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)

Guy Boucher's Tampa Bay Lightning must strike with speed

The next time you're at a Lightning game at the St. Pete Times Forum, listen carefully.

Chances are when Tampa Bay goes on offense you will hear someone loudly imploring the players to push the puck up the ice with "speed, speed, speed."

The words — with staccato, tenor-like resonance — cut through the din of the crowd and even reach the ears of those watching from the press box at the top of the arena.

Can't quite place the voice? It is coach Guy Boucher, who from behind the Lightning bench demands to be heard.

"Oh, yeah, we definitely hear it," wing Ryan Shannon said. "We hear it loud and clear."

"Since the first day I coached 14 years ago," Boucher, 40, said about churning out the word "speed" in triplicate at his players. "I know as a player you go fast, but you're rarely 100 percent. You're 95, 98, 93, 92 percent? So it's my job to make sure the guys are jolted, especially at this level."

Boucher isn't alone barking orders from behind the bench. Assistants Marty Raymond and Dan Lacroix have their repertoire of button-pushing slogans and watchwords.

The idea is to create an atmosphere, Raymond said.

"Eighty-two games are hard for players," he said. "We have to make sure we do whatever we can to help them and know that we're there and in the game."

Boucher is the only one, though, with a clarion call.

Funny thing, Raymond said. Last season, when stationed in the press box during games as an eye in the sky, he always noticed Boucher's voice. This season, behind the bench, he doesn't notice at all.

"When you're in the action, you have so many things to pay attention to, you block out a lot of other stuff," Raymond said.

It's different for players getting an earful from their coach.

"Obviously, if you guys hear him in the press box, we can hear him on the ice," left wing Ryan Malone said. "It's just a reminder. He doesn't mean any harm."

Not intentionally, anyway.

"Sometimes you're just trying to get a handle on the puck, and he's screaming 'Move your feet,' and you're like, 'Oh … " Malone said, laughing. "He's an intense coach."

"Oh, yeah, I'm annoying," Boucher said. "I'm ferociously persistent in what I want."

And that is the puck up ice as quickly as possible.

Speed doesn't allow the opposition to set up its defense. Speed forces opponent mistakes, and speed on the transition indicates Tampa Bay is playing its system.

That hasn't always been the case this season, especially in first periods, in which Tampa Bay has been outscored 26-14, and on the road, where it is 4-8-2.

"The minute we're not at our best in terms of speed, we look awful," Boucher said. "If you look at our road games, the problem was when we didn't show up with our speed. We woke up in the second and third periods, but (before that) we didn't have any speed. We didn't have any drive."

Think of it this way, Boucher said, "A really fast guy skates against a really fast guy. What's the difference? Those fractions of seconds."

How do you gain them?

Speed, speed, speed.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at His blog is at On Twitter: @LightningTimes.

Guy Boucher's Tampa Bay Lightning must strike with speed 12/01/11 [Last modified: Thursday, December 1, 2011 10:32pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs journal: Kicker Nick Folk has up and downs against Jaguars


    JACKSONVILLE — If the Bucs had hoped for a drama-free night in their kicking game, they'll have to wait another week.

    Bucs kicker Nick Folk celebrates one of his two made field goals against the Jaguars, but he also misses a field goal and has an extra point blocked.
  2. Bucs top Jaguars behind strong first half



    There is a reason why the air in Tampa Bay is filled with playoff talk. If Thursday night's 12-8 Bucs preseason win over the Jaguars is any indication, it's also going to be filled with footballs thrown by quarterback Jameis Winston.

    Doug Martin gets the Bucs’ only touchdown  on a 2-yard run, squeaking past linebacker Telvin Smith in the first quarter. He has five carries for 30 yards.
  3. Rays journal: Archer has strong outing, with two mistakes

    The Heater

    TORONTO — Two pitches RHP Chris Archer didn't execute are the ones that stood out Thursday as Josh Donaldson hit them out of the park. But the two solo home runs aside, Archer turned in a sterling outing that went atop the pile of good pitching the Rays keep wasting.

    Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) works during the first inning. [Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP]
  4. Tim Tebow continues wowing fans as he wraps up bay area games


    CLEARWATER — Tracey Fritzinger has seen Tim Tebow play baseball a few times this year. The 40-year-old St. Petersburg resident went to two of his games against the Tampa Yankees, along with Joy, her little sister from Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

    St. Lucie Mets outfielder Tim Tebow, middle, hangs out in the dugout during Thursday night’s game against the Clearwater Threshers at Spectrum Field, the last of St. Lucie’s eight-day trip to the Tampa Bay area.
  5. Rays vs. Mariners, 7:10 Friday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Mariners

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Austin Pruitt (50) in the dugout during the ninth inning of the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays on Opening Day at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, April 2, 2017. The Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees 7-3.