March 8, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Guy Boucher talks to his team from the bench during a timeout against the Washington Capitals in the third period at Verizon Center. The Capitals won 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Guy Boucher: What Went Wrong?

You had to love Steve Yzerman‘s hiring of Guy Boucher. He was young, intelligent, personable, played hockey for the McGill Redmen as a winger and then in France, studied sports psychology, and seemed to be able to relate well with the players.

In 2008–09, he guided the Drummondville Voltiguers in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League to their best season in history, with a total of 54 wins and 112 points. The team captured the President’s Cup on its way to the Memorial Cup tournament. Guy Boucher won the Paul-Dumont Trophy, awarded to QMJHL’s personality of the year.

In June of 2009, he became the eighth head coach of the Montreal Canadiens’s affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs in the AHL. Boucher guided his team to an impressive 52–17–11 record for 115 points during a season when many of his best players were called up by the Canadians.

At the end of the Bulldog’s campaign, Boucher won the Louis A. R. Pieri Memorial Award as coach of the year. After an impressive season in Hamilton, the Columbus Blue Jackets offered him the head-coaching job but he turned it down to accept the head coaching position with the Tampa Bay Lightning, signing a four-year contract.

In his rookie year as an NHL head coach, Boucher led the Tampa Bay Lightning to a seventh game in the Eastern Conference Finals, losing to the Boston Bruins as we painfully remember by a single goal.

Then on March 24, 2013, after a 5-3 loss to the Senators, with his team languishing in 14th place in the East, Yzerman pulls the plug on the Boucher coaching era.

It’s easy to say that the Lightning were going nowhere, that the 1-3-1 concept was a bust, or that Boucher lost the players in the locker room. But I’d like to know what you think. Please leave a comment and let us know why you believe Guy Boucher went from a hero to a zero in two short years, and then was fired as the coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

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