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- Ice hockey head coach
Welcome back to the NHL, Guy Boucher.
The Ottawa Senators announced on Sunday that the former Tampa Bay Lightning coach is their new head coach, replacin the fired Dave Cameron. He was given a three-year deal, which was the term that was on the table for Bruce Boudreau before he opted for the Minnesota Wild’s four-year deal.
Boucher, 44, becomes the 12th head coach in Senators franchise history. Boucher has spent parts of the last three seasons as the head coach of SC Bern of the National League A in Switzerland, posting a 44-29-5 record. Prior to that, he spent two-plus seasons as the head coach of the National Hockey League’s Tampa Bay Lightning, posting a 97-78-20 record in 195 games. Boucher led the Lightning to the Eastern Conference Final in 2010-11.
“Over the past three weeks, Pierre Dorion and our hockey operations staff have undertaken a thorough and comprehensive search for our next head coach. Following a detailed evaluation of all coaching candidates, there was overwhelming consensus that Guy was our top candidate,” said Senators owner Eugene Melnyk. “We wanted a great coach and this process yielded our top pick. I couldn’t be happier. On behalf of the entire Senators organization, the great city of Ottawa and our fans, I want to welcome Guy, his wife Marsha and their three children, Vincent, Mila and Naomi.”
“Top candidate [left after Boudreau decided to pass]…”
As we mentioned earlier, Boucher’s candle burned quickly with the Lightning. His stellar first season saw them go on a prolonged playoff run and dominate in possession. But by the end, those possession numbers and their goals-against numbers were in the dumps. Some of that was due to personnel, like a below-average goaltending battery; but some of that was also the locker room tuning him out en masse.
The intrigue for Boucher in Ottawa is if he’ll play the same 1-3-1 forecheck system that he had in Tampa Bay, as it didn’t really produce big offensive totals for his defensemen and the Senators, at last look, have the best offensive defenseman on the planet. And teams did eventually learn how to break it (and not just by clowning the Lightning like the Flyers did).
The intrigue is also whether Boucher’s firing in Tampa Bay and his time overseas has given him some humility and tempered his approach. He’s an intense motivator that could become too intense. His welcome was worn out with the Lightning. Is he a different coach now?
Whether this works or not, kudos to the Senators for trying something different and avoiding a Mike Yeo or a Randy Carlyle in this spot. (Carlyle, in fact, was told he was out yesterday, moments after the Wild did, too.)
If nothing else, the Senators just got exponentially more interesting for next season.
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