SUNRISE, Fla. (WFLA) – Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper referred to the hit as “predatory” and, after it resulted in a suspension, he reiterated his thoughts on it.
“I think the league did what was just,” said Cooper.
That hit happened in the third period of Game 1 between the Lightning and the home team, the Florida Panthers. Sam Bennett, a forward for the Panthers, spotted one of the Lightning forwards, Blake Coleman, from across the ice. He proceeded to skate after him slamming him into the boards.
Bennett received a one game suspension for boarding on Monday.
“I do not think anyone can look at the hit and say it was not worth of a one-game suspension,” said Cooper matter-of-factly, “so it is one game and we just move on.”
Cooper refuses to dwell on it but is Coleman riding that (gravy) train too?
“If I am pissing people off or whatever, I guess that that is a part of the game,” said Coleman, “but my focus is to help this team win and I am going to do whatever I can to do that.”
He does not seem to be overly concerned that he captured the Panthers attention in Game 1. Coleman scored the first goal in that game and it was a shorthanded goal.
“I guess it is the way I play the game, just try to play hard and play honest. If guys want to take liberties, then fine,” he said. “I am more than happy to help our team get on the power play and create some chances that way. It is playoff hockey. It is going to be intense. There are going to be a lot of battles all over the ice, not just with me but with the entire team, and I thought our guys stepped up physically and answered the bell and I thought we were a tough team to play against and that is what you want to be in the playoffs.”