LOS ANGELES — New Lightning coach Guy Boucher said his search for three assistant coaches is about to heat up, and his criteria go beyond hockey smarts and experience.
He said he wants assistants who have a thick skin.
"I'm extremely demanding," he said before Friday's draft. "People around me will tell you, I can be annoying at it. I'm ferociously persistent with what I want. I need people who can take it, and not everybody can.
"I'm extremely driven, so I need special people around me who understand how I am."
That would seem to favor those who know Boucher's personality, and there is plenty of scuttlebutt that Boucher wants at least one of his AHL Hamilton assistants, Daniel Lacroix and Martin Raymond.
But Boucher said, "I'm open to everything," even keeping associate coach Rick Wilson, who has two years left on his contract; goaltenders coach Cap Raeder, with one year left; and assistant Adam Oates, whose contract is up at the end of the month.
Boucher said he wants assistants "so strong they can take my job" because "everything rises and falls with leadership." He also wants them to have "a crazy work ethic."
"I'm a real fan of taking care of a guy one-on-one, and individual videos," Boucher said. "I really believe the staff has to work harder than the players."
LAWSUIT: The Lightning is being sued by a former employee who wants the club to pay the remainder of his contract.
In a civil suit filed in Hillsborough Circuit Court, Brian Rogers, hired by former co-owner Len Barrie and who spent two years as the team's vice president of business operations, is seeking at least $350,000, the base salary of his deal that was to run through June 30, 2011.
Rogers, fired June 18, declined to comment. His Tampa attorney, Thomas Gonzalez, said the question is whether the firing was for cause, which would preclude Tampa Bay from fulfilling the contract, or without cause.
Gonzalez declined to give details but said, "Once they file an answer, the battle may get joined."
The Lightning declined to comment.
RUMORS: There was a burst of chatter midday that Tampa Bay at least had inquired about Maple Leafs D Tomas Kaberle. The rumor makes some sense; Boucher's puck-forward system needs a blue-liner who can spark the transition with a pass or rush up the ice.
But Kaberle's heavy $4.25 million paycheck would force the Lightning to send salary back to Toronto. And the Leafs, it is said, want a physical top-line forward in return.
Ryan Malone fits that description, but losing a top-six forward would further deplete a team that has had trouble the past few seasons putting together two consistent offensive lines.
By the time the draft began, the rumor seemed to have fizzled.
ODDS AND ENDS: This was the first draft in California. … The most well-rounded draft choice probably was Erik Gudbranson to the Panthers at No. 3. The defenseman plays the tenor sax and drums, and is learning to play guitar.