Lightning strikes: Guy Boucher to be named new Tampa head coach

It’s not often you get a roller coaster of a day like this when it comes to head coaching moves. The day started off with Hamilton Bulldogs coach Guy Boucher turning down an offer to coach the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Blue Jackets then, very professionally, moved to the next man on their list and tapped Manitoba Moose head man Scott Arniel to be their next head coach. Now it appears we know why Boucher shot down the Blue Jackets as a report out of Quebec suggests he’s headed to Tampa Bay to coach the Lightning.

According to Quebec website Rue Frontenac (link in French) and later confirmed by TSN’s Bob McKenzie, via Twitter, Guy Boucher will be named the new bench boss of the Lightning this week. Julian Sanchez of Pension Plan Puppets was kind enough to give a translation of Rue Frontenac’s piece for us to share with you here.

According to three sources, the hiring will be announced at a press conference in Tampa on Wednesday.
 
The most coveted coach in America has tendered his resignation to the Canadiens and Bulldogs organisations and is headed to Florida in the company of two of his assitants Martin Raymond and Daniel Lacroix.

The departure of his assistants is still uncertain according to our sources. However, it does seem strongly possible that they will rejoin Boucher behind the bench in Tampa.

Lacroix has already been an assistant with the New York Islanders.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie backed up what was said by Rue Frontenac through Twitter saying this:

Sources say Boucher deal will be finalized in morning. Believed to be for 4 years. Rue Frontenac reporting his Hamilton staff joining him.

This is a whole lot of drama for fans in Montreal as many fans had their hearts set on Boucher being the next head coach of the Canadiens, especially after all the success had by the 38 year-old head coach in AHL Hamilton this year. With head coach Jacques Martin having his major ups and downs with the Habs this year, many fans and supporters saw Boucher as the beacon of hope for the future, believing that Martin’s future wasn’t long in Montreal. It appears that if Boucher is indeed gone and his whole staff is going with him, the Canadiens will be left with a lot of explaining to do to their fans both in Montreal and in Hamilton.

As for Tampa Bay, general manager Steve Yzerman gets his man, albeit with a fair amount of drama surrounding the selection now. Boucher gets to coach a team that is headlined by Steven Stamkos, Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis and Victor Hedman. Those aren’t bad starting blocks for any coach to work with and for Boucher, his choice of going to Tampa over Columbus is one to likely sting Blue Jackets fans as much as it will jilted Montreal fans. After all, it appears that Boucher is opting for the wealth of talent in Tampa over Rick Nash, Derick Brassard and Steve Mason in a much tougher Central Division and Western Conference.

 

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    Datsyuk ‘wants to make sure the Wings have options,’ says his agent

    TAMPA, FL - APRIL 21:  Pavel Datsyuk #13 of the Detroit Red Wings checks his stick before a face-off against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period in Game Five of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on April 21, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
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    Pavel Datsyuk‘s future with the Detroit Red Wings and in the National Hockey League has been up in the air for a while now, as he’s linked to rumors of a return to Russia and the KHL.

    His agent, Dan Milstein, recently explained to the Detroit Free Press that Datsyuk’s future should become clear in mid-June after meeting with Red Wings general manager Ken Holland.

    As per General Fanager, Datsyuk has one more year left on his current deal, which comes with a cap hit of $7.5 million.

    From the Detroit Free Press:

    “He would like to leave, but at the same time, he wants to make sure the Wings have options,” Milstein said. “He wants to help the team any way he can with the salary cap issue.”

    Wings general manager Ken Holland has said there are no loopholes. Because Datsyuk signed his last contract after he turned 35, his $7.5 million salary cap hit remains in tact even if Datsyuk departs. The Wings’ only option is to trade his contract to a team such as Arizona or Carolina that could use the hefty cap hit in order to be above the salary cap minimum.

    At the age of 37, his career in the league started in 2001-02, and has spanned 953 regular season games in which he’s accrued 918 points.

    He’s had a highly decorated career, with two Stanley Cup championships with the Red Wings, three Selke and four Lady Byng trophies.

    Allen or Elliott? Another goalie decision looms for Hitchcock

    ST LOUIS, MO - MAY 23:  Jake Allen #34 of the St. Louis Blues tends goal against Nick Spaling #16 of the San Jose Sharks during the third period in Game Five of the Western Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scottrade Center on May 23, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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    The St. Louis Blues need to win Game 6 on Wednesday, or their season is over. Who they decide to turn to in net is likely to be a talking point — heated debate, maybe? — leading up to that contest.

    Do they go back to Jake Allen for a third consecutive start, despite the fact he allowed four goals on 25 shots in Monday’s Game 5 loss to the San Jose Sharks? Or, will head coach Ken Hitchcock turn once again to Brian Elliott, who started every single game from the series opener of the first round versus Chicago to Game 3 of the Western Conference Final.

    Hitchcock at least felt that going with Allen over Elliott in Game 4 provided the necessary spark for his team, as the Blues evened the series.

    But on Monday, the Sharks, on the strength of two Joe Pavelski goals, eventually overpowered the Blues for the win, moving San Jose one victory away from the Stanley Cup Final.

    “I thought he was fine. I don’t know, those are decisions we make in a day or so. But I thought he was fine today. He stopped some point-blank shots, especially early, three times early,” Hitchcock told reporters.

    “I don’t know. That’s stuff we’ll talk about tomorrow.”

    Feeding frenzy: Sharks send Blues to the brink of elimination in Western Conference Final

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    The San Jose Sharks won a back-and-forth Game 5 to take back the lead in a back-and-forth Western Conference Final, moving one victory away from appearing in the Stanley Cup Final.

    After scoring the tying goal late in the second period, Joe Pavelski notched his 12th of the playoffs to give San Jose the lead for good just 16 seconds into the third period.

    The Sharks earned a 6-3 victory on the road, in a bounce-back effort from Saturday.

    Twice, the Blues grabbed the lead. Troy Brouwer gave them the advantage in the first period, showing off his baseball skills by batting the puck into the net on a rebound. Robby Fabbri gave them another lead in the second period, making Roman Polak pay for snapping on Dmitrij Jaskin along the boards.

    But the Blues couldn’t hold on. The Sharks scored twice on three power play opportunities and can now clinch the Western Conference on home ice in Wednesday’s Game 6.

    As for the Blues, will Ken Hitchcock change up his starting goaltender again? It’s certainly an aspect of this series that will once again be up for debate leading up to Wednesday’s game.

    After Brian Elliott had backstopped the Blues through the first two rounds and started the first three games of this series, Hitchcock decided to start Jake Allen in Game 4.

    Allen recorded the win Saturday, and was called upon again in Game 5 as expected, but gave up four goals on 25 shots Monday.

    Video: Sharks’ Polak snaps, Blues make him pay on the power play

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    San Jose Sharks defenseman Roman Polak took serious issue with St. Louis Blues forward Dmitrij Jaskin during the second period, as the two eventually threw off the gloves off in a fight in the corner.

    In the process, Polak let his emotions get the better of him — he snapped — by also taking a roughing minor to give the Blues a power play.

    The Blues made him — and the Sharks — pay on a blast from Robby Fabbri, who was a game-time decision for Monday’s contest.

    The Sharks tied the game at 3-3 before the end of the second period on Joe Pavelski‘s 11th of the playoffs. Pavelski struck again in the third period, giving San Jose the 4-3 lead.