Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Guy Boucher: What goes up, may come down

BOSTON, MA - MAY 27: Head coach Guy Boucher of the Tampa Bay Lightning walks on the ice after they were defeated 1 to 0 by the Boston Bruins in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on May 27, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The problem with having a new head coach also being a first time head coach is that no one's quite sure what to expect the second year.

With Guy Boucher, in particular, it's going to be difficult to determine beforehand how the team will do with him next season. He's been head coach of three teams, at three different levels - major junior, AHL (AAA, for you baseball-minded folk), and now the NHL - but he's only been head coach for one of those teams for more than a single season.

Which is a bit misleading. One might think that he was fired from those positions than hired but others after reading that he doesn't have much of a track record in regards to coaching. However, as Lightning fans already learned, he's been so successful as a first-time head coach that he's moved up the ranks quickly.

However, with the one team he was head coach of for more than one season, the second season was absolutely dismal. It was actually worse than any season that the Tampa Bay Lightning have ever played. Which is hard to wrap your mind around when it comes to Guy Boucher.

Expectations will be high for next season, and for good reason, but here's something to keep in mind. It may not turn out so full of rainbows, sunshine, and unicorns as people might think. There is one little itty-bitty little blot on an otherwise ideal early coaching career.

Guy Boucher's career coaching record looks like this (care of hockeyDB.com):

Season

Team

League

Type

GP

W

L

T

OTL

Pct

Result

'06-'07

Drummondville Voltigeurs

QMJHL

Head

70

37

26

0

7

0.579

Lost in round 2

'07-'08

Drummondville Voltigeurs

QMJHL

Head

70

14

51

0

5

0.236

Out of Playoffs

'08-'09

Drummondville Voltigeurs

QMJHL

Head

68

54

10

0

4

0.824

Won Championship

'09-'10

Hamilton Bulldogs

AHL

Head

80

52

17

0

11

0.719

Lost in round 3

'10-'11

Tampa Bay Lightning

NHL

Head

82

46

25

0

11

0.628

Lost in round 3

Take a good hard look at the '07-'08 season and that winning percentage of 23.6%. The Lightning's worst season was '97-'98, when the team went through three head coaches in one year, and they still had a 26.8% winning percentage - which is surprisingly better than Boucher's second year with Drummondville. Even under Barry Melrose and Rick Tocchet, the Lightning won more than 40% of their games in both of those two seasons.

Will this happen to the Lightning next season? That's really hard to say. I have no idea what happened during that season in the Q with the Voltigeurs, and factors outside of coaching may have figured into that 51-loss season. Also, Boucher simply hasn't coached for long enough to see if that dismal sophomore year as a head coach is a trend or an aberration. So right now, it's just one big question mark.

But it's definitely something to keep in mind going into the season this October.

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