Believe it or not, tonight’s game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins will be head coach Guy Boucher’s 100th game with the Bolts, and his 100th game as an NHL coach. Where did the time go?
Boucher took over as head coach of the Lightning before last season, and he’s led them to a 54-32-13 record in the meantime. He’s been a coach in the same vein as Rays skipper Joe Maddon – unconventional, yet unafraid to go against the grain. His 1-3-1 system has drawn lots of ire from opposing teams at times, but it’s proven effective and is one of the main reasons why the Lightning made it so far in the playoffs last season.
In talking with Damian Cristodero from the Tampa Bay Times, Boucher had some interesting words to share on what it’s like to coach in the NHL:
“One guy missing can make all the difference in the world depending on who he is and what his role is. Circumstances can have a much greater impact in this league than in junior or in other leagues. If you’re tired, you’re not the same team at all; the size difference between your team and another team. You can get away with that in the lower ranks and other leagues. But in the NHL, it’s incredible, the minute you make a mistake or have a weakness somewhere, you’re in major trouble. It’s a very delicate balance in this league, I find.”
These are the sort of quotes I love: when coaches (or players) break away from tired cliches and give you a glimpse into their world and thought-process. Boucher has been successful with the Lightning over his first 100 games, and based on the amount of thought he puts into running the team, I have no doubt that they will continue to flourish over the next hundred…or so.