Exit interview: Lightning coach Guy Boucher said season ended with talk of "getting better"
In this edition of the Tampa Bay Lightning exit interviews, coach Guy Boucher talks about an emotional end of the season, how much he learned and why he is proud to remind that the team was "one goal away from the Stanley Cup final" and is again "on the map."
On overcoming season-ending emotions: well, you don't want to flush everything out, obviously. It's a very successful season, one very few teams had this year. Basically, we were one of the last three teams at the end and one goal away from the Stanley Cup final. We have to be proud and understand that we made giant leaps. But we have to look at it that we could have done better in that last game and the entire series against Boston. Obviously, we wanted more we wanted to be better and we closed that today by talking about getting better.
On next season's team: You don't know who is going to be back and that's the toughest thing for me and the rest of the coaching staff. A lot of guys are up for their contract and it's going to be a very, very busy summer for Steve (general manager, Yzerman) and Julien (assistant GM, BriseBois). All summer I'm going to wonder who's coming in, so that will be a different kind of summer for me.
On players coming back: I'm sure if you ask the greatest majority of players, they're going to say I'd love to stay and it will be a true statement and an honest statement. The reality is there is an economics side to this business and every player is looking our for the team but also looking out for their families. There's different plans also, depending on which guy you negotiate first with. That's a lot of complicated stuff that I'm so glad I don't have to deal with. Right now, it's a moment where, for me, I need to reflect and look back and slowly look forward to the next year and see how we want to do things and bring in new ways and an attitude we want to continue from this year.
On what he heard from fans: I heard in the street and I kind of liked it. He said, 'Don't be disappointed. The team is back on tack and we're on the map now.' I liked the fact that we're on the map now, and I think that's exactly what it is. The positive thing is we have created a culture and now we have to build on that culture.
On moving forward: Sometimes you think you need two, three pieces and you bring them in and it doesn't work because the chemistry is not that good. Sometimes you feel like you don't need anything and everything is great, and sometimes you don't do anything and it doesn't turn out to be great. There are so many things that come into play for a team to do well. Obviously, there's injuries, there's chemistry. I've seen it all basically over the years and it's very difficult. But one thing you want to do is re-sign the players who have helped you and who have showed up in big games and in big moments. At the same time you want to get better, so if there are players out there we can get our hands on, obviously, it would be great. But mot important is we respect what has made us that successful and that's our culture. That means we have to have the right people for the right reasons.
On what he learned: Probably the thing I've learned is that the teams are almost equal. Even the bottom end teams they'll beat you anytime you're a little off, either with injuries or just coming back from a road trip. The players are so good and it's all fine tuning. That's why sometimes you can be disappointed because you lost against a certain team but that certain team just won four in a row against other top teams. The players are the best in the world, so the difference is like the 100-meter guys, point something, a hundredth of a second, so that's my learning curve right there.
On getting Dwayne Roloson to come back: It's a real personal thing. A player might have enjoyed himself here greatly but there's a family involved, there are previous places they've been at, and their houses, their main houses are somewhere. There's a lot of things that come into play. We, obviously, liked what he was for us. He was one of the guys who made a major contribution for a successful season, so we'll see. But we're definitely happy with what he did this season.
On A Roloson/Mike Smith goalie duo: Right now, I'm still a bit emotional about our team being eliminated and I'm still thinking the things we could have done better in those games, but I'm also thinking that I really enjoyed this group. I enjoyed the individuals in it. Players really bought into everything we were trying to do. It would be an easy thing for me to say we would like every player back. But if we would get both goaltenders back obviously it would be a positive. But that's Steve's job. I get close to the players and I enjoy the players as people. That's why there's a GM, so he could come in and make the right decision while I'm a little emotional about it.