With Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper on his way to Tampa to take over the team, many of the players that played under him in both Norfolk and Syracuse spent time talking about him after the morning skate this morning, and many of them seemed excited that Cooper would be the guy to lead the team moving forward.
“He works so hard,” Lightning forward Cory Conacher said. “He watches so much film. He does little things that other coaches don’t do. He knows what to say in between periods. He knows how to say things. He knows when to get mad and when not to get mad, when to yell, when to raise his voice, and when to be friendly with us. He is a player coach as well, so he is a guy that gets along with the players really well, and has a bond with all the players. He is a lot of the reason we did so well last season and went on that streak and won a Calder Cup Championship.”
Even with the team full of players that is familiar with Cooper and his work in Syracuse, don’t expect there to be any sort of advantage for them being reunited with their old coach.
“It’s nice to have that bond with him,“ Conacher said. “We can’t get too comfortable. If we start to get too comfortable and think that we can do little mistakes and get away with it, it’s not going to happen. He has to do his job. He has to do the things he needs to do to win games. Off ice, he will be the same guy. He is a great great person off the ice. In the rink, if he needs to be hard on you, he will. He is not scared to do that. It’s going to be important for us to rebuild that bond we had in Syracuse and Norfolk, and hopefully go on a streak here in Tampa as well.”
“I don’t know about advantage,” Lightning forward Tyler Johnson said. “Everyone is going to start from scratch, I am sure. Especially with him, we don’t know if it is going to be the same organizational stuff we were doing down there, if it is going to be the same up here. We just have to see what is going on. Obviously we can talk to him a little more, we are not shy. From that standpoint, Cooper is not really one of those guys, he talks to everyone anyway. Everyone is just the same here.
More from the morning skate:
New defenseman Andrej Sustr was on ice with his teammates for the first time, but is not expected to play tonight. Forwards B.J. Crombeen and P.C. Labrie both did not participate in the skate and are listed as day-to-day. Brian Lee, who cleared waivers over the weekend, did participate in the morning skate. One light moment during practice, when Steven Stamkos and Marty St. Louis were attempting to fire pucks through a camera hole in one of the corners. No word if it was a competition, but Stamkos was the first to accomplish it.