Chad Schnarr's blog
You saw it coming.
Nine of 10 Magic 8-Balls agreed all signs pointed to Guy Boucher being out as Lightning coach in the immediate or near future.
When the biggest positive for a struggling team out of a two-game trip to Ontario is “the team responds well to 4-0 deficits,” there’s a problem. Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman knew it and was obviously tired of it.
And it started well in advance of Saturday’s debacle to an undermanned Ottawa team; a game for which Boucher’s staff had two days to prepare.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie tweeted there was a “culture” problem in Tampa, which is damning to any coach in any league.
Combine the two and it was a near no-brainer.
A look at the Tampa Bay Lightning organizational roster this season.
Oh, to be Steve Yzerman.
NHL Hall of Famer, three-time Stanley Cup champ, multi-gold medalist, jersey in the Joe Louis Arena rafters, sharp dresser… you get the picture.
He’s also general manager of the Lightning, a team that currently resembles a snowbird in the far left lane of the Howard Johnson in rush hour trying to figure out this “GPX-Box” their grandson gave them. They have no idea what direction they’re going and can’t get out of their own way. And it’s annoying you, big time.
Oh, to be Steve Yzerman.
In a season not sabotaged by Gary Bettman, the Lightning would be going through an understandable December roller coaster with months of recovery time in front of them. It happens to every team in every season, but this 48-game season is obviously different.
Tampa Bay, like everyone else, began the year in the thick of a playoff race.
With the Lightning still trending down, if this was Toronto or Manhattan, perhaps firing the coach to right the ship would be the most logical choice to satisfy the masses holding pitchforks and torches.
With the NHL and NHLPA coming to an agreement last night, it’s time to take a peak at what the Lightning might look like when the season starts in a couple weeks.
I was asked on Twitter this week how I thought the Lightning would fare in a shortened season. My answer is three fold. It depends on:
2. Special teams
3. How quickly the team gels
Christmas has come and gone for us prospect followers and the excitement is starting to wear off â€“ along with my headache from staring at a computer screen too long. At one point Twitter told me it couldnâ€™t post my Bolt Prospects tweet because I was tweeting too much. Fair enough. On Sunday the picks and information were coming in faster than Cory Conacherâ€™s rise from a no-name to possible Calder Trophy candidate next year. It was tough to keep up.
Before the draft the Lightning had several organizational needs for the farm, not the NHL club. We get asked repeatedly on draft days if so-and-so can step right in and play. Unlike football, the answer is no â€“ outside of a couple picks in the top-5 overall. Yes, sometimes a Patrice Bergeron will sneak into the NHL right away, but itâ€™s best to just know that you wonâ€™t be seeing these players for a few years at the least, especially with the uber-patient Steve Yzerman in charge (and thatâ€™s a good thing).