at 6:57 PM

      You’re right about “eschewing the sophomore psychology” in the way you replied. However, I think my point was more geared to the way the original information was presented and the way in which I understood it. It was my mistake in interpretation made mostly because I had just heard Boucher claim that he felt the “Sophomore Jinx” was “BS” & that what’s actually happening is more like “Sophomore Psychology”. I do agree with him on that point, but I did correct a mistake you didn’t actually make. For that, I appreciate the clarification and thanks for setting me straight on that.

      I did get the “joke”, but I had a chat with someone who absolutely did not get the joke. I was actually being a bit “dry sarcastic” funny as well. Neither translated via text as well as they were inteneded. Maybe some sort of indication that humor was intended would have been useful on both of our parts.

      Athough really, I believe that Marty pouts a lot and feels entirely unappreciated by his coach all the time. I’m fairly certain Boucher has a great disgust for St. Louis and probably goes home to his wife professing his utter dislike for #26 (This one is all silliness of course).

      On the X’s & O’s – I suppose we may have a difference in how we view it. Based on Boucher’s responses to these questions here: and the 978,064,083,001,623 and growing pixels spewed forth from the mega-media machine that is the Washington Capitals, I will have to disagree with you on the Boucher part & leave it up to the maker’s of “BB’s BB Sauce” to decide if Gabby really is an X & 0 guy (see, I like humor too).

      I like replies to comments, so it’s a good day in hockey then eh? Thanks

  3. ruddigervancity - Oct 17, 2011 at 12:48 PM

    He seems more on edge now than after that bad beat he had a few years back:

  4. whatswellydoing - Oct 17, 2011 at 10:45 PM

    Intelligent and measured discussion in the comments? Punctuation AND correct spelling. I’m not sure I can get used to this new kurtenblog…

  5. wombat2thereturn - Oct 18, 2011 at 2:57 AM

    all i want to know is, who gave boucher that cool scar?

    looks like his girlfriend was etching a heart in his face, but he got her off him before she could finish it. she always was a bit clingy.

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