Mar 15, 2013, 4:38 PM EST
At 11-15-1 and seven points back of a playoff spot, the Tampa Bay Lightning have to be disappointed at how this season has unfolded.
Which begs the question: What will be done in response?
The answer could lie with the head coach, Guy Boucher, who’s fallen on hard times after breaking onto the scene three years ago with a 46-win regular season and a surprise appearance in the Eastern Conference finals.
Since then, Boucher and the Bolts have gone 49-51-9 and appear destined to miss the postseason a second straight time.
That’s not the only reason Boucher might be shown the door, though, as there are other issues surrounding his job security.
This has been off the charts in Tampa this season.
The goaltending situation has caused a great amount of acrimony, sure, but there have also been numerous quotes regarding the team’s overall lack of cohesion and ability to “put it all together.”
Steve Stamkos blasted the squad following a late February loss to the Rangers, calling Tampa’s effort ‘embarrassing.’ (Of note, it was the second time that month Stamkos referred to the Bolts’ play as embarrassing.)
Two weeks ago, Boucher said the Bolts were sabotaging themselves, making bad decisions at key moments of games.
After Thursday’s 2-0 loss to the Islanders, Boucher was visibly frustrated at the Lightning’s failure to play a complete game.
“It’s the story of our year,” he said. “We can’t get everything together on the same day. It’s tough. It’s tough.”
The frustration theme has even worked its way into Boucher’s practice regimen.
On Friday, Boucher said he burnt out some of his guys prior to Tuesday’s 3-2 win over the Panthers, admitting difficulty in gauging his team’s energy level.
“The game against Florida, I’ll be honest, we had a hard practice on the Monday and we didn’t have the same legs the next day,” Boucher explained. “It’s very, very delicate, the balance.
“Chicago just took two days off, completely, two days off, for their guys. So that balance this year is very difficult to find.”
Cooper is the head coach of Tampa’s AHL affiliate in Syracuse and is believed to be among the hottest young NHL coaching prospects around.
He led Norfolk — Tampa’s previous AHL affiliate — to a Calder Cup championship last year and captured the Louis A.R. Pieri Award as the league’s most outstanding coach.
The concern for Bolts GM Steve Yzerman? Losing Cooper to another club.
Given the amount of coaching turnover in the NHL — there were seven in-season changes last season alone — it’s fair to suggest Cooper will garner some interest once the season ends and GMs go looking for new bench bosses.
Yzerman could nix all of this, of course, by promoting Cooper.
At the same time…
Yzerman essentially gave Boucher a vote of confidence earlier this month, saying not in the organization’s character to make knee-jerk reactions.
“We try to think things through and if something makes sense we’ll move on with it proceed with it,” he told the Tampa Tribune. “Virtually 12 months out of the year you are exploring ways to improve your team you are looking for opportunities you stay in touch to see if there is anything going on and occasionally something pops up that makes sense and you find a fit.
“But again nothing is going to be done as a knee-jerk reaction.”
Yzerman said Boucher and his coaching staff were “doing a good job” and “working hard,” suggesting changes weren’t imminent.
At the same time, it’s curious to note that Boucher has just one year remaining on his contract while his assistants — Dan Lacroix and Martin Raymond — have their deals expire in June.
Dec 20, 2013, 11:12 PM EST
The latest round in one of the league’s great rivalries.
Dec 20, 2013, 10:54 PM EST
Winnipeg beat Florida 5-2.
Dec 20, 2013, 10:19 PM EST
The Rangers lost to the Islanders 5-3 on Friday.
Dec 20, 2013, 10:02 PM EST
He had about 100 loved ones on hand in New Jersey.
Dec 20, 2013, 9:48 PM EST
He managed the feat in 634 games.
Dec 20, 2013, 9:17 PM EST
A little improvement everyday for St. Louis’ captain.
Dec 20, 2013, 8:38 PM EST
His game misconduct hasn’t been rescinded, though.
Dec 20, 2013, 8:14 PM EST
They’re marketing it as “Back in Black.”
Dec 20, 2013, 7:53 PM EST
Reports indicate there was knee-to-knee contact with Mark Fistric.
Dec 20, 2013, 7:22 PM EST
The Bruins forward’s argument lasted five hours, per TSN’s Darren Dreger.
Dec 20, 2013, 6:39 PM EST
The Predators insist there haven’t been setbacks, though.
Dec 20, 2013, 5:12 PM EST
“It’s just going to take time,” said general manager Don Maloney.
Dec 20, 2013, 5:09 PM EST
“The replay shows I’m trying to get out of the way.”
Dec 20, 2013, 4:31 PM EST
“I think last night’s game is going to stick with me for a while,” coach Todd Richards said.
Dec 20, 2013, 4:07 PM EST
The play of 19-year-old Olli Maatta has helped the Penguins keep rolling.
Dec 20, 2013, 3:56 PM EST
“We didn’t have a belief we could prove it beyond a reasonable doubt,” said a Denver DA spokesperson.
Dec 20, 2013, 3:51 PM EST
Also, Dan Girardi’s acting skills.
Dec 20, 2013, 3:26 PM EST
Leafs haven’t done well since the start of 24/7.
Dec 20, 2013, 3:06 PM EST
Should be in Saturday to face Toronto.
Dec 20, 2013, 2:42 PM EST
James van Riemsdyk scored on Mike Smith… we think.
- Video: Ovechkin becomes sixth fastest player to 400 goals in Caps win 3
- TGIF: Five NHL games to watch this weekend 14
- Assault charges against Varlamov dropped 31
- Carlyle on HBO presence: ‘It’s not normal what we’re living right now’ 5
- Orpik: First days after Thornton attack were ‘miserable’ 69
- Video: Dustin Brown ejected for kneeing, Tomas Hertl won’t return (update) 64
- No supplemental discipline for Caps’ Wilson 32
- Habs healthy scratch Briere for first time this season 7
- Chiarelli says he’s not trading Marchand 21
- Schenn to play tonight; Oates maintains Wilson hit was ‘totally clean’ 54
- Updated: NHL suspends Thornton 15 games for Orpik attack (155)
- Reports: Thornton will appeal 15-game suspension (107)
- Lucic addresses fight video, says he’s ‘disgusted and outraged’ by Vancouver (103)
- Cam Neely questions length of Thornton’s suspension (78)
- Video: Penguins defeat Leafs, Bortuzzo called for illegal hit to head (71)