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Reports: Cooper to be named Lightning head coach

Mar 25, 2013, 6:13 PM EDT

Jon Cooper

It appears the Tampa Bay Lightning will once again turn to a rookie NHL head coach.

According to both TSN’s Darren Dreger and CBC’s Elliotte Friedman, the Lightning will announce tomorrow that 45-year-old Jon Cooper, currently the head coach of Tampa Bay’s AHL affiliate in Syracuse, is Guy Boucher’s replacement.

Last year, Cooper coached the Norfolk Admirals (the Lightning’s affiliate before this season) to a Calder Cup championship.

Not surprisingly, his name came up this summer in regards to other coaching vacancies around the NHL.

“I’m probably a chic name right now,” Cooper told the Washington Times. “And in this business, that’s good. Sometimes it’s time to move and sometimes you’ve got to strike when the iron’s hot, if it happens.”

Before Cooper’s AHL coaching career started in 2010, he spent two seasons behind the bench of the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL. He’s also coached young players internationally and has a law degree.

How would he describe his coaching style?

“I would throw aggressive in there, I would throw in in-your-face,” Cooper told Sports Illustrated. “I would throw in ‘We’re tough.’ If I could find a perfect marriage between the ’80s Edmonton Oilers and the ’70s Philadelphia Flyers, that’s the way we play.”

  1. einjzmolf - Mar 25, 2013 at 6:27 PM

    dallas should take notes on whats going on in ol tampa right now. top team in the ahl’s coach getting a promotion he deserves.

    • mathieug79 - Mar 25, 2013 at 7:52 PM

      he’s the next guy!! I’m guessing he becomes the coach of the New York Rangers!

  2. sabatimus - Mar 25, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    “If I could find a perfect marriage between the ’80s Edmonton Oilers and the ’70s Philadelphia Flyers, that’s the way we play.”

    Now there’s a tall order…

    • mathieug79 - Mar 25, 2013 at 7:57 PM

      For a guy who had ONLY 1 Player picked in the top 60 (Richard Panik) He sure did a great job with Norfolks, and has done pretty good this season with all the callups. He’s won at almost every level, let’s hope he can find a way to win in Tampa Bay!

      • mathieug79 - Mar 25, 2013 at 7:59 PM

        Also if he wants to become the 80s Oilers, 70s Philly. He might want to have a talk with Steve Yzerman, Crombeen could be out of a job, and maybe Steve needs to get someone who can FIGHT!!

  3. leeeroooyjeeenkiiins - Mar 25, 2013 at 6:49 PM

    Interesting move.

    On the one hand, I like a lot of things about it. He’s been a phenomenal coach in the minors, and the best evidence is the fact that the Crunch are still right up there with the best teams in the AHL despite losing several of its best players to the Lightning…and meanwhile those rookies have been better than most of the guys that were already there. He was likely going to get a job in the offseason somewhere, this way the organization keeps him in house. His familiarity with the many rookies that have earned themselves a roster spot should also help.

    On the other hand, Boucher was also an extremely successful AHL coach before coming here. So we’re essentially replacing one young and promising coach with little pro experience with another. Furthermore, I’m not sure Cooper will fix the problem that Mackenzie alleged, which is that certain veteran players were tuning out Boucher. I’m not excusing that poor behavior, but nevertheless if the report is true then I’d be surprised if they suddenly start listening to another young coach straight from the minors.

    My guess is simply that Yzerman didn’t like Boucher’s new style. The 1-3-1 was largely abandoned last year and this year and has only been used circumstancially, and perhaps Boucher’s new system clashed with Yzerman’s philosophy.

  4. mathieug79 - Mar 25, 2013 at 8:00 PM

    I think the Veterans who were tuning out Boucher, will be traded at the deadline!

  5. acieu - Mar 25, 2013 at 8:21 PM

    If the Capitals had hired Cooper last summer they would have been in much better shape than their position now irelative to the playoffs.

    • boltsfan777 - Mar 25, 2013 at 9:16 PM

      We have no idea what’s going to happen. I’d bet on the Caps to be in the playoffs sooner than the Bolts.

      • mathieug79 - Mar 25, 2013 at 11:11 PM

        With Ovechkin looking to be back to his old self
        1) they will make the playoffs this season (Only because they are in the weakest division in the league)
        2) As for the Tampa bay, a quick couple of trade (not saying Yzerman needs to push the “:PANIK” button) like getting a goalie, getting a Top pair Dmen to compliment Gudas, Hedman, Carle.
        3) Getting a Proven Goalie (Miller, Luongo) could get them a late entry into the playoffs

        Help your New Coach a little Steve, Get him a Goaltender! you hung Boucher out to dry with the Garon, Lindback tandem. I sure hope you’ll learn from your mistakes!

  6. treydogg97 - Mar 25, 2013 at 8:47 PM

    A mesh of 80s Oilers and 70s Flyers… Wow, dream big

  7. boltsfan777 - Mar 25, 2013 at 9:18 PM

    He seems pretty humble.

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