TORONTO | In another life, in the late 1990s, Jon Cooper was a lawyer. He had studied at Western Michigan University in Lansing where he practiced this profession for five years before embracing his new career, that of hockey coach.
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Cooper doesn't just have a good hockey mind to structure a game system and strategies. He is one of the good orators in the NHL.
In an interview with the Journal de Montréal, Martin St-Louis described all his coaches in the NHL with a single word. He had chosen the word "charisma" for Cooper who managed him during the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 seasons in Tampa.
On the eve of Game 7 against the Maple Leafs in Toronto, Cooper once again relied on his communication skills. In his eyes, the Lightning have the chance to further cement their place in the NHL history books.
Stanley Cup champions in 2020 and 2021, the Lightning aims to repeat the feat for a third year in a row.
"It's really history, we're already on the books as champions for two years in a row, it's not every day that people can achieve this type of achievement," said the coach. in chief of the Lightning. We did it. But to get there three times, you rise as one of the best teams of your decade. »
“Now you can think of the other great dynasties in hockey history. There were the Islanders in the 80s, the Oilers again in the 80s and the Canadiens in the 70s. There is a wow factor. That's what we're chasing. It's hard to just be able to think of accomplishing this type of feat, but it's still within our reach. We would like to get there. »
Like Cooper, Alex Killorn insisted on the symbolism of the quest for a third conquest.
"When you win the Stanley Cup twice in a row, you're already in a big category," Killorn said. There are teams (Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins) that have also won back-to-back titles in the past 20 years or so. But to win it three times in a row is even more immense. We have to go back to the Islanders with four straight wins. Today we could pull off a special trick in the context of a salary cap. »
After questions from Tampa colleagues in English, Killorn slipped in a few words in French on the same theme.
“It would be very important to get there three times. I think that in our group, in the future, there will be several players who will enter the Hall of Fame. You need special players to form a champion team. »
The Islanders, in the heyday of Mike Bossy, Bryan Trottier, Denis Potvin and Billy Smith, carved their name on the big trophy four years in a row (1980 to 1983).
The Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point, Victor Hedman and Andrei Vasilevskiy certainly fall into the category of special players. Thirty years from now, fans will still talk about them as they do about the glories of the Islanders past.
The Lightning find themselves at the start of another marathon on the eve of Game 7 in the first round of the playoffs against the Leafs. This team has played a lot of hockey since 2020.
"Physically it's okay, but mentally it's tough," Killorn said. In the season, we play so many matches. But when you have veterans, the experience ends up helping to deal with these situations. »