MONTREAL — Lightning GM Steve Yzerman has said it before but agreed Wednesday it probably bears repeating.
With the Canadiens, last in the Eastern Conference, likely looking for a new coach, Yzerman said Tampa Bay's Guy Boucher "is not going anywhere."
Yzerman also said he would deny requests to speak to Boucher, who was highly regarded as coach of Montreal's AHL affiliate in Hamilton, Ontario, before he was hired in June 2010 by the Lightning.
"He's the head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning," Yzerman said. "He's under contract."
Some of the speculation is fueled by the Canadiens' search for a new general manager. Lightning assistant GM Julien BriseBois, hired in July 2010 also from Montreal, has been mentioned in the Canadian media as a possibility, with Chicago assistant GM Marc Bergevin, agent Pat Brisson, Toronto assistant GM Claude Loiselle and former Colorado GM Francois Giguere.
If BriseBois is hired — Yzerman declined to say if Montreal has asked to speak to him — the theory is he might want Boucher, with whom he worked when BriseBois was Montreal's assistant GM. Boucher, 40, probably would be attractive to any Montreal GM despite Tampa Bay's failure to make the playoffs after last season advancing to the conference final.
"They've done an outstanding job Yzerman said of the coaching staff. "Observing our team, they play hard, they stayed united, they stick together. The atmosphere in the locker room is positive, and our players continue to improve individually.
"Throughout the course of the season, the coaches have had to make adjustments and tried different things, and that has made them better coaches, so they have done a real good job."
Boucher did not sound eager to leave, either. "No," he said when asked if he would listen if the Canadiens called. "I'm under contract with the Lightning. I'm very happy, and we have plans for our organization. That's my only focus right now."
NET PRESENCE: It was easy to split the goaltending duties for back-to-back games with the Canadiens and Maple Leafs, Boucher said. Sebastien Caron got the call against Montreal because he is from Amqui, Quebec. Dwayne Roloson, from Simcoe, Ontario, faces Toronto tonight. "It took me a half-second to make my decision," said Boucher, who plans to start Roloson against the Jets in Saturday's season finale.
MEDICAL MATTERS: RW Adam Hall, out nine games with an upper-body injury that was supposed to keep him out the rest of the season, ditched the red no-contact jersey for Wednesday's morning skate, and Boucher said he likely will play against the Maple Leafs.
ODDS AND ENDS: C Steven Stamkos was 5-for-22 on faceoffs vs. the Canadiens. … RW Brandon Segal cleared waivers, but there are no immediate plans to send him to AHL Norfolk, the Lightning said, though he is on the Admirals' playoff roster. … Norfolk forwards Cory Conacher and Tyler Johnson made the AHL all-rookie team. … Segal and D Mike Commodore were healthy scratches.