The Tampa Bay Lightning which started out smokin' hot with a 6-1 start, inexplicably collapsed into a 7-16 freefall which today cost talented head coach Guy Boucher his job.
Local sports tool Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay (formerly St. Pete) Times blames GM Steve Yzerman for the underperforming team. But it's not Yzerman's fault that new goalie Anders Lindback isn't coming into form quickly enough or that back-up Mathieu Garon has turned into Dwayne Roloson all of the sudden.
Jones faults Yzerman for not stocking the team with top flight talent, but conveniently forgets that the Bolts couldn't afford to spend money like the Yankees.
All the way back to the Jacques Demers days, this team has had a bizarre habit of not staying with a winning formula. Even after winning the Stanley Cup, the next season the guys seemed to forget everything that John Tortarella taught them about schemes and such. I cannot remember how many times Torts would be in the paper or on tv talking about the players not playing the system. They would buy back in and start winning. Then abandon it and start losing again. They've done the same thing to Boucher this season.
Top speculation to replace Boucher has either former Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff or AHL Syracuse coach Jon Cooper. Coop may have the slight advantage as he has worked with a lot of the young players now on the Bolts squad when they were in the minors. Also, like Boucher when he was in the minors, Cooper is on everyone's "next big thing" radar. If they pick up Ruff and sign him to a long term contract, which Ruff will want, they will probably lose Cooper to another team.
And to Boucher . . . thanks for all you've done here, I for one would have liked you to stay on.