Montreal (AFP) – Guy Boucher will return next season as coach of the Ottawa Senators despite the team struggling to the NHL’s second-worst record last season, general manager Pierre Dorion said Tuesday.
Dorion told TSN 1200 radio that Boucher will be retained a year after meeting with Dorion to discuss this past season, which saw the Senators win 28 of 82 games for 67 points, second only to Buffalo as the worst marks in the 31-team league.
“It was a really productive and positive conversation,” Dorion said. “We suggested, management, how can we get better in areas of change. They came up with a game plan and we’re really happy about the direction that the coaching staff seems to want to go.”
It was a mighty fall for the Senators, who pushed eventual Stanley Cup winner Pittsburgh to double over-time in the seventh and final game of last year’s Eastern Conference Final.
“We look forward to continuing the process that we started last year and to see great improvement in our team in the upcoming season,” Dorion said.
“We’re a skating team. We need to practice. I think speed was Guy’s mantra when he came on board and I think we derived a bit from it from last year. We need to skate hard in practice to play hard and fast as much as possible.”
Boucher, 46, has gone 72-71 with 21 over-time losses in two seasons with the Senators entering the final year of the contract he signed in 2016. His overall record as an NHL coach is 169-150-41 including three seasons guiding Tampa Bay from 2010-2013.