Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman Signs Guy Boucher as Head Coach

Mike Burse@Burse21Correspondent IJune 8, 2010

Steve Yzerman has made his first move as the General Manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning. He has lured highly sought after Hamilton Bulldogs head coach Guy Boucher to the Lightning.

It was reported earlier on Monday, June 7 that Guy Boucher had been offered the head coaching position with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

However, he declined that offer and it has been reported that he has accepted Steve Yzerman's offer instead.

You would have to believe that Yzerman's credibility within the hockey world was a large factor in Boucher's decision to turn down General Manager of Blue Jackets Scott Howson's offer.

It has been reported that he will sign a four-year deal will the Lightning, and part of the terms of that deal will be bringing his coaching staff from the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League with him.

Let's take a look at Guy Boucher and his two assistant coaches, Daniel Lacroix and Martin Raymond, and their experience in the hockey world.


Guy Boucher

The 38-year-old is a former player. He played for the McGill Redmen from 1991 to 1995 while he worked on his degree in History, with a minor in Environmental Biology and studies in Sports Psychology.

After his time with the McGill Redmen, he played one season in France in 1995-96 for Viry-Essonne where he had 38 points in 28 games.

He then spent time from 1997 to 2009 as a coach in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He was an assistant coach with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies from 1997-2000.

From 2003 to 2006, he was an assistant coach with Rimouski Oceanic, where he helped win the Jean-Rougeau trophy (regular season champions) and the Presidents Cup (QMJHL playoff champion).

Then he was hired as the head coach of the Drummondville Voltigeurs and spent 2006-2009 coaching them.

In 2008-09 he would lead the franchise to its best season of 112 points and a President's Cup which led to an appearance in the Memorial Cup tournament.

That season he was also awarded with the Paul-Dumont Trophy for the QMJHL's personality of the year.

From there, he was named Head Coach of the AHL's Hamilton Bulldogs in June 2009. Despite many of his best players being called up to the Montreal Canadiens, he managed to lead his team to a 115-point season and the third round of the AHL playoffs.

Most notably he lost perhaps his best defenseman in PK Subban when the Canadiens called him up near the end of the first round of the NHL Playoffs.

In spite of this loss, he was able to find ways to fill the void of talent left by Subban.

In an interview with AM640 in Toronto, broadcaster Ray Ferraro indicated that Mathieu Darche of the Montreal Canadiens offered up the following sentiments in an unrelated interview with him.

He indicated that Boucher is a tremendous motivator and he is the best coach he has ever played for. He said his best attribute is the ability to teach his players and make all goals seem reachable.

Now that's a glowing endorsement from a former player (he played for Boucher with the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL this past season) if I have ever heard one.

This sentiment was echoed by the AHL when they awarded Boucher with the Louis A. R. Pieri Memorial Award as Coach of the Year.

Guy Boucher has also been involved in many International competitions as a coach. He was an assistant for Canada's under 18 National team for 2006, 2007, 2008.

In 2008, he helped to win a goal medal. Also, in 2009 he was an assitant coach for Team Canada at the Under-20 World Junior Championship where he won another gold medal.

As evidenced here, for a young coach, he has plenty of the coaching experience required to be successful at the NHL level.


Daniel Lacroix (Assistant Coach)

The 40-year-old is a former NHL player. From 1993-94 to 1999-2000 he saw ice time in 188 NHL regular season games split between the Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers, Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers, and the New York Islanders.

Over his NHL career of 188 games, he had a total of 18 points and 379 penalty minutes. He also spent time at the AHL level playing 352 regular season games and accumulating 213 points and 1,618 penalty minutes.

After his playing career from 2002-2006 he was an assistant coach with the Moncton Wildcats of the QMHJL. From there he spent 2006-2009 as an assistant coach with the New York Islanders.


Martin Raymond (Assistant Coach)

The 42-year-old has ties to Guy Boucher's playing career with the McGill Redmen. There he played five seasons (154 games) while accumulating 253 points.

He also won the Forbes Trophy in 1992 as McGill's male athlete of the year and the Bobby Bell Trophy as Team MVP following the 1991-1992 season.

He has also been successful internationally as a player. He was a member of the bronze medal-winning Team Canada squad at the 1991 Spengler Cup tournament.

Prior to joining Boucher's coaching staff in Hamilton for the 2009-10 season he spent 14 years as the Head Coach of the Men's Hockey program at McGill. His career coaching record with McGill of 293-192-35 in 520 games is very impressive.

In 2006 he was awarded the Father George Kehoe memorial award as coach-of-the-year for the CIS (Canadian Intrauniversity Sport).

He is also a four-time OUA Eastern coach-of-the-year winner (2000, 2005, 2006, 2009). With the Redmen, he has won the 2008 Queen's Cup league championship.


Tampa Bay's New Coaching Staff

While they are a young group, as far a a coaching staff goes (ages 38, 40 and 42 respectively). They are also an experienced group, and a successful group. With some coach of the year awards, championships, and playing experience.

Guy Boucher's name has been widely tossed around lately as the best coaching prospect for the NHL. He is said to be a very good tactician and teacher for his players.

He should be a perfect fit for a developing Lightning franchise looking for come back to respectability with their on-ice product.

Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman is expected to make the announcement of hiring on Wednesday, June 9.

Yzerman has now began to put his mark on the Tampa Bay franchise. Anyone who thinks he will turn them into a winner overnight is dreaming.

But he will make them a continual playoff and Stanley Cup contender in the years to come.


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