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Tampa Bay Lightning spoke to Jon Elkin, perhaps Frantz Jean, about goalie coach job

5

September

Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman has spoken to Jon Elkin about a job as the team's goaltenders coach. Elkin is the personal coach of Lightning goalie Mike Smith.

"It would be tremendous," Elkin said Sunday. "I'm sure I could be very effective."

It is unclear if Elkin is a front-runner or who else is involved in the Lightning's search, but Elkin is the first name to surface as Tampa Bay tries to finally fill out its coaching staff. Someone else who might be involved (as he did not return several phone calls Sunday, and the Lightning is not commenting) is Frantz Bergevin-Jean, the long-time goalie coach for Moncton of the Quebec junior league.

Jean worked with Lightning assistant coach Daniel Lacroix in Moncton, and for two years running was the goaltending coach of Team Canada's under-18 team.  

Elkin called the conversation he had with Yzerman "terrific."  

Given Elkin's relationship with Smith, a partnership makes sense. Smith is entering the final year of his contract and has struggled since sustaining a concussion in December 2008. Perhaps the comfort level of having his personal coach around full time would help. Elkin, on the web site for his goaltending school in Toronto, says he has coached 16 NHL goalies; the most notable listed are Smith, Andrew Raycroft and Peter Budaj.

Elkin was a roving goaltenders coach for the Flames in the late '90s and early 2000s. He most recently was with OHL Peterborough as a coach and consultant.

Elkin said he has not worked with Dan Ellis, Tampa Bay's other goaltender. But he praised Smith's work during the summer.

"He's been very dedicated and worked hard," Elkin said.

It is believed Yzerman might make a decision in about a week.

To add another layer to the Lightning's search, former NHL star and former Stars goaltenders coach Andy Moog, who worked with both Smith and Ellis in Dallas, said he spoke to Ellis and Tampa Bay assistant coach Wayne Fleming about the Lightning job. But when it was clear Tampa Bay wanted a full-time coach in Tampa, Moog said he decided not to pursue the opportunity.

"All I can tell you is every able-bodied goalie coach is North America is pushing hard for that job," Moog said. "They have a wealth of talent there. It will be a great position for someone."

[Last modified: Tuesday, October 5, 2010 12:15am]

    

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