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Lightning Coach Guy Boucher Ready To Return After Lockout

Lightning Coach Guy Boucher spent most of the lockout working with the Lightning staff and he also spent more time with his family. Boucher even coached his son Vincent's hockey game. Boucher read books and even landscaped his yard. He's more than ready though to return to his day job.

The 113-day NHL lockout took a toll on everyone involved.

Some players haven't skated since the end of April last year. Coaches haven't been running drills or re-tooling their power play.

That doesn't mean they sat there doing nothing

Certainly not Lightning Coach Guy Boucher.

He watched plenty of video during the lockout, as did many coaches around the NHL.

"Some days it's all day and some days only two hours..." Boucher said.

Boucher also credits his Lightning staff for the time they have put in during the lockout.

"We've done everything we could and that's one thing I can say, not just me, the entire staff did everything we could to improve, he said."We tried to cover everything we could cover as a staff and control what we could control."

"Some days I came in at seven in the morning thinking I would be alone but there's Raymond sitting there already," Boucher said.

According to Boucher, his time spent with Team Canada has somewhat prepared him for the upcoming accelerated 48-game schedule.

"The one thing that is close to that is my experience with Team Canada," Boucher said. "You know, every time you put a team Canada together you get guys from everywhere and you gotta do something with them in a very short amount of time. That's the kind of approach I'm going to have with my players."

The biggest thing with an accelerated season Boucher said comes down to simplicity.

"The big mistake that we make as coaches is we want everything to be in place when it starts because you want to be ready. Reality is we aren't going to be ready with everything, for everything and we aren't going to be perfect."

Boucher said though that the lockout allowed more time for him to spend with his family, which he normally wouldn't have gotten the chance to do.

The coach has three children: 9-year twin daughters Mila and Naomie and a 10-year old son, Vincent. All are active in athletics and extra-curricular activities.

"My kids play hockey, soccer, tennis and dance, so I did a lot of that and I've enjoyed it. That's the one part that is different than usual; I'm know, my wife enjoyed me being able to drive them everywhere and being a part of tournaments."

Boucher said his son, who plays plays hockey, has been begging for his dad to coach his team "just once." So he did, in a four-on-four tournament a week ago.

"He sees the other dads coach their kids and he begged me," Boucher said.

Although his son's team lost the game, his son was thrilled to have him there to coach a game.

Boucher even played Mr. Mom while his wife traveled to visit family.

"You'd be surprised, you'd be surprised," he said. "My wife was gone a few times it was her sisters birthday overseas and she had another trip to visit my sister in Italy...I was alone for three weeks so I did the ‘Mom' thing."

He packed lunches, drove his kids to school, and even cooked. According to Boucher, he only burnt one meal.

"It's different you know, it's different," he said. "The first thing the kids said when mommy came back was ‘Daddy was like the military," Boucher said with a laugh.

Boucher never once took his time with his family for granted. He said the life of a coach is one not many understand.

"The kids are just so happy because I don't think people realize what our life is, we are never there," he said. "The mom's a single mom for most of the time, for like 10 months and you know, when the kids have you around they take all that they can."

The only time Boucher felt out of place was in the beginning stages of the lockout when normally, he would have been conducted training camp.

"The tough part is I would say would be at the beginning probably," he said. "At the beginning it's like "OK I'm supposed to be at work now and I'm staying back to help with the kids' but you just feel weird, you really do."

"Humans are creatures of habit and my habits have been coaching for years and its been going to work, it's different."

Players might not have been getting paid but Boucher was still on the payroll during the lockout.

"I felt guilty the whole time to be honest with you, that is what I battled with most," he said.

Boucher said that is why he and the rest of the staff never rested. They watched AHL games online, went over numerous stats, memorized other teams' power plays and penalty killing units.

The coach participated in and around the community during the lockout as well. He was involved in the Lightning Community Hero giveaway and even conducted a local orchestra.

Boucher dabbled in reading everything from sports related books to philosophical ones and "anything to improve." He even started to landscape his yard. He's ready to get back to his day job: the head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.