Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Coach Guy Boucher relieved to have seven defensemen with Tampa Bay Lightning

WINNIPEG — Lightning coach Guy Boucher finally got into his comfort zone Monday.

With D Victor Hedman healthy after missing three games with an upper-body injury, Boucher used 11 forwards and seven defenseman in his lineup instead of the traditional 12/6 alignment he used all season.

"I'm welcoming it, for sure," Boucher said before the game at the Jets. "That's what I like. I've done that in midget, in junior, in the American League, and last year that's what I did most of the year when I could in the NHL."

What Boucher likes is the flexibility he believes the alignment provides.

With seven defensemen, he can sit one who isn't playing well without putting too much strain on the remaining six. Try that strategy when you start with six defensemen and go down to five and "you're really in trouble," Boucher said. "If you're playing against a team that has a lot of stamina and size, they wear you out. If you have an extra guy who can take that spot, you can replace the guy who's not playing well and not feel it."

With 11 forwards, one in the top six can get spot duty on a third or fourth line. That way, Boucher said, "you're tough to match."

Why didn't he do this earlier?

It's difficult when carrying 14 forwards because three would have to be scratched. But with Mattias Ritola off to Sweden and LW Ryan Malone injured, Boucher had to scratch only Blair Jones to get to 11.

MIRACLE CURE: Boucher had said Hedman might be out two weeks and Malone would be quicker to return.

But Malone (upper body) missed his third straight game and participated only at the end of Monday's morning skate.

"We'll see how it is back home," Malone said, "skate with the team maybe Wednesday and take it from there."

What accelerated Hedman's recovery?

"I'm 20 years old and have a young body," he joked, and added, "When I'm back I'm not going to be hesitant, just the same old me. I'll do everything I can to be a force on this team and whatever it takes to win games, paying the price, sacrificing my body, making good plays."

EDUCATING SHANNON: The previous 10 games entering Monday were difficult for LW Ryan Shannon, who was scratched for five and had zero points in the other five.

But Boucher said Shannon is "buying in now" to the way the team plays and better understands how to use his speed in Tampa Bay's system.

"It's about him understanding his speed and how much of a threat it is and taking steps toward a new level of threat for him," Boucher said. "He's a smart player who was using half his speed. … You have a bazooka in your hand but you're shooting it with your pistol."

"That's something I want to be an expert at," Shannon said about using his speed. "It's just settling down and using my instincts."

ODDS AND ENDS: AHL Norfolk players helped build a Habitat for Humanity House in Hampton Roads, Va. … Tampa Bay entered Monday one of only five teams without a regulation loss in one-goal games (5-0-2).

Coach Guy Boucher relieved to have seven defensemen with Tampa Bay Lightning 11/14/11 [Last modified: Monday, November 14, 2011 10:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays vs. Orioles, 1:10 p.m. Sunday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Today: vs. Orioles

    1:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 760-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Pitcher Jake Odorizzi #23 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait at Charlotte Sports Park during photo day on February 26, 2014 in Port Charlotte, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
  2. ABC Racing kennel advances three into semifinals


    ST. PETERSBURG — The maiden voyage by Don Burk into the $30,000 St. Petersburg Derby series — his first as the ABC Racing kennel owner — went as easy as ABC.

  3. Bullpen melts down as Rays lose to Orioles (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Jacob Faria allowed his first two big-league home runs and was touched for a career-high three runs Saturday by the Orioles. Other than that, the rookie making his fourth major-league start did okay against the Baltimore bats.

    The bullpen, not so much.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Jumbo Diaz wipes his face as he walks off the mound after the Baltimore Orioles scored four runs during the eighth inning of a baseball game Saturday, June 24, 2017, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) SPD118
  4. Lightning shifts search for defense to free agency

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — As much as he tried, Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman left the weekend's draft without acquiring another top-four defenseman.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101
  5. Lightning journal: Russian forwards top Day 2 draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — After taking a big, right-shot defenseman in the first round, the Lightning's second day of the draft was headlined by a few skilled Russian forwards.

    Canadiens rookie defenceman Mikhail Sergachev with Brian and Michelle Reid, the billet family he lived with while playing for the OHL's Windsor Spitfires last season. COURTESY OF BRIAN AND MICHELLE REID