Lightning fire Boucher before game with Jets

- March 24th, 2013

Good morning to you.

Not a great morning to be Guy Boucher, though.

The Tampba Bay Lightning created some news on Sunday morning and are in the market for a new head coach after the team fired Guy Boucher Sunday morning, prior to tonight’s game against the Winnipeg Jets.

The Lightning sent out a press release with the news on Sunday, saying assistant coaches Dan Lacroix and Marty Raymond will work the bench against the Jets.

Boucher led the Lightning to the Eastern Conference final during his first season with the club and sports an 84-62-19 record in his two seasons and change.

“Guy has poured his heart and soul into the Lightning organization for these past three years and we appreciate all the work he has done,” Yzerman said in a prepared statement. “But ultimately I am not satisfied with the direction we are heading and I believe making a change today is in the best interest of our franchise.”

I always enjoyed dealing with Boucher in the American Hockey League with the Hamilton Bulldogs and with the Lightning, he’s insightful, articulate, intense. But the Lightning didn’t seem to respond to his 1-3-1 defensive style the past year and change and Yzerman decided it was time to make a change.

Among the candidates being thrown around are former Buffalo Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff (who was fired after a loss to the Jets earlier this season but has some Team Canada ties to Yzerman), Syracuse Crunch boss Jon Cooper (who led the Lightning farm club to the Calder Cup last season) and former Ottawa Senators/Montreal Canadiens head coach Jacques Martin.

Personally think they would be strong choices, but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see the Lightning ask for permission to speak with Toronto Marlies head coach Dallas Eakins, the former Jets blue-liner and Manitoba Moose captain.

Eakins is doing a great job and the Marlies lost in the Calder Cup final last spring. He’s considered one of the top up-and-coming coaches and has been given plenty of credit for the transformation in the game of Toronto Maple Leafs centre Nazem Kadri.

The Jets, who are coming off consecutive lossess to the Washington Capitals, remain in first place in the Southeast Division, as they get set to close out a four-game homestand.

Defenceman Toby Enstrom is expected to return to the Jets’ lineup after missing 19 games with a shoulder injury.

The Lightning are 13-17-1 this season, sit 14th in the Eastern Conference but are only five points out of a playoff spot.

Categories: Hockey

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