In his first act as new GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Steve Yzerman has found his new head coach. Reports from Rue Frontenac and CKAC had Hamilton Bulldogs coach Guy Bucher as the Lightning’s new bench boss. At 38-years-old, he will be the youngest coach in the NHL.
Earlier in the day Boucher reportedly turned down the head coaching position from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Reports that an offer by the Blue Jackets had been made to the AHL Coach of the Year began over the weekend.
When the Columbus turndown broke, Sportnet’s Nick Kypreos immediately tweeted not to be surprised if Tampa made the next move. He seems to have been right.
The Rue Frontenac piece also notes that Boucher’s assistant coaches, Martin Raymond et Daniel Lacroix, may possibly go to Tampa as well. It had been rumored that the Columbus deal was nixed for the team refusing this option.
The Blue Jackets wasted no time in their search however, as reports are already breaking that Manitoba Moose coach Scott Arniel will be next to be offered the position.
Neither Arniel or Blue Jackets’ GM Scott Howson were available for comment, but there is a press conference now scheduled for noon Tuesday.
Many thought that Boucher would remain loyal to the team that gave him his crack at the pros, and eventually be the successor to Jacques Martin . Last summer the Canadiens relieved Don Lever of his position in Hamilton, despite being considered a coaching candidate for the big club, in favour of Boucher.
The move also brings question what lies in store for Kirk Muller. The Canadiens associate coach has made it public that he is pursuing a head coaching position in the NHL down the road.
TSN’s Bob MacKenzie made some valid points that a switch in positions, between Muller and Boucher, could benefit both the individuals involved and the team.
Alas that is not to be the case. With Boucher apparently on the move, the Canadiens may not allow any other teams to talk to Muller just yet.
It should also be noted though that Muller’s name is, as of yet, not on the guest list of a couple celebrity events that he typically attends over the summer. Only time will tell
New management for LeBlanc camp: Canadiens prospect Louis LeBlanc has new advisors for him and his family.
CAA Hockey, led by agent Pat Brisson now represent family interests for Montreal’s first round pick in 2009. Part of CAA Sports, the organization represents several pro athletes in different fields. Other noted clients in the NHL include Jonathon Toews, Daniel Briere, Sidney Crosby and Jon Tavares.
Over the weekend, LeBlanc’s Jr. rights were traded from Chicoutimi Sagueneens to the Montreal Juniors. The move added to the speculation that the 19-year-old would be leaving Harvard, where he was the ECHA Rookie of the Year, or the Juniors or perhaps signing with the Canadiens on an entry level deal.
Brisson says at this point, Leblanc is committed to Harvard.