The Tampa Bay Lightning decided a change was in order, firing head coach Guy Boucher in the wake of a disappointing season for the team.
A press release was made available on the team's website:
The Tampa Bay Lightning have released Guy Boucher from his head coaching commitment, effective immediately, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced this morning. Yzerman also announced that Martin Raymond and Dan Lacroix will share coaching responsibilities for the game tonight against the Winnipeg Jets.
"Guy has poured his heart and soul into the Lightning organization for these past three years and we appreciate all the work he has done," said Yzerman upon making the announcement. "But ultimately I am not satisfied with the direction we are heading and I believe making a change today is in the best interest of our franchise."
The team is currently 13-17-1 with 27 points and is just three points ahead of the Eastern Conference's worst team, the Florida Panthers. Yet the Lightning could still conceivably get back into the playoff hunt, trailing the Carolina Hurricanes by just five points.
The Canes do have a game in hand, however.
Scoring hasn't been an issue for the Lightning. The team is netting 3.3 goals per game (third in the NHL), and Steven Stamkos (21 goals, 19 assists) and Martin St. Louis (seven goals, 32 assists) are having excellent seasons.
But goaltending and defense have been something of an issue, as the Lightning allow 3.0 goals per game, 24th in the NHL.
After winning six of seven games to start the season, the Lightning have really struggled. Those struggles have compounded of late, as the team has lost 10 of its last 14 games since late February. Still holding a slight chance to make the playoffs—and with talent on the roster—the team clearly felt a change was needed.
And with 17 games remaining in the season, a playoff berth isn't out of the question. It won't be easy, however—perennial playoff teams like the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers are also trying to battle back into a playoff spot.
In other words, the Lightning face stiff competition in the battle for the Eastern Conference's final playoff berth.
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