On Sunday, Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman addressed the dismissal of head coach Guy Boucher, explaining the move wasn’t a knee jerk reaction — but also saying yesterday’s loss to Ottawa was the tipping point.
“This is not a desperate act to make the playoffs, but that is still our hope to do,” Yzerman said. “After watching last night’s game I knew it needed to be done immediately.”
The Lightning lost 5-3 to the Sens on Saturday, a game in which they started incredibly flat, allowing four goals in a span of 7:51 in the first period.
Yzerman and players were visibly disappointed with the performance.
“It’s hard for the players. It’s hard for the coach. It’s hard for everybody in our organization,” Yzerman told the Tampa Bay Times about the disastrous opening frame. “It’s a difficult time.”
“We can’t wait till we’re down to start showing emotion,” Steven Stamkos added. “I’ve got to be better at that. Everyone has to be better at that. We have to start from the puck drop.”
Boucher was fired Sunday morning, just the second coach to be dismissed during the shortened season. Buffalo’s Lindy Ruff was turfed earlier this year.
Boucher leaves Tampa as the organization’s all-time leader for winning percentage (.549) and one of only two coaches to bring the team to the Eastern Conference finals (in 2011; John Tortorella brought them there en route to the 2004 Stanley Cup.)
While Yzerman said this wasn’t a “desperate act” to make the playoffs, he did state a postseason berth is still the club’s primary goal.
“I expect our guys to now do whatever it takes to get us into the playoffs,” he said. “Our players still have a lot to play for.”
And as for when a new coach might be in place?
“I know what I’m doing and I’m trying to get it done,” Yzerman said on Sunday. “Hope to have it done quickly.