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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    Report: Finnish goalie Sateri eyeing NHL after strong showing at Worlds

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    Harri Sateri, the former Sharks prospect that’s spent the last three years in the KHL, is reportedly looking to come back to North America.

    Per Finnish news outlet Iltalheti, Sateri shot down an extension with his current club, Vityaz Podolsk, to try and land an NHL gig.

    The 27-year-old’s decision comes after a pretty solid showing with his native Finland at the World Hockey Championship. There, Sateri split time with Columbus’ Joonas Korpisalo, finishing with a .915 save percentage and 2.26 GAA. He posted a 26-save shutout in a surprising quarterfinal win over the U.S.

    Sateri’s been good in Russia as well. Last season, he finished with a .929 save percentage and 2.50 GAA in 42 games.

    It’ll be interesting to see if he can find a gig this summer. Sateri was originally San Jose’s fourth-round pick (106th overall) at the 2008 draft, but spent all four of his years in North America with the club’s AHL affiliate.

    In his final season, he lost out on the gig as Antti Niemi’s backup to Alex Stalock in the preseason.

    Kelly or Wingels will replace White for Senators in Game 7

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    Either Chris Kelly or Tommy Wingels will replace Colin White for the Ottawa Senators tonight.

    White, 20, made his NHL playoff debut in Game 6, but he only took seven shifts and logged 2:39 of ice time.

    Clearly, head coach Guy Boucher didn’t trust the rookie in such a big game.

    Tonight in Pittsburgh, it’s an even bigger game. Win and it’s off to the Stanley Cup Final. Lose and that’s it for the season.

    Kelly, 36, and Wingels, 29, have each played their share of big games. Kelly went to a Cup final with the Sens in 2007, and he went to a couple more with the Bruins. Wingels played for the Cup last year with the Sharks.

    “They both have lived seven games, and they both have won seven games,” said Boucher. “So those are the two guys we need to have out there.”

    Kelly has only played once this postseason, all the way back in the first round against Boston. But with Derick Brassard seemingly unable to take faceoffs, Kelly may draw in because he’s a center.

    “It will all depend if it’s a center or winger I’m going to need,” said Boucher.

    Related: Schultz and Hornqvist will be game-time decisions; Sheary may play

    Carolina has the ‘open for business sign out there’

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    Ron Francis is ready to make more deals.

    Heading into the offseason, Francis had 11 draft picks at this June’s draft, and already used one — a third-rounder — to acquire Scott Darling from Chicago.

    Now, the Hurricanes GM is prepared to use more in the hopes of adding to the roster.

    “We’ve got the open for business sign out there,” Francis said Wednesday, per the News & Observer. “We’re in a unique situation with the amount of picks we have and the amount of prospects we have. It’ll be interesting.

    “Really what it comes down to is what teams want: Do they want a player back for the asset they don’t have to protect or are they willing to take some picks and prospects?”

    It’s pretty obvious the goal for Francis and head coach Bill Peters is to get the ‘Canes back into the playoffs for the first time since 2009. The team has shown steady improvement over the last three years — going from 30 to 35 to 36 wins — and had a nice late push before ultimately falling short this season.

    “I think we have specific needs, very specific needs,” Peters said at Carolina’s end-of-year media availability. “So as a coach I’m going to give very specific names.”

    It sounds like more than just picks could be in play.

    The News & Observer said the ‘Canes “aren’t agonizing” over the expansion draft, as the team has a pretty good idea of who’ll be exposed. So it could be a case of identifying the players that will remain, and seeing what assets they may fetch in return.

    There’s been speculation that the Hurricanes might be willing to move Noah Hanifin. Though it might seem strange to dangle a gifted 20-year-old d-man with loads of potential, Carolina has good depth on the blueline with Justin Faulk, Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce. It’s expected that prospects Roland McKeown and Haydn Fleury will push for NHL jobs next year, and there’s still ’16 first-rounder Jake Bean on the horizon.

    Francis also has another asset at his disposal — cap space.

    It’s what allowed the ‘Canes to snag Teuvo Teravainen from Chicago for the price of taking on Bryan Bickell‘s contract. Another similar move could very well be in the cards, especially when the NHL releases next year’s cap ceiling figure.

    Report: ‘All signs point’ to contract extension for Ducks’ Fowler

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    “All signs point toward” a contract extension for Anaheim Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler, according to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun.

    LeBrun reported this morning that talks between the Ducks and the 25-year-old defenseman are expected to resume next week. Talks so far have been “positive,” said LeBrun.

    It won’t be cheap to re-sign Fowler, who can become an unrestricted free agent next summer. He’s coming off a 39-point season for the Ducks, and he logged almost 25 minutes per game.

    If Fowler does agree to re-sign, he’ll obviously be protected in the expansion draft, along with Hampus Lindholm. Assuming the Ducks only protect three defensemen, that would only leave one spot to protect Sami Vatanen, Josh Manson, or Kevin Bieksa — and the latter has a no-movement clause, which for now demands he be protected.

    For that reason, Bieksa will likely be asked to waive his NMC. It’s also possible he could be bought out.

    Anaheim does have the option to protect four defensemen and four forwards. However, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Ryan Kesler all have NMCs, and the Ducks won’t want to expose Rickard Rakell or Jakob Silfverberg.

    Related: Big decisions looming for Ducks