As a dedicated fan of the Tampa Bay Lightning, I was thrilled to learn about the release of Lightning Round: Ten Years of Jon Cooper. This book chronicles the career of the team’s head coach, Jon Cooper, and his impact on the franchise over the past decade. As Cooper has been instrumental in leading the Lightning to several successful seasons and a Stanley Cup championship, I am eager to dive into this insightful read and gain a deeper understanding of his leadership and coaching strategies.
In 2013, Jon Cooper took over as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning. In the ten years that followed, he has established himself as one of the top coaches in the NHL. Cooper has led the Lightning to a Stanley Cup championship, three conference championships, and four division championships. In addition, he has coached the team to numerous individual awards and honors. This Lightning Round will take a closer look at ten years of Jon Cooper and his impact on the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Early Years
After taking over in 2013, Cooper led the Lightning to a 101-point season and a playoff berth. In the following season, the team struggled with injuries and missed the playoffs. However, in 2015, the Lightning returned to the playoffs and made it to the Stanley Cup Finals, where they fell to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games. Despite the loss, it was clear that the Lightning had a bright future under Cooper’s leadership.
A Championship Season
In 2018-19, Cooper led the Lightning to their best regular-season record in franchise history. They finished the year with a record of 62-16-4, earning 128 points and the President’s Trophy for the league’s top team. The Lightning were a dominant force and entered the playoffs as the favorites to win the Stanley Cup.
The Lightning went on to sweep the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round and then defeated the Boston Bruins in five games in the second round. However, their playoff run came to a shocking end in the first round against the Columbus Blue Jackets, who swept the Lightning in four games. Despite the disappointing end to the season, Cooper was named a finalist for the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s top coach.
Following the disappointment of the 2018-19 season, the Lightning came back strong in the following year. They finished the regular season with a record of 43-21-6 and earned the second seed in the playoffs. In the playoffs, the Lightning defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets in five games in the first round, the Boston Bruins in five games in the second round, and the New York Islanders in six games in the conference finals.
In the Stanley Cup Finals, the Lightning faced the Dallas Stars in a hard-fought series. After falling behind 2-1 in the series, the Lightning won the final three games to win their second Stanley Cup in franchise history. Cooper’s leadership and coaching were instrumental in the team’s success, and he was once again named a finalist for the Jack Adams Award.
In addition to leading the Lightning to team success, Cooper has also coached numerous players to individual awards and honors. He has coached two Hart Trophy winners, Nikita Kucherov in 2018-19 and Connor McDavid in 2020-21. He has also coached two Norris Trophy winners, Victor Hedman in 2017-18 and 2018-19, and Roman Josi in 2019-20.
Cooper has also coached numerous players to All-Star Game appearances, including Kucherov, Hedman, Steven Stamkos, and Andrei Vasilevskiy. He has also coached numerous players to World Cup and Olympic appearances, including Stamkos and Kucherov for Team Canada and Vasilevskiy for Team Russia.
In ten years with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Jon Cooper has established himself as one of the top coaches in the NHL. He has led the team to a Stanley Cup championship, three conference championships, and four division championships. He has coached numerous players to individual awards and honors, and his leadership and coaching have been instrumental in the team’s success.
Looking ahead, Cooper will continue to lead the Lightning as they aim to defend their Stanley Cup title in the upcoming season. With his experience and leadership, there’s no doubt that the Lightning will continue to be a force in the NHL for years to come.