Mar 29, 2013, 1:44 PM EST
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.
Feb 1, 2015, 1:45 PM EST
The 452nd of his career.
Feb 1, 2015, 12:47 PM EST
Watch some hockey before a certain big game.
Feb 1, 2015, 12:39 PM EST
Andrei Vasilevskiy gets recalled in his place.
Feb 1, 2015, 12:18 PM EST
Pittsburgh continues to navigate injury challenges.
Feb 1, 2015, 11:50 AM EST
Time to hit the brakes on that rumor?
Feb 1, 2015, 10:37 AM EST
St. Louis is 9-0-1 in its last 10 games.
Feb 1, 2015, 9:37 AM EST
A big hip check and three assists from the defenseman.
Feb 1, 2015, 1:41 AM EST
Got a little help, too. Quick whistle on Toews chances.
Feb 1, 2015, 12:55 AM EST
Stopped 31 of 32 shots for the win.
Feb 1, 2015, 12:07 AM EST
No call. Got a little testy out there after that hit.
Jan 31, 2015, 11:17 PM EST
Boston maintaining their hold on a Wild Card spot.
Jan 31, 2015, 10:23 PM EST
Maybe February will be better?
Jan 31, 2015, 9:44 PM EST
Battle of Alberta isn’t what it used to be.
Jan 31, 2015, 8:57 PM EST
Scary moment, but he has stayed in the game.
Jan 31, 2015, 8:27 PM EST
Goal No. 715 of his career.
Jan 31, 2015, 8:14 PM EST
Short-handed, too! *Thumbs up*
Jan 31, 2015, 7:43 PM EST
Starting Sunday, these teams will play each other three times in 16 days.
Jan 31, 2015, 7:16 PM EST
Obviously not smart.
Jan 31, 2015, 6:46 PM EST
Allowed five goals on 20 shots.
Jan 31, 2015, 6:19 PM EST
Two losses in a row for the Islanders.
- Ovechkin becomes fifth player to start career with 10 straight 30+ goal seasons 0
- End nearing? Lightning waive Nabokov 0
- Leafs scoring slump hits historical low 21
- Video: Rangers’ Lundqvist takes puck to the neck 10
- Zamboni driver arrested for DUI, allegedly cleaned ice surface while drunk 16
- Mike Richards trying to make the best of being sent to the AHL 14
- Price leads Habs past Caps with second straight shutout 10
- Report: Rob Blake would be Brendan Shanahan’s first choice to replace Dave Nonis 5
- Bettman would be ‘kicking and screaming’ before NHL jerseys have ads 27
- Comparing the records of all 30 teams in the last two months 61