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Jon Cooper starstruck by being Adams finalist

Jun 21, 2014, 11:40 AM EDT

Jon Cooper AP

Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper had a tremendous season leading the team to the playoffs.

After navigating the drama of Steven Stamkos‘ broken leg and Martin St. Louis‘ demand to be traded, he was recognized for his efforts and named a finalist for the Jack Adams Award for coach of the year.

As Cooper tells Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times, he’s a bit starstruck by who he’s up against for the award.

“My name is being thrown around with Patrick Roy, he’s still a Hall of Fame goaltender in this league, and Mike Babcock, who is probably eventually going to be a Hall of Fame coach in the league,” Cooper said. “So it’s one of those, ‘Which name is not like the other?’ That’s kind of what I am.”

The former lawyer turned hockey coach may not think he belongs in the conversation with Roy and Babcock, but Cooper’s efforts in getting the Lightning to the postseason demanded that he be put in the limelight amongst coaches.

In his first full season in Tampa, Cooper led the team to a 46-27-9 record and a second place finish in the Atlantic Division before ultimately getting swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Montreal Canadiens.

When it’s all said and done on the 24th at the NHL Awards, it may be Babcock and Roy who have the glowing words about Cooper.

  1. pitpenguinsrulez - Jun 21, 2014 at 12:56 PM

    I still believe that Berube should be a finalist over Babcock. Berube turned a team that missed the playoffs in 2013 and started off terribly this past year into a playoff team.

    • adamal17 - Jun 21, 2014 at 1:49 PM

      He took a team with the talent to be a Stanley Cup contender that had a bad start and took them to the playoffs…Babcock took a team that had 421 man games lost (most in franchise history); most of which were from their top five players (Dats, Z, Weiss, Franzen and Dekeyser) not to mention NEVER having their top six D on the lineup during the year. The Wings had no right making the playoffs this year…on paper. This Jack Adams award for 2013/2014 should be split between Babcock and Jeff Blashil (the wings AHL coach and eventual NHL head coach). I think Roy will win the crown this year though…and it hurts saying that as a wings fan.

  2. lsxphotog - Jun 22, 2014 at 4:33 PM

    Soooo…back on topic, Cooper did an impressive job in Tampa. I think the team showed how well it could do without their top player and how well some of these players were developed down in the AHL by Cooper. When it comes to break-out seasons, Roy and Cooper are really the ideal standouts to me. Babcock certainly impressed everyone by what he could do, but I don’t think anyone was all that surprised. Cooper and Roy turned two absolutely terrible teams into fresh, exciting teams to watch that were WILDLY successful. Pretty spectacular job by both of them.

    I say give it to Cooper or Roy because they were the biggest surprises.

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