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Penguins star Sidney Crosby endorses new Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher

New Lightning coach Guy Boucher has a pretty powerful ally in Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby, who said Boucher has "a great mind for the game."

The two worked together during the 2004-05 season, when Crosby played juniors for Rimouski of the Quebec league and Boucher was an assistant.

"I took a lot of things from him," Crosby recently told the St. Petersburg Times. "Probably the biggest thing was off the ice. There was an open line of communication there."

There also was a lot of hands-on work, Crosby said, and added that Boucher had instant respect from the players because "he was a pretty good player himself."

Boucher, a center, had 51 goals and 151 points from 1991 to 1995 for Montreal's McGill University and 16 goals and 38 points in 28 games in 1995-96 for Viry-Essonne in France.

"He was able to do a lot of things that some coaches can teach, but he actually can do them," Crosby said. "It's good to have somebody who is able to do that. He was an offensive forward, and I enjoyed that."

Crosby said Boucher, 38, the NHL's youngest coach, quickly will win the respect of Lightning players.

"They'll see pretty quickly how detailed he is, and I'm sure he's going to be prepared," Crosby said. "That's one thing about Guy, he's always prepared."

IS IT ANDY'S YEAR?: The Hall of Fame will announce its 2010 inductees today, and former Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk, who missed out last year, his first of eligibility, is a prime candidate.

Others with a good shot are Lightning assistant coach Adam Oates, Joe Nieuwendyk, Pavel Bure, Doug Gilmour and former Lightning player Dino Ciccarelli.

Andreychuk's 640 goals are the most among eligible players listed on the Hall of Fame's website. He has a record 274 power play goals and was part of Tampa Bay's 2004 Stanley Cup team.

Oates' 1,420 points also lead the list.

COACHES: Boucher and general manager Steve Yzerman have said no decisions have been made about assistant coaches, but the belief is Boucher wants his AHL Hamilton assistants: Daniel Lacroix and Martin Raymond.

Where that leaves Lightning associate coach Rick Wilson, who has two years left on his deal, and goaltenders coach Cap Raeder, who has one, is unclear. Oates' contract expires at the end of the month.

Wilson said he has not heard from Boucher but realizes coaches want their own people.

"I'm in a holding pattern," he said. "I understand the process."

ODDS AND ENDS: The Lightning's home opener will be Oct. 9 against the Thrashers. The rest of the schedule will be released at noon today. … Former Tampa Bay RW Danton Cole was named coach of the U.S. national under-17 team. … The Lightning hosts a fantasy camp July 14-17 at the St. Pete Times Forum. Players must be at least 21 years old. Register at tampabaylightning.com or (813) 301-6755. … The team at 7 p.m. Friday will hold a draft party at the Times Forum in conjunction with the Storm's game against Bossier-Shreveport. Tickets are $25 and can be ordered at (813) 301-6600.

Around the league: The Coyotes re-signed LW Taylor Pyatt to a two-year contract. Financial terms were not disclosed. Last season, Pyatt had 12 goals and 11 assists in 74 regular-season games and one goal and one assist in seven playoff games. … The Sharks traded F Brad Staubitz to the Wild for a fifth-round pick in this week's draft.

Information from Times wires was used in this report. Damian Cristodero can be reached at cristodero@sptimes.com.

Penguins star Sidney Crosby endorses new Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher 06/21/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 22, 2010 8:27am]

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