Guy Boucher, who earlier in the day turned down the head coaching job with the Columbus Blue Jackets, has accepted the head coaching role with the Tampa Bay Lightning, according to Rue Frontenac and CKAC.
Boucher coached the AHL's Hamilton Bulldogs this season. At age 38, he would be the youngest coach in the National Hockey League.
Bob McKenzie reports that it's a four-year deal, and that Rue Frontenac is saying his AHL staff will join him in Tampa. Daniel Lacroix, a former assistant coach with the New York Islanders (2006-2009) and former McGill University head coach Martin Raymond were listed on the Hamilton staff last season. Bringing the AHL staff? Perhaps that was part of the allure.
What drew Yzerman to hire a 38-year-old coach with no NHL experience? Besides the fact that Boucher is apparently being played by Fred Armisen?
Maybe he feels Boucher's 1-3-1 fore-checking scheme matches well with the Tampa talent. As far as his character, this passage from Jonathan Willis on Boucher's "meteoric rise" as a head coach was striking:
That's the biggest part of Boucher's allure, aside from his success. He's an educated man in an environment where most of the learning is of the hands-on variety. Of his three degrees, the one that gets all the attention is his master's in sports psychology, but he also has bachelor's degrees in biosystems engineering and history. I can't recall ever hearing of a coach with such a diverse educational background.
He doesn't have the diversity of degrees, but there's another coach in the NHL with an educational background in sports psychology. Hint: Yzerman hired him to coach Team Canada while his Detroit Red Wings were off on Olympic break. Just sayin'.
Tampa Bay blog Raw Charge is offering its take on the hiring. Color us surprised about this move for a few reasons. First, that Boucher's name wasn't all that high on the Lightning speculation list. Also, that Boucher would turn around and take this job so quickly after a public rejection of another offer; hope the Blue Jackets were able to jack up the price for him.
But mostly: Steve Yzerman, first-year general manager, has turned the keys to the locker room over to Guy Boucher, first-year AHL coach.
Replace that first name with "Brian Lawton" or "Len Barrie," and what's the reaction on Tuesday? Don't tell us there's no Yzerman Effect ...
Now, seriously Columbus and Tampa: Who does Kevin Dineen have to get Ulf Samuelsson to slash to get a gig around here?