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Sports psychology 101 by Guy Boucher

by Mike G. Morreale
Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher was dipping into his sports psychology notebook on Wednesday afternoon during the media press conference prior to Game 4 puck drop at St. Pete Times Forum.

Boucher, who has educational studies in four different fields, including sports psychology, was asked how he would replace a player like Steve Downie in the lineup.

Downie, of course, was suspended one game by the NHL on Tuesday following his illegal hit on Pittsburgh defenseman Ben Lovejoy in the opening period of Game 3.

"I don't want to replace him," Boucher said. "That's the mistake you make as a coach -- you want to replace the guy who's gone, but you can't. He's himself and he has some assets so if you're asking Sean Bergenheim to replace Downie, you're asking someone to do things he's not used to doing. I don't want Downie in the lineup tonight, I want Bergenheim to do his thing, (Dana) Tyrell to do his thing and (Nate) Thompson to do his thing."

When asked if his team needed to change anything in order to even this best-of-7 series at 2-apiece, Boucher shrugged.

"We don't want to be another team, we don't want to be something we weren't all year long," he said. "That's the key right now. When you face stress, you go back to your habits. So if you got bad habits, you're going to have bad habits in those games. We've faced a lot of adversity this year and we've acted extremely well. We've needed adaptation periods; it was never instinct because we don't have enough experience to get that but we've always adapted and bounced back.

"I think the players are very confident on getting on the ice and putting that game we need on the ice this time."

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