We're back to the regular season and I'm back again this year with my weekly posts complete with links from around the league.
Whenever the Lightning travel to Montreal there's always a lot of fanfare. It's the never ending story of Lecavalier the possible prodigal son that usually dominates the headlines each visit. This time round, besides talking about just the players who were french-born, Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis and Simon Gagne, and our new assistant GM Julien BriseBois, our coach Guy Boucher will also be the focus of media.
In his second game a coach, he returns to face an organization that he used to work for. The excitement will be elevated even more than usual as Wednesday's game will also be the home opener for the Canadiens.
Although he never coached the NHL team, only their AHL affiliate the Hamilton Bulldogs, it was Bob Gainey that gave Boucher his start. In the one year he coached the Bulldogs he won the Louis A R Pieri Memorial Award for coach of the year.
To me he's still be of a wildcard for the Lightning as he's had such a fast rise into the NHL. It's going to take some time to see if his system and coaching style will work in the NHL. But with two recent terrible coaches in our recent history, Boucher probably doesn't have to put together too many wins to be thought of as being an improvement over his predecessors. Yet the career he will have will reflect greatly on Lightning management as he was the coach Yzerman wanted to bring to the team. It has been one of the first big decisions that Steve Yzerman made that will define whether Yzerman will be considered a successful GM in a few years.
Your Lightning links:
Houses of the Hockey has a look as some of the more surprising penalty-killers in the league in the early part of the season. Stamkos and St. Louis make their list.
Boucher is happy that the first game the Lightning play in Montreal is happening so early in the year. ''I'm going into an environment that I like, where I was born and raised, but I still have to take away that emotion because you need a calm coach.''
Boucher on the salute the players gave after the season opener and why Boucher will continue to have his team do it
SBN Tampa Bay gives the top five reasons why it's okay to love the Lightning again
Although it's not on the same level as in California or in Texas, Copper and Blue has a piece on the rise of the hockey movement in Florida
On Saturday the St. Petersburg Times wrote that the Clearwater Ice Arena faces foreclosure as a bank alleged the owner defaulted on the $1.7 million they owed on its mortgage. On Sunday in the times, the owner said that he file Chapter 11 bankruptcy to stave off foreclosure.
Arik Knapp takes in the first Norfolk Admirals game of the season and provides his recap
Around the NHL:
Really interesting notes from Springing Malik on the games held in Europe this year. For example "The escalators at Českomoravská metro station outside the arena must be among the top five fastest in Europe. Surprised not to see a pile of old people on the floor at the end of them"
Elliotte Friedman's 30 Thoughts this week cover why the Oilers should make a clean break with Souray. One of this thoughts is about Steve Downie and whether he can become a real star.
The Royal Half has their weekly feature Pundays return where once a week they critique the best and worst puns used on NHL.com
Jibblescribbits has the ability to see a year into the future and see's events of the 2010-2011 hockey season as they unfold. Are the Jaguars the future for Ellis? A funny read.
Barry Melrose Rocks presents their NHL Hater's Guide to the Eastern Conference and their Hater's Guide to the Western Conference
Matt Reitz from View From My Seats profiles Coyotes rookie Oliver Ekman-Larsson who many people are calling this generation's version of Niklas Lidstrom