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Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher has soul mate in New York Rangers coach John Tortorella

Funny thing about Lightning coach Guy Boucher. If you close your eyes and listen to him yell at his players, he sounds an awful lot like former Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella.

"Shoot the (expletive) thing," Boucher yells when a power-play drill ends with a puck going astray after too many passes.

Tortorella said the exact same thing, though it is not clear whether that is simply a phrase common to all coaches or that Lightning players — how many years later? — still try to be too cute with the puck.

Still, the similarities between Boucher and Tortorella, who led Tampa Bay to the 2004 Stanley Cup title and is now coaching the Rangers, aren't trivial.

Boucher is incredibly intense. He demands, without debate, that things be done his way. His preparation is such that he can answer any question his players pose, and when getting ready for a game, he is more concerned with what his players will do than what the opposition will.

He is a proponent of getting his players plenty of rest, and he doesn't use the term "Safe is Death," as Tortorella did, to describe his system, but it fits.

Really, it's like Tortorella II, except, as one player joked, "with communication."

Here's the thing, though. Our perceptions of Tortorella were formed over his seven years with the team. Boucher has coached one NHL game. Still, it's enough to put him on top of Steven Stamkos' list.

"Just with making sure everyone is prepared for games, making sure everyone is on the same page, he's the best I've ever had on the professional level," said the center, on his third coach in as many NHL seasons.

"He thinks the game so thoroughly. Everything we do has a purpose, and it's the first time, I think for a lot of us, every single drill has a reason behind it."

Stamkos said it is "good to have a coach who is demanding but doesn't cross that line to where it is crazy. There's that fear factor that every player has towards him, but at the same time, he is still positive."

And Boucher isn't afraid to yell — with expletives.

Torts would be proud.

Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher has soul mate in New York Rangers coach John Tortorella 10/09/10 [Last modified: Saturday, October 9, 2010 7:14pm]
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