On Wednesday, former Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Guy Boucher spoke publicly for the first time since being dismissed on Mar. 24.
Even though he’s had 11 days to process the decision, he’s still feeling the emotions.
“It was a shock,’’ Boucher told the Tampa Tribune. “But that’s the business and you have to deal with it.
“It’s something you have to deal with and it puts a lot of things in perspective. This is difficult. It’s a tough one, but adversity makes you grow.’’
Boucher was relieved of his duties after an eventful two-and-a-half years on the job.
His first season couldn’t have gone much better — the Bolts finished with 103 points (23 more than the previous season) and came within a game of the Stanley Cup finals.
From there, though, things went south as both injuries and goaltending issues plagued the team.
Over the last two seasons, Vincent Lecavalier, Ryan Malone, Victor Hedman and Mattias Ohlund have all missed significant time and the revolving door of ineffective netminders — Dwayne Roloson, Mathieu Garon and, most recently, Anders Lindback — saw Tampa Bay win just 38 games last year and 13 this year before Boucher was replaced by AHL Syracuse head coach John Cooper.
Boucher alluded to both of these issues as reasons he was probably let go, but made no bones about it — that’s part of the business, adding he held no grudge against the man that fired him, GM Steve Yzerman.
“Steve and I had had a brief conversation that day and he said he wanted to make a change,’’ Boucher said. “We didn’t have any problems. We stuck together as a team and as a staff and made a lot happen.
“You can’t control injuries and you can’t control personnel that’s available and not available.’’
Boucher does leave Tampa with a solid resume-booster. He remains the franchise’s all-time leader in regular season winning percentage (.546) and playoff winning percentage (.611).