TAMPA — The Tampa Bay Lightning are set to finalize their coaching staff with the addition of former Denver University head coach George Gwozdecky. A report Thursday from The Denver Post cited two sources saying a deal has been reached for Gwozdecky to join the staff. When Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman was asked about the report, his response was, “Nothing to announce as of yet.” Lightning coach Jon Cooper has been looking to add another assistant to a staff that includes veteran assistant Rick Bowness and Steve Thomas.
Gwozdecky, 60, spent the past 19 years as Denver’s head coach and led the team to back-to-back NCAA titles in 2004 and ’05. After DU was eliminated in the regional round last season, Gwozdecky was unexpectedly let go by the school. In an interview with CBS 4 in Denver shortly after he was let go, Gwozdecky, who has no NHL playing or coaching experience, spoke of the possibility of moving to the professional ranks. “Coaching is teaching, coaching is motivating,” he said. “This game, I think, unlike basketball, and especially unlike football … the X’s and O’s part of this game aren’t as a big of a factor as the teaching and the motivating, the relating to people, the developing relationships with people. That’s what it’s all about. I’ve had success doing that, and I enjoy doing that. I think I’m pretty good at it. “So do I think I could coach at any level? Yeah, I think I can.” firstname.lastname@example.org (813) 259-7835 Twitter: @erlendssonTBO