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Boucher to return as Senators coach

Staff will be retained following 30th-place finish @NHLdotcom

Guy Boucher will return to coach the Ottawa Senators next season, general manager Pierre Dorion told TSN 1200 on Tuesday.

Boucher's staff also will be retained.

Boucher, 46, is going into the final season of a three-year contract he agreed to May 8, 2016. He met with Dorion and assistant GM Randy Lee at Canadian Tire Centre on Monday to discuss a season when the Senators finished 30th in the NHL standings with 67 points (28-43-11) after reaching Game 7 of the 2017 Eastern Conference Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins, when Ottawa lost in double overtime.

"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 seems [to go] along with our philosophy as management staff. We look forward to continuing the process that we started last year and to see great improvement in our team in the upcoming season.

"Our intentions, and they were discussed with the coaching staff right after the year, is that 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. And they understood that."

Video: No change for the Ottawa Senators coaching staff

Boucher will run the power play after the Senators struggled on special teams. They were 27th on the power play (16.6 percent) and 26th on the penalty kill (76.2 percent).

"With Guy handling the power play, we know we have [associate coach] Marc Crawford that can handle a bit more 5-on-5 duties and preparation," Dorion said. 

Boucher is 72-71-21 in two seasons with Ottawa and 169-150-41 in five NHL seasons. He coached the Tampa Bay Lightning from 2010-11 through 2012-13.

"We're excited it's going to be a much better Ottawa team," Dorion said. "We're looking for a great improvement on what we did last year. I think some years there are anomalies and last year a lot of things that could go wrong went wrong right from the start of camp when (forward) Clarke MacArthur didn't pass his physical. I think probably having [defenseman] Erik Karlsson, who wasn't close to 100 percent until the second half of the year, was another big factor. There were a few distractions, intangibles, that probably don't come along every year, and that's why we're excited that next year we're going to have great improvement from what we did this past year."

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