Morning Skate 520: 'Evil' Boucher gets agitated

Morning Skate 520: 'Evil' Boucher gets agitated

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com
TAMPA Lightning head coach Guy Boucher has certainly made an impression on the national hockey media during his time coaching the Tampa Bay Lightning in the playoffs.His explosive reaction to the Marc-Andre Bergeron elbowing call in last nights first period of Game Three is already Internet legend, and has thousands in Boston casting him as the next villainous heavy in a great hockey action picture.Theres plenty of fun to be had with the notion he looks like a James Bond villain or a henchmen from a Die Hard film given the giant scar on his cheek, the focused intensity in his voice and the exotic French-Canadian accent he speaks with. Boucher has certainly enjoyed the mileage hes received from his bench presence in the past while working his way through junior hockey and the minor leagues, but the Lightning coach appeared subdued for the first time in the Eastern Conference Finals series Friday morning after a difficult Game Three setback.There was one flicker from Boucher, though, as he flogged his team for being unwilling to pay the price against the Bruins.Boucher was asked if he was a bit agitated following the Bergeron call on David Krejci that both sides have called a good hockey hit, and he couldnt help but react to that line of questioning.A bit agitated? It's just in the heat of the moment, said Boucher. I felt the previous game that there were a lot of penalties we didn't deserve. I was probably carrying that over to that game and probably wanted to make sure that we felt strongly about that one like we did the previous game where I stayed a bit calmer.Sometimes you stay calm and it helps. Sometimes you don't stay calm and it also helps. Sometimes it doesn't help at all. So I think it's important that I act according to what I feel. It was a short burst. And it stayed a short burst. And when you look at the replay, I think I was right on. I felt it was a clean check. But I thought the referees did a very good job yesterday. It was three power plays on each side. I thought they kept the game under total control.The Lightning need a lot more than a short burst on Saturday afternoon if theyre hoping to get off the mat against the Bruins.On to the links:Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman likes the evolution of Lightning troublemaker Steve Downie, but there is still evidence of his wayward ways.Kirk Luedeke with a look at Tim Thomas and how his story is a clue at drafting goaltenders in the modern era of hockey.The Atlanta Journal Constitution has the Thrashers end of the relocation story to Winnipeg, and you cant help but feel bad for the diehard hockey fans in Atlanta that actually exist.Yahoo! Sports Nick Cotsonika has more on the Atlanta-to-Winnipeg move that seems just about a fait accompli for the NHL.Joe Yerdon has five morning after thoughts on Pro Hockey Talk including some theories and ruminations on the Bruins and Lightning.A look behind the curtain at the Alexander Radulov deal with the KHL, and the hurdles keeping him from coming back to the Nashville Predators.A Winnipeg web site has the top five names that wont fly for the new hockey team if they cant call themselves the Jets.A.J. Perez takes a look at the Derek Boogaard passing, and the drugs and alcohol mixture that led to his accidental death. Such a tragedy for a guy that was uniformly well-liked.SI.coms Stu Hackel takes a look at both playoff series, and correctly determines that the soft Tampa interior defense is beginning to become a problem.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Coyotes hire Craig Cunningham as scout

Coyotes hire Craig Cunningham as scout

The Coyotes have hired former player Craig Cunningham as a pro scout, keeping the 26-year-old in hockey after a cardiac episode ended his playing career this season. 

Drafted by the Bruins in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, Cunningham played 34 games for Boston over parts of two seasons before he was waived and claimed by Arizona. He totaled 19 games for the Coyotes, but served as captain of the Tucson Roadrunners, the team’s AHL affiliate. 

Cunningham was hospitalized after he collapsed during pregame warmups on Nov. 19. He was kept alive by continual CPR, but had his lower left leg amputated the next months due to an infection from the episode. 

Known as a high-character player who was popular with his teammates, Cunningham’s transition to scouting lets him further his career after a scary break. 

"I'm very excited to begin the next chapter of my life with the Coyotes," Cunningham said in a statement released by the team. "I'm very grateful to John Chayka, Dave Tippett, the Coyotes and Roadrunners organizations, and all of the great fans across Arizona for the incredible support I've received over the past year. I'm looking forward to helping the Coyotes and I can't wait to get started in my new role."

Said Chayka, the team’s general manager: ”We're thrilled to have Craig join our hockey operations department as a pro scout. Craig was a smart, hard-working player with an incredible passion for the game. We're confident that he will bring those same qualities to the Coyotes in his new role and that he will be an invaluable asset to our organization. We look forward to Craig helping us in several areas and are excited that he is staying with the club."
 

Morning Skate: Overreacting to the Oilers' window

Morning Skate: Overreacting to the Oilers' window

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while really enjoying what the CW does season in and season out with the Flash.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Don Brennan says that the Senators fans not showing up for Game 6 is their way of sticking it to Sens owner Eugene Melnyk.

*The talk is turning to the next captain of the Buffalo Sabres, and what they can do to help open up communication up and down the roster.  

*A guy that wore a Habs toque on his twitter avatar writes a glowing, praise-filled article about the performance of PK Subban during these Stanley Cup playoffs. He’s undoubtedly been good, but he just might have been wearing his Montreal Canadiens footie pajamas when he wrote this one, and rattling his fist at Habs management all the while.

*Interesting piece by Jason Gregor about the “window to win” for the Edmonton Oilers, and an odd notion that the window will close when Connor McDavid has moved out of his entry level contract. I’d say that’s kind of ludicrous.

*The Colorado Avalanche coaching staff has been let go after last year’s dreadful season, and that’s too bad for a really good guy in former Providence College head coach Tim Army. I’m sure he won’t be out of work long.

*Colin White made his Stanley Cup playoff and NHL debut for the Ottawa Senators in Game 6, and helped push Ottawa to a Game 7. It will be interesting to watch the Massachusetts native and former Boston College standout develop with the Senators as White was one of the players that the Bruins skipped over to instead draft Jake DeBrusk and Zach Senyshyn in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft. The others, Mathew Barzal, Travis Konecny and Kyle Connor, are all either in the NHL or knocking on the door as well, and it’s going to be a challenging road for both of Boston’s forward prospects to live up the justification of the B’s drafting them first. Granted DeBrusk and Senyshyn are also both doing their thing for the P-Bruins as they push into the conference finals of the Calder Cup playoffs, and they’re both bright prospects in their own right. It’s going to take years to determine the rights and wrongs of that first round, but White getting into the lineup for the Senators is proof of just how high that organization is on him.

*Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan says that Sidney Crosby handled the targeted abuse well from the Senators in a Game 6 loss that will push to a Game 7 between the Penguins and the Senators.

*For something completely different: A great message from Brookline homey and former Sox GM wonder boy Theo Epstein in his commencement address to Yale University.