The Tampa Bay Lightning have relieved head coach Guy Boucher of his duties after two-plus seasons, effective immediately, according to the team's website.
Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman made the announcement on Sunday morning. "Guy has poured his heart and soul into the Lightning organization for these past three years and we appreciate all the work he has done," said Yzerman. "But ultimately I am not satisfied with the direction we are heading and I believe making a change today is in the best interest of our franchise."
The 41-year-old Boucher, who went 97-78-20 in the regular season, took Tampa Bay within one game of the Stanley Cup Final in his first season with the team, but lost to the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the 2011 Eastern Conference Final. Since then, a team loaded with offensive talent but short on defense and goaltending has struggled to compete in the Southeast Division. Tampa Bay started the season 6-1, but has gone just 7-16-1 since the start of February.
Lightning assistant coaches Martin Raymond and Dan Lacroix will share the coaching duties for the Lightning's Sunday evening game with the Winnipeg Jets. NHL.com is reporting former Buffalo Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff as a rumored replacement. Whoever it is will not have much time to reverse course before the Lightning miss the playoffs again.