The 2013 NHL season started out as promising as any for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Eight games into their schedule, the Lightning had accumulated a goal differential of +17 and appeared well on their way to a Southeast Division banner.
Since February 6, 2013, the team has been in an absolute free-fall, posting a record of 7-15-1 over the next month of action, prompting this morning's firing of head coach Guy Boucher.
The Notre-Dame-du-Lac, Quebec native burst onto the coaching scene during the 2008-09 QMJHL season as he took a 14-51-0-5 Drumondville Voltigeurs to a league championship. The next season Boucher turned up stakes, taking a position with the AHL's Hamilton Bulldogs, again leading them as far as the 2010 Calder Cup semifinals.
After hiring Steve Yzerman as their General Manager and parting ways with then-coach Rick Tocchet, the Lightning made a bold move in hiring Boucher, a coach with a short albeit impressive resume in the summer of 2010. His early results erased any doubt his detractors may have had as the Bolts came within one game of facing the Vancouver Canucks in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, succumbing to the eventual champion Boston Bruins 1-0 in one of the most enthralling Game 7's in recent memory.
Unfortunately, Boucher was never able to recapture his early success, amassing a record of 51-56-9 over the next season and a half before ultimately losing his job earlier this morning.
Current assistant coaches Martin Raymond and Dan Lacroix will be the co-interim head coach as the Lightning visit the Winnipeg Jets later this evening.
Ed. Note: For much more on Boucher's firing, check out the coverage being provided by our pals at Raw Charge.