Lightning was "an option" for Larry Robinson, who took associate coach job with Sharks instead
The Tampa Bay Lightning had at least brief conversations with Hall of Famer Larry Robinson about an assistant coaching job, GM Steve Yzerman acknowledged, and Robinson said had he not felt comfortable when visiting San Jose, the Lightning was “an option.”
“But after looking at the organization here, I’m very comfortable with my the decision that we made,” Robinson, who has a house in the Tampa Bay area, said on a conference call after accepting an associate coach job with the Sharks.
“My house will be there in the future, but I like the decision that I made here. We had some talks but, of course, they have to do the due diligence and I had to do the same things, and that’s the way things work out sometimes.”
The Lightning has been down one assistant since April 2011, when Wayne Fleming was diagnosed with brain cancer. There is no doubt the work load among coach Guy Boucher and assistants Marty Raymond and Dan Lacroix has increased. Fleming, 62, will not return to the Lightning, and Yzerman said he would this summer discuss with Boucher the possibility of adding an assistant.
If it was simply a matter of that, one would have been hired a while ago. But when a coach such as Robinson becomes available (he left his job as an associate coach with the Devils), you must inquire.
Robinson won two Norris Trophies as the league’s top defenseman in a 17-year career with the Canadiens and Kings. He won six Stanley Cups with Montreal and also coached the Devils to the Cup in 2000. In San Jose, he will work with the defense and penalty kill.
The Lightning could have used him in exactly the same capacity.
“I thought about it and, believe me, if I didn’t feel comfortable here (in San Jose) and my wife wasn’t comfortable it was an option,” Robinson said.
But San Jose also offered Robinson the chance to be near his daughter and grandchildren who live in Redondo Beach, Calif.
“I felt that this was the right move for me,” Robinson said. “It allows me to not only come here and work with some great people but also to work with an organization I think is going in the right direction, giving me another chance to win another Cup. Also, I felt it was important for me and my family to move a little closer to the grand kids and it allows my wife a little more freedom to do the things she loves to do and that’s to be around the kids.”