The Tampa Bay Lighning have parted ways with their assistant coaching staff, including defensive assistant Rick Bowness, who has been with the team for the last several seasons. This comes just days after the team faced elimination in game seven against the Washington Capitals in the Eastern Conference NHL Playoffs. The general manger of the Lightning, Steve Yzerman, suggested that the firing was not due to the coaches efforts in assisting the team, but rather to the fact that they have pressed deep into the playoffs only to lose right at or before the Stanley Cup finals.
The shakeup to the coaching staff will likely not be felt until training camp in September, however with the bigger picture in mind, the Lightning will have to hope that a new team of assistant coaches could potentially change the way the Lightning perform in deep playoff battles. The Lightning wants to specifically focus on defensive tactics that were apparently missing during the later games of this previous seasons playoffs. Tampa seems to have faded from this defensive mindset that it overwhelmingly had in its 2015 playoff run to the finals, only to eventually lose in six games to Chicago.
The Lightning are expected to keep the core roster together for the next season, however some things could unravel during the off-season and free agency, and it is not impossible for things to change unexpectedly. It is becoming apparent that the hockey club in Tampa is getting sick of getting so far into the playoffs only to be eliminated in the final games before the Stanley Cup finals. A significant change in mindset will likely have to take place for this to change, and with every passing season, the average age of this hockey team ticks higher, sparking fears that superstars like Victor Hedman and Steven Stamkos could eventually retire without a Stanley Cup.