Jon Cooper took a unique approach to his all-star lineup

The Atlantic Division coach had the players pick the lineup, but didn’t tell them
Metropolitan Division's Seth Jones, top, of the Columbus Blue Jackets, scores a goal past Atlantic Division's Andrei Vasilevskiy, left, of the Tampa Bay Lightning, during the first half of an NHL hockey All-Star Game semifinal in San Jose, Calif., Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Metropolitan Division's Seth Jones, top, of the Columbus Blue Jackets, scores a goal past Atlantic Division's Andrei Vasilevskiy, left, of the Tampa Bay Lightning, during the first half of an NHL hockey All-Star Game semifinal in San Jose, Calif., Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Published January 26

SAN JOSE—Jon Cooper has his own unique way of doing things. Faced with the task of picking an all-star lineup, Cooper took a pass.

The Lightning coach had his Atlantic Division all-stars pick their own lineup, but didn’t tell them that’s what they were doing.

Cooper sent Lightning senior manager of communications Trevor von Knotsenburg into the dressing room with a small lineup dry erase board and a sharpie. Von Knotsenburg asked players to sign the board as a keepsake for Cooper.

Andrei Vasilevskiy signed in the first goalie line, so he started in net. Cooper used the same concept for the skaters, though it was less direct a translation.

“It was a little more difficult because we only had two defenseman, but it worked out great,” Cooper said. “The veteran guys (Steven Stamkos, John Tavares and Keith Yandle) got to start, and they were all together. They had no idea it was going on, but that’s how we came up with them.”

Even after the Atlantic Division lost to the Metropolitan, the Lightning’s three all-stars had no idea that’s how the lines were drawn up.

“I think that’s how we lost,” Cooper said, “I got outcoached.”

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