Boucher "afraid" of lengthy lockout, but has "faith" they'll find a way
The unfortunate reality of the NHL lockout hit Lightning coach Guy Boucher Friday morning, when the team was supposed to begin training camp.
Boucher and his staff took their annual physicals - and there were no players.
“That’s not what we wanted,” Boucher said before "shooting" the ceremonial first pitch at the Rays-Jays game. “Fans don’t want that. Everyone wants to play, owners want, players want. I think there’s goodwill on both sides and I’m sure they’re going to find a way. If it’s quick, I don’t think we’ve lost much. But obviously, if it takes longer, it’s not what everybody wants.”
Boucher said while he has faith both sides will “find a way" - and believes there will be a season - he admits he’s “afraid” there will be a lengthy work stoppage.
“I’d be a liar to say I’m not afraid,” Boucher said. “Everybody is afraid, especially as a group right now, the organization from top to bottom are very enthusiastic about the momentum we’ve got with our fans and the building and the new players we added this summer. There’s so much positive stuff going on for us, it’d be said if it’d be a long (lockout). But I’m staying very positive that it will be done.”
Boucher and his staff will continue their preparation, and he plans to watch some of their top prospects at AHL Syracuse, while staying away from the locked-out players, who are working out on their own in Brandon. Several Lightning players are considering playing overseas, which Boucher said is "their perogative."
"It's a little nerve-wrecking," Boucher said. "If somebody gets injured, it's not what you want. But the reality is, there's a lockout, they're on their own, and they have the right to choose whatever they want for their own lives right now."
-- JOE SMITH