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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    The Caps say they’ve ‘matured’ and have ‘good poise’ now — we’ll see tonight

    DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 20:  Joel Ward #42, Alex Ovechkin #8, Nate Schmidt #88 and Brooks Orpik #44 of the Washington Capitals take a break on the bench as head coach Barry Trotz (L) and assistant coach Blaine Forsythe (R) oversee the action against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on November 20, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. The Capitals defeated the Avalanche 3-2.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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    The Washington Capitals — desperate for a win tonight in Pittsburgh — are vowing to stick to the plan, keep their composure, and not let a certain 21-year-old netminder get into their heads.

    “I think that’s where this team has matured,” said coach Barry Trotz, per CSN Washington. “We have good poise. You’ve seen that all year with our team. We don’t get rattled often. We do get, I would say, very determined at times and we’ve shown a lot of resiliency all year. That’s why we were able to have the record we did. We didn’t let things bother us too much. And we’ve got a good leadership group that when things maybe aren’t going the way you want, they seem to be able to put it back on the rails for us. I think that’s the growth of our team the last two years.”

    In Game 3, the Caps had every reason to feel like the hockey gods were out to get them. They put 49 shots on Penguins goalie Matt Murray, but were only able to beat him twice. They lost, 3-2, and now must win tonight in order to avoid falling into a 3-1 series hole.

    In Game 4, the Capitals will have a major advantage, as their opponents will be without two of their top defensemen, Kris Letang (suspended) and Olli Maatta (injured).

    So not only is it a game the Caps need to win, it’s a game they’ll be expected to win.

    That means pressure.

    And pressure can lead to panic.

    According to Trotz, the Caps used to be guilty of changing the plan when things didn’t go their way. They would play too much as individuals. They would play right into the opposition’s hands.

    But not anymore.

     

     

    “I think what this group has learned is that you stay to the plan, you execute and do the job well,” said Trotz.

    “If you do that, it will turn your way.”

    No hearings scheduled for Boyle on Hickey hit, or Hickey on Drouin hit

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    Doesn’t look like there’ll be supplemental discipline coming from Tampa Bay’s crazy 5-4 OT win over the Isles at Barclays last night.

    Per the Times, both Brian Boyle and Thomas Hickey have avoided hearings for their big hits — Boyle’s on Hickey, Hickey’s on Jonathan Drouin.

    An NHL spokesman has confirmed to PHT that no hearings have been scheduled.

    Both hits went unpenalized, but were focal points of Tuesday’s game.

    The impact of the Hickey hit forced Drouin from the contest for a lengthy period of time, though Drouin did return to set up Nikita Kucherov‘s game-tying goal with under a minute remaining in regulation.

    Boyle’s hit on Hickey was followed by Boyle scoring the game-winning OT goal roughly 10 seconds later.

    It also led to Isles head coach Jack Capuano venting his frustrations in his postgame presser.

    “It’s a direct shot to the head,” Capuano said, per ESPN. “I mean, probably going to get suspended a game. That’s what I mean. The whole game, it shouldn’t come down to that. [Referee] is standing right there. I’ve watched it numerous times now. Those are the types of hits that we’re trying to eliminate from our game.

    “It’s just too bad that it had to end that way. It’s frustrating because it’s right there. The play is right there. He’s looking right at it. The league can look at it if they want, but I’ve watched it four or five times, maybe more, and it’s just frustrating it had to end in that particular way with a head shot.”

    Capuano didn’t have an update on Hickey following the contest.

    Game 4 of this series goes on Friday at Barclays, so there could still be developments forthcoming. The league holds the right to schedule a hearing later (should it be deemed appropriate), and there will likely be an update on Hickey in the coming days.

    Related: Islanders believe Boyle should be suspended for hit before OT goal

    Report: Ducks sign ’15 first-rounder Larsson

    SUNRISE, FL - JUNE 26:  Jacob Larsson poses after being selected 27th overall by the Anaheim Ducks in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center on June 26, 2015 in Sunrise, Florida.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    Though it’s yet to be announced by the club, Swedish d-man Jacob Larsson has reportedly signed on with the Anaheim Ducks — the club that selected him in the first round (27th overall) of the 2015 draft.

    Larsson, 19, is set to join Anaheim’s AHL club in San Diego, per Hockeysverige. The Gulls are currently in the midst of the Calder Cup playoffs, embroiled in a series against Ontario.

    Larsson came into the ’15 draft fairly highly touted. He was pegged by Central Scouting as one of the top-10 international skaters available, and ended up the seventh defenseman off the board (after Noah Hanifin, Ivan Provorov, Zach Werenski, Jakub Zboril, Thomas Chabot and Noah Juulsen.)

    Per Hockeysverige, Larsson is still under contract to SHL club Frolunda for another year, and will be loaned back to the club for the ’16-17 campaign.

    Ergo, this trip overseas appears to be so Larsson can get a taste of pro hockey in North America.

    Here’s your Stanley Cup playoffs schedule for tonight

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    There’s just one game scheduled for tonight, but it should be an exciting one and as you’ve likely guessed, you will be able to watch it via the NBC Sports Group’s television and digital platforms.

    Washington at Pittsburgh (8:00 p.m. ET)

    Pittsburgh holds a 2-1 series lead, but this game in particular will be a big test for the Penguins as they’ll be without defensemen Kris Letang (suspended) and Olli Maatta (upper body). The contest will air on NBCSN and if you want to stream it, you can do so by clicking here.

    In the meantime, here are some relevant links:

    If there’s an expansion draft, which goalie should Pittsburgh protect?

    Penguins bring up Sestito and Oleksy

    Video: Letang suspended one game for late hit with ‘significant head contact’ on Johansson

    With Letang suspended, Schultz out to ‘prove a lot of people wrong’ if he gets the call in Game 4