Yzerman touts Cooper's familiarity with Lightning organization - WFLA News Channel 8

Yzerman touts Cooper's familiarity with Lightning organization, players

Posted: Updated:
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

Jon Cooper has never been on an NHL bench before as either a player or a coach.  But his success in the Lightning's minor leagues have made him a hot coaching candidate around the NHL before the Bolts hired him Monday night.

While fans and media speculated if Cooper or former long-time Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff should succeed Guy Boucher in Tampa Bay, there was no debate for Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman.

"To be perfectly honest with you, I called Lindy to let him know what I was doing," Yzerman said at a Tuesday press conference. "I had made my mind up and that we were going with Jon Cooper."

Like Boucher, Cooper comes up from the Lightning's minor leagues. But Yzerman still considers Cooper the best hire, instead of simply a safe hire.

"Most importantly, he was in our organization. I worked with him closely for three years," Yzerman said. "He's watched all our games. He knows all of our players."

Cooper knows many of the Lightning's younger players firsthand. This season alone, Cooper has coached ten players on the current Lightning roster.

Rookie Cory Conacher played for Cooper in Norfolk last season, and he said to expect a physical style of play. "He likes the character guys. We might not have had the most skilled team last season, but we so much character," said Conacher. "We had guys who block shots with one second left in the game even if we were up 6-0."

That Norfolk Admirals squad raised the Calder Cup last season after winning the AHL championship. Cooper's most recent team, the Syracuse Crunch, currently owns the best record in the AHL.

Still, Cooper's didn't take the usual path to the NHL.  Before he went into coaching, Cooper was a criminal defense attorney. "Yeah, he is definitely a lawyer," said rookie Tyler Johnson, who also played for Cooper earlier this year. "He's one of those guys who you don't want to get into a little [debate] with because he'll make you feel silly. He's a really smart guy."

And you can even find Cooper on twitter at, what else, @Cooperslaw.

  • NewsMore>>

  • Owners of Manatee Co. animal sanctuary arrested

    Owners of Manatee Co. animal sanctuary arrested

    Friday, April 18 2014 2:05 PM EDT2014-04-18 18:05:34 GMT
    Deputies arrested the owners of Napier's Log Cabin Horse Animal Sanctuary Thursday in connection with an ongoing animal cruelty investigation.
    Deputies arrested the owners of Napier's Log Cabin Horse Animal Sanctuary Thursday in connection with an ongoing animal cruelty investigation.
  • Avalanche sweeps down Everest, killing at least 12

    Avalanche sweeps down Everest, killing at least 12

    Friday, April 18 2014 1:32 PM EDT2014-04-18 17:32:32 GMT
    An avalanche swept the slopes of Mount Everest on Friday along a route used to ascend the world's highest peak, killing at least six Nepalese guides and leaving nine more missing, officials said.
    An avalanche swept down a climbing route on Mount Everest early Friday, killing at least 12 Nepalese guides and leaving four missing in the deadliest disaster on the world's highest peak. Several more were injured.
  • Egg hunt for Orangutans at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

    Egg hunt for Orangutans at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

    Friday, April 18 2014 1:05 PM EDT2014-04-18 17:05:45 GMT
    "Eggs"cellent Enrichment for Orangutans Friday at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo"Eggs"cellent Enrichment for Orangutans Friday at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo
    The Bornean orangutan family at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo was celebrating Easter early on Friday.They all participated in the annual Orangutan Egg Hunt. Zoo keeperers played Easter bunny and "hid" hard-boiled eggs, baskets, coconuts, frozen juice pops and other seasonal goodies throughout the exhibit.
    The Bornean orangutan family at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo was celebrating Easter early on Friday.They all participated in the annual Orangutan Egg Hunt. Zoo keeperers played Easter bunny and "hid" hard-boiled eggs, baskets, coconuts, frozen juice pops and other seasonal goodies throughout the exhibit.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.