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Yzerman on Boucher firing: “This is not a desperate act to make the playoffs”


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.


Tampa Bay fires Guy Boucher

A look back at Boucher’s roller coaster time with Tampa Bay

Handicapping possible Lightning head coaches

Price placed on injured reserve; Yakupov to miss 2-4 weeks with sprained ankle

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Two injury updates in one post.

First, the situation with Montreal goalie Carey Price, who was hurt last night versus the Rangers.

According to Canadiens coach Michel Therrien, Price has been placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. That means he’ll be out at least a week, though no exact timeline was provided.

“We don’t know how long Carey will be out, but for us it’s business as usual,” said Therrien.

Mike Condon will get the start tomorrow in New Jersey.

As for Oilers forward Nail Yakupov, he’ll be out 2-4 weeks after spraining his ankle last night in Carolina while getting tangled up with a linesman.

Getzlaf didn’t love the ‘dead’ atmosphere at Coyotes game

Martin Erat, Ryan Getzlaf
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Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf wasn’t impressed with at least two things last night in Arizona:

1. His team’s performance in a 4-2 loss to the Coyotes.
2. The atmosphere inside Gila River Arena, where the announced attendance was just 11,578.

“It’s hard. When you come into a building … it’s dead,” Getzlaf told the O.C. Register. “Nothing against the fans. It’s hard to fill a big building like this and have the amount of people in it to build your energy. So you have to do it yourself. You have to be ready when you step on the ice. I thought we came out flat.”

Anaheim’s record fell to 8-11-4 with the defeat.

The Coyotes’ average attendance also fell, to 13,144 in eight games.

Jarred Tinordi becomes the latest youngster to be sent to the AHL for ‘conditioning’

Jarred Tinordi, Brendan Gallagher
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Like Frank Corrado (see here), Tomas Jurco (see here), Stanislav Galiev (see here), and Patrik Nemeth (see here) before him, Canadiens defenseman Jarred Tinordi is off to the AHL for a conditioning stint.

Tinordi, 23, has yet to play a single game for the Habs this season; however, because he’s no longer exempt from waivers, the former first-round pick has remained on Montreal’s roster.

It’s an issue that’s received a good deal of attention lately. Some believe the league should do something about it, lest more young players get “stuck” in the NHL.

Tinordi will only be allowed to spend two weeks in St. John’s, as per the rules of his conditioning loan.

Safe to say, if you’re an NHL general manager who thinks Tinordi still has potential, Marc Bergevin would welcome your best offer.

Stars place Lehtonen on IR, call up Campbell and Nemeth

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Kari Lehtonen will miss at least a few games with the upper-body injury he suffered the other night against Ottawa. The Dallas Stars announced today that they’ve placed the 32-year-old goalie on injured reserve, retroactive to Tuesday.

With Lehtonen out, Jack Campbell has been called up from AHL Texas to be Antti Niemi‘s backup. The Stars host Vancouver Friday, with a game at Minnesota Saturday.

Campbell, the 11th overall pick in the 2010 draft, has struggled in the AHL this season, going 3-3-0 with an .873 save percentage.

The Stars have also recalled defenseman Patrik Nemeth after the 23-year-old completed his 14-day conditioning assignment.

Related: Campbell credits ECHL stint for turning his game around