Skip to content

Is Boucher on the hot seat in Tampa Bay?

Mar 15, 2013, 4:38 PM EST

Guy Boucher AP

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.

Frustration

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.”

Jon Cooper

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.

Related

Boucher on slumping Bolts: ‘We have to find a way not to sabotage ourselves’

Bolts captain Lecavalier (lower body) out indefinitely, headed to IR

Yzerman: Lightning aren’t looking to trade for a rental

Latest Posts
  1. Canucks’ Dorsett suffers upper body injury in loss to the Ducks

    Jan 28, 2015, 1:45 AM EST

    Derek Dorsett Getty Images

    Vancouver has now been shutout in back-to-back home games.

  2. Letang’s five assists help the Pens past the Jets

    Jan 28, 2015, 1:00 AM EST

    Kris Letang Getty Images

    Pittsburgh was without Crosby and Malkin.

  3. Trade: Pens acquire Lapierre from Blues for Goc

    Jan 27, 2015, 10:45 PM EST

    Maxim Lapierre AP

    Both players are unrestricted free agents after this season.

  4. Halak, Islanders beat the Rangers for a third time this season

    Jan 27, 2015, 10:15 PM EST

    Travis Hamonic, Jaroslav Halak AP

    Okposo missed his first game due to an upper body injury.

  5. Video: Habs’ Emelin ejected for hit on Stars’ Spezza

    Jan 27, 2015, 9:30 PM EST

    Alexei Emelin. Alexei Emelin.

    Received a major penalty and a game misconduct for boarding.

  6. Stars’ Nichushkin begins skating

    Jan 27, 2015, 8:30 PM EST

    Valeri Nichushkin Valeri Nichushkin

    The 19-year-old underwent hip surgery in November.

  7. Video: Mason replaces Emery in the Flyers’ net

    Jan 27, 2015, 8:05 PM EST

    Steve Mason AP

    The Philly starter allowed two goals on the first four shots.

  8. Report: Canucks take Markstrom off the market

    Jan 27, 2015, 7:35 PM EST

    Jacob Markstrom Jacob Markstrom

    Jim Benning was “exploring” a trade for the goaltender.

  9. WATCH LIVE: Lightning at Hurricanes (7:30 p.m. ET)

    Jan 27, 2015, 6:30 PM EST

    J.T. Brown, Steven Stamkos, Jonathan Drouin AP

    Tampa has won both meetings between the two clubs this season.

  10. Coyotes could give Domi his NHL debut this season, says Maloney

    Jan 27, 2015, 5:06 PM EST

    Phoenix Coyotes v Vancouver Canucks Phoenix Coyotes v Vancouver Canucks

    “There’s a potential even to bring him to Arizona for at least a cup of coffee at the end of the year.”

  11. Isles begin life without Okposo, but get Grabovski back tonight

    Jan 27, 2015, 3:33 PM EST

    Mikhail Grabovski, Lubomir Visnovsky, Kyle Okposo Mikhail Grabovski, Lubomir Visnovsky, Kyle Okposo

    He’ll play on the top line with John Tavares and Josh Bailey against the Rangers.

Featured video

Who will excite most in All-Star game?
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. E. Malkin (3365)
  2. S. Crosby (3319)
  3. K. Letang (3223)
  4. S. Bobrovsky (2906)
  5. C. Price (2487)
  1. P. Hornqvist (2382)
  2. T. Johnson (2243)
  3. J. Ortio (1961)
  4. P. Rinne (1950)
  5. M. Richards (1742)