Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman on coach Guy Boucher: "He's not going anywhere"
With the Canadiens in upheaval in the front office and on the ice, and the Tampa Bay Lightning in Montreal, questions about the future of Lightning coach Guy Boucher, perhaps with the Canadiens, were inevitable. But Boucher said he would not listen to the Canadiens if they came calling, and Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said it would not get to that point, anyway, because he would deny any Montreal request to speak to Boucher.
"He's the coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning," Yzerman said Wednesday. "He's not going anywhere."
This is an interesting time for the dynamic between the Canadiens and Lightning. Montreal is looking for a new general manager, and the name of Tampa Bay assistant GM Julien BriseBois (whom the Lightning hired away from Montreal in July 2010) has come up as a possibility along with Blackhawks assistant GM Marc Bergevin, player agent Pat Brisson, former Avalanche GM Francois Giguere and Maple Leafs assistant GM Claude Loiselle.
Yzerman said he will not discuss whether Montreal has asked to speak to BriseBois. But along with the BriseBois rumors is speculation that if he was hired by Montreal he might make a run at Boucher, who has two years left on a four-year deal. It's not a stretch to believe whoever is hired by the Canadiens would have interest in Boucher, who was highly regarded as the coach of Montreal's AHL team in Hamilton before taking the job with the Lightning.
Despite not making the playoffs this season after going to the Eastern Conference final in 2010-11, Yzerman said Boucher and his staff have done "an outstanding job."
"Our team plays hard," Yzerman said. "They stayed united. They stick together. The atmosphere in the locker room is a positive atmosphere. Our players continue to improve individually, and throughout the course of the season the coaches have had to make adjustments and tried different things. It's made them better coaches, so I think they have done a real good job."
Bottom line, "No," Boucher when asked if he would listen to a Montreal offer. "I'm under contract with the Lightning. I'm very happy and we have plans for our organization. That's the only thing I'm focused on right now."
Other stuff from the morning skate: Sebastien Caron gets the start in net against the Canadiens. Dwayne Roloson goes Thursday in Toronto. No-brainer, Boucher said. Caron is from Quebec, Roloson lives in the Toronto area. "It took me a half-second to make my decision," he said. ... Boucher also said Roloson will start the season finale Saturday in Winnipeg. ... Right wing Brandon Segal cleared waivers. No immediate plans to send him to AHL Norfolk, the team said. ... Right wing Adam Hall who has missed eight games with an upper-body injury and was supposed to be out for the remainder of the season, likely will play Thursday in Toronto, Boucher said. Why was Hall so hot to return to the lineup for just two games? "It's just your mind set," he said. "Every guy in this locker room is here because of their competitive nature. I don't think any different. You want to be there. You live and die together. It's a lot more difficult to watch games on TV or press box than people realize. These are your brothers. It's tough not being in the locker room and being in the trenches with these guys. As much as anything, being out there going shoulder-to-shoulder with them is something I look forward to." ... Steven Stamkos said he is looking forward to the inevitable invitation to play in the world championship because it is part of the process that will get him on Canada's 2014 Olympic team. "I'd be lying if the Olympics weren't in the back of my mind," he said. "It's something as a fan of hockey, to watch when they won in Vancouver (in 2010) was amazing. Realizing how close I was to possibly making that team, it just adds fuel to the fire to be on that team. It's still a couple of years down the road, so my focus right now is winning a championship here in Tampa. But it's definitely in the back of my mind."