Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

After quality time at home, Guy Boucher is eager to get back to NHL season

TAMPA — It was mid December when Guy Boucher understood he needed a change of pace.

The moment of clarity came while the Lightning coach broke down yet another opposing-team video, which pretty much was his primary undertaking during the 113-day NHL lockout.

"You can always want more," Boucher recalled this week at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. "But when you start taking stats like in the last five years how many wraparound goals have been scored and why and for which side, you know at that point it's ridiculous."

But that is what happens when you are a coach without a team, a coach drawing a paycheck while unable, because of a labor war between players and owners, to do the job for which he was hired.

You immerse yourself in what you know.

"We did everything we could," he said, "not just me, the entire staff did everything we could to improve and control what we can control."

But as Boucher, 41, found out, the lockout also unlocked doors.

It was the first time during a hockey season he could, as he said, "lead a semi-normal life when you could be (home) at night and you're a partner every day to your spouse."

For the first time Boucher coached son Vincent, 10, in a hockey tournament. Always a reader, he devoured books on psychology, in which he has a degree. He said he even read up on the career of Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman.

And Boucher fed his passion for landscaping by continuing to transform the backyard of his Brandon home.

"We laugh about his palm trees and how excited he gets about the different trees and plants," Tampa Bay assistant coach Dan Lacroix said. "He loves it."

•••

By Boucher's count, his property has 21 kinds of palm trees. There are colorful butterfly bushes and so much else, he said, "You name it I have it."

At first he hired people to bring in the biggest trees. But at this point, he said, he is just as involved in the planting and upkeep.

"I overdid it," Boucher said. "It's like everything else I do. This could be better and this could be better."

He coaches that way, too, at least once last season conducting a full-scale practice the morning of a game.

Boucher even joked that after three weeks watching Vincent and 9-year-old twins Naomi and Mila while wife Marsha visited family in the Netherlands and Italy, "The first thing my kids said when mom was back was daddy was like the military."

They mocked him for burning the sausages one night while cooking dinner.

And though Boucher probably won't do it again because he believes it put too much pressure on his son, and him, he said coaching Vincent's four-on-four team was fun even though they lost in the tournament final.

All of it, Boucher said, is cherished.

"It was the first time in my life, really, that I had that much time with the kids like a normal person," he said.

Even so, "I would say at the beginning, 'Okay, I'm supposed to be at work now.' You feel weird. You really do. We're (competitors), creatures of habit and my habit has been coaching. It's really different. I felt guilty the whole time, to be honest with you. That's what I battled most."

•••

The videos, of course, always were there.

Whether Boucher, Lacroix or assistant coach Marty Raymond were at their homes or their Times Forum offices, they poured over opponent videos. If NHL Network was replaying a game, they would sit and watch that, too, Lacroix said:

"You look at the better teams and what they did well. I looked at playoff games. You try to look at the whys, and that's all valuable information that you have on your side."

Such as why the Flyers in last season's playoffs went 12-for-23 (52.2 percent) against a Penguins penalty kill that was third in the league in the regular season.

"We watched everybody's power play. We watched everybody's penalty kill," Boucher said. "We watched five-on-five. We watched the defensive zone, which teams did what in the neutral zone. We've got too much information."

"It's time," he added, "to focus on our team."

The landscaping can wait.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Norris Trophy could be good consolation for Lightning’s Victor Hedman

Norris Trophy could be good consolation for Lightning’s Victor Hedman

Victor Hedman is talking from a hotel room in Las Vegas and admits he's a little jet-lagged."Actually, very jet-lagged," Hedman says.That's what happens when you take a flight from Sweden to the party capital of the world.But he knows exactly what he...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Mike Hoffman traded twice in wake of harassment, cyberbullying claims

Mike Hoffman traded twice in wake of harassment, cyberbullying claims

The Ottawa Senators traded winger Mike Hoffman on Tuesday, hoping to solve an ugly off-ice issue involving star defenseman Erik Karlsson and his wife. The Senators sent Hoffman to the San Jose Sharks, who then dealt him to the Florida Panthers. All t...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Salary-cap increase makes for ‘more fun’ NHL offseason

Salary-cap increase makes for ‘more fun’ NHL offseason

Thanks, Vegas. That’s what NHL general managers are saying this offseason after the Stanley Cup Final run of the expansion Golden Knights contributed to what’s expected to be a healthy increase for the salary cap. With elite center John Tavares, No. ...
Published: 06/19/18
Barry Trotz resigns as coach of Stanley Cup-winning Capitals

Barry Trotz resigns as coach of Stanley Cup-winning Capitals

Barry Trotz abruptly stepped down as coach of the Washington Capitals on Monday after failing to agree to terms on a new contract, a stunning move that left the newly minted Stanley Cup champions without a coach with the draft later this week and wit...
Published: 06/18/18
Lightning re-signs goaltender Eddie Pasquale to two-way deal

Lightning re-signs goaltender Eddie Pasquale to two-way deal

The Lightning re-signed goaltender Eddie Pasquale to a one-year, two-way contract general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.Pasquale, 27, split this past season between the Syracuse Crunch and Bakersfield Condors of the American Hockey League. He...
Published: 06/18/18
Lightning opens seven-game preseason schedule at home Sept. 18

Lightning opens seven-game preseason schedule at home Sept. 18

TAMPA — The Lightning will open its seven-game preseason schedule at home with a 7:30 p.m.  game Sept. 18 against the Carolina Hurricane, the team announced Thursday.That is one of three home games the Lightning will play in a preseason sc...
Published: 06/14/18
Lightning trades Peter Budaj to Kings, acquires forward Andy Andreoff

Lightning trades Peter Budaj to Kings, acquires forward Andy Andreoff

Sixteen months after acquiring Peter Budaj from the Kings, the Lightning today returned the veteran goaltender to Los Angeles.The Lightning traded Budaj for forward Andy Andreoff, general manager Steve Yzerman announced in a news release.Andreoff, 27...
Published: 06/13/18
Lightning set as early favorite to win the Stanley Cup in 2018-19

Lightning set as early favorite to win the Stanley Cup in 2018-19

This past season didn't end the way Lightning fans might have hoped, but that's no reason to lose hope.In fact, oddsmakers are more bullish on Tampa Bay than any team in the NHL for next season.According to at least one sports betting site, the ...
Published: 06/08/18
Washington has a new hero. His name is Devante Smith-Pelly

Washington has a new hero. His name is Devante Smith-Pelly

LAS VEGAS — Before Devante Smith-Pelly could relax or breathe or even start thinking about his game-tying goal, he had to start moving his feet.The period of recall began midway through the third period Thursday night, when the Capitals trailed, 3-2....
Published: 06/08/18
Washington Capitals’ Stanley Cup wait is finally over. Who has waited longer?

Washington Capitals’ Stanley Cup wait is finally over. Who has waited longer?

The Washington Capitals won the first Stanley Cup title in the franchise's 43-year history Thursday night in Las Vegas.And still the St. Louis Blues and their fans wait. The Blues marked their 50th NHL season this year; 50 years without a Cup.He...
Published: 06/08/18