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Really? Hall of Fame G Patrick Roy criticizes Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher

3

November

Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy apparently has nothing better to do. Either that or he likes stirring the you-know-what just for the heck of it. Either way, the owner, coach, general manager of Quebec of the junior Quebec league, said (twice, actually) that the system Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher used from 2006-09 as coach of Drummondville of the Quebec league, was not only too defensive it has permeated the league and stunted the development of some Quebec league players.

First, Roy told the French web site Le Soleil the system "perhaps delayed the development of some young players." Roy also said his team will "play hockey as it should be played," meaning more wide open and free-wheeling.

Roy then told the Journal de Montreal that, "Boucher did nothing to help our league advance. His defensive system was copied by many other teams. I know my comments will not please Guy, but for me hockey should be focused on offense not defense."

Before we get to what Boucher said, let's start with this: Boucher's 2008-09 Drummondville team, which won the league title, led the league with 345 goals. The Lightning entered Wednesday tied for the NHL league with an average 3.5 goals. And it was former Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella who always said a team's offense is sparked by a stout defense.

So perhaps the Lightning, with its 1-3-1 system tries to stifle teams in the neutral zone. It does have elements of the trap, after all. And the Lightning does send two defensemen into the corners of the defensive zone to harass puck carries, and that does force the forwards to come back to the defensive zone to take defensive positions abandoned by the defensemen. But the goal is to get the puck. And as Boucher said, "I'm all about the transition. ... I'm a forward game type of guy."

And no one can argue Tampa Bay's transition from defense to offense is quick and dramatic. So, if nothing else, Roy's statement seem to lack a conceptual element or nuance.

So, what did Boucher say?

"I wouldn't be pretentious enough to say I had that much impact, either positive or negative on an entire league," he said. "His comments were about the fact that some ems were playing the same defensive style that we had. The funny thing is my teams were always the No. 1 offensive teams. We were first in the league in junior in offense, the same last year in the American League (at Hamilton). This year we are the top team in the NHL. We spend 80 percent of our time working on offense. If you watch our practices you'll see, so that's all I'm focusing on."

So, let's move on from this non-issue.

Other pregame stuff: Dan Ellis gets the start in net. ... Defenseman Mathieu Roy likely is scratched. ... Left wing Simon Gagne, who will miss his fifth game with what the team is calling a strained neck, has been cleared to practice, Boucher said. ... Center Dominic Moore does not have a torn groin, according to an MRI exam, the team said. Boucher said Moore could play Tuesday against the Maple Leafs. ... Boucher praised how defenseman Mattias Ohlund has played in his two games since returning from a knee injury. He said the back-to-back games Wednesday and Thursday will be a good test of where Ohlund's knee is. ... Boucher said he is worried about the Ducks tonight as the team has taken a whipping lately in the media and in comments from the general manager. Boucher said he expects the Ducks to come out tonight "like lions out of a cage." ... The Lightning has made some tweaks to its power play with Teddy Purcell getting a shot on the first unit in place of Ryan Malone, who had been there in place of Gagne. Mattias Ritola also moves to the second unit with Malone. Tampa Bay needs something as it is 3-for-22 on the power play its past five games, including 1-for-17 five-on-four. As we have read, Boucher and the players blame being too fancy at the blue line as they try to get in the zone. ... Good thing the penalty kill has been so good, killing 15 of its past 16 shorthanded situations.  

[Last modified: Friday, December 3, 2010 12:15am]

    

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