Skip to content

New Lightning coach Cooper eager for tonight’s debut

Mar 29, 2013, 1:44 PM EDT

Jon Cooper

Jon Cooper, 45, is excited as we get closer to his first game as the Tampa Bay Lightning’s head coach and he expects those emotions will just build as the day goes on, according to an NHL.com report.

“How am I looking right now? Am I looking OK?” Cooper asked after the Lightning’s practice. “OK, so take this and do the opposite and that’s what is going on in here.

“I’m jacked. This is really, really exciting. I’ve got a plan. I’ve done it my way, and here I stand today.

“I wouldn’t say that I’m really nervous, although five minutes before the game I’m sure I will be. There is a wave of emotions. I wish everyone could feel what I’m feeling right now. It’s pretty cool.”

Cooper, the former head coach of AHL Syracuse, is inheriting a team that’s unlikely to make the playoffs despite a wealth of talented players. Former bench boss Guy Boucher led the team to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2011, but goaltending woes have been a big problem in recent years.

Cooper doesn’t plan to change the way he coaches and part of that means giving his players more freedom in the offensive zone. That’s something that should appeal to two-time Rocket Richard Trophy winner Steven Stamkos.

“It isn’t like you weren’t allowed to make plays with Guy. You still went out there making reads, making plays,” Stamkos said in a Tampa Bay Times report. “But here we know what’s allowed and what’s not, and there’s a lot of in-between where you can make a decision on your own.

“There aren’t specific things in your head you’re thinking about when you’re out there.”

“You’ve got to let guys breathe,” Cooper reasoned. “You’ve got to let them be free down there.”

The New Jersey Devils will be Cooper’s first opponents and his approach will be countered by future Hall of Fame goaltender Martin Brodeur.

Related:

Yzerman: ‘Marty St. Louis is not going to be traded’

Latest Posts
  1. Get your game notes: Wild at Avalanche

    Apr 17, 2014, 2:30 PM EDT

    Jonnas Brodin, Nathan MacKinnon AP

    Two teams meeting for the third time in the playoffs.

  2. FYI: Hartnell and Voracek have black beards now

    Apr 17, 2014, 2:08 PM EDT

    Hartnell

    Just in case you don’t recognize them tonight.

  3. Flyers want to ‘punish’ McDonagh

    Apr 17, 2014, 1:01 PM EDT

    Brayden Schenn, Ryan McDonagh AP

    “You definitely want to be physical on him.”

  4. Oshie and Berglund out, Tarasenko in for Blues tonight vs. ‘Hawks

    Apr 17, 2014, 12:41 PM EDT

    OshieBerglund Getty Images

    Game 1 gets underway at Scottrade at 8 p.m. ET (on NBCSN).

  5. Get your game notes: Blackhawks at Blues

    Apr 17, 2014, 11:57 AM EDT

    BluesBlackhawks AP

    Classic rivalry will get underway tonight at Scottrade.

  6. Sharks playing the role of underdogs versus Kings

    Apr 17, 2014, 11:50 AM EDT

    Brad Stuart, Justin Williams AP

    Even though they’re not really underdogs.

  7. Get your game notes: Flyers at Rangers

    Apr 17, 2014, 11:02 AM EDT

    Jakub Voracek, Henrik Lundqvist AP

    Both teams bounced back from bad starts to make the playoffs.

  8. St. Louis focused on team rather than own struggles

    Apr 17, 2014, 9:25 AM EDT

    Martin St. Louis Getty Images

    He had eight points in 19 games with New York.

  9. PHT Morning Skate: Four Game 1s start it up tonight

    Apr 17, 2014, 8:25 AM EDT

    Patrick Marleau, Alec Martinez AP

    New York, St. Louis, Denver, and San Jose is where it’s at tonight.

  10. Video: Getzlaf bloodied after taking puck to face

    Apr 17, 2014, 1:19 AM EDT

    Getzlaf2

    A Tyler Seguin bullet, no less.

  11. Bylsma praises ‘formidable’ Bennett-Sutter-Stempniak line

    Apr 17, 2014, 12:03 AM EDT

    Bylsma Getty Images

    The trio was big in Wednesday’s Game 1 victory over the Jackets.

  12. Lightning provide few details about Palat’s injury

    Apr 16, 2014, 11:23 PM EDT

    Tampa Bay Lightning v Pittsburgh Penguins Getty Images

    It’s bad enough to inspire Jon Cooper’s pity, though.

  13. Blue Jackets coach wants more than just moral victories

    Apr 16, 2014, 10:59 PM EDT

    Columbus Blue Jackets v Carolina Hurricanes Getty Images

    “We aren’t here just to go to school. We’re here to win.”

Featured video

Are Penguins vulnerable vs. Columbus?
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. E. Malkin (4638)
  2. T. Oshie (3738)
  3. M. Duchene (3478)
  4. B. Bishop (3042)
  5. H. Zetterberg (2944)
  1. M. Brodeur (2921)
  2. D. Backes (2916)
  3. P. Bergeron (2844)
  4. V. Tarasenko (2834)
  5. S. Crosby (2273)