Tampa Bay Lightning's Guy Boucher coaches his 100th game tonight vs. Penguins
Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher will coach his 100th regular season game tonight against the Penguins. General manager Steve Yzerman said Boucher is "doing very well" and "I think he's going to continue to get better."
It was interesting, though, to hear Boucher, whose record is 54-32-13, talk about what he has learned in his first 100 games. Basically, he said, teams are so close in ability, any little deviation from the plan and "you're in major trouble."
First, though, when told it was his 100th game, Boucher said, "whoopee-do," but then said, "One guy missing can make all the difference in the world depending on who he is and what his role is. Circumstances can have a much greater impact in this league than in junior or in other leagues. If you're tired, you're not the same team at all; the size difference between your team and another team. You can get away with that in the lower ranks and other leagues. But in the NHL, it's incredible, the minute you make a mistake or have a weakness somewhere, you're in major trouble. It's a very delicate balance in this league, I find."
Yzerman finds that Boucher, while still learning, has taken lessons to heart.
"He's a hard worker," Yzerman said. "He adjusts well. I think our players have really responded to how he runs the team. I think he's learned a lot in these 100 games about what works and what doesn't work and looking at ways to get better to improve our team. I think he's handled himself very well and he's going to continue to get better."
Other stuff from the morning skate: Dwayne Roloson gets the start in net. ... Left wing Ryan Malone (upper body) skated again with a red non-contact jersey and said he is pointing towards a Saturday return against the Devils. ... Right wing Teddy Purcell, who missed Wednesday's practice with a stomach virus -- he said he woke up at 6 a.m. in Winnipeg on Tuesday and was vomiting -- will play against the Penguins. ... Boucher agreed right wing Steve Downie is feeling "snake bit" about not scoring. Downie missed three open nets Monday against the Jets, with one shot hitting the post. But Boucher also did not seem down on Downie. "Right now, that's how it goes when someone feels that he's snake it," Boucher said. "It's a vicious circle. He just has to keep focusing on the process." ... Downie also is minus-12 heading into tonight's game. That is tied for 698th out of 699 listed players. Downie the past two seasons has been plus14 and plus-8. "The last two seasons he was playing with (Steven) Stamkos and (Marty) St. Louis," Boucher said. "I'll put anybody with Stamkos and St. Louis and we'll see their plus and minus improve pretty good." Still, Downie, who mostly plays on the third line, has seen such a steep drop. "He's certainly not benefiting from having top offensive players on his line," Boucher said. "He's one of the guys who has to adjust the most on our team."