Saturday, April 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

An inside look at Lightning jokes and rituals

Backstage pass

As tight a group as the Lightning is, there are plenty of inside jokes and rituals. Here are a few.

Cooper's Crashers: Coach Jon Cooper loves the movie Wedding Crashers. He met the film's lead actor, Vince Vaughn, in Chicago during the 2015 Stanley Cup final. And Cooper often quotes the movie with the team, either after games or at random times. "In all situations," wing Alex Killorn quipped. A favorite line? "Rule 76: No excuses. Play like a champion."

Just 'Friends:' Ever wonder what players do in the hours leading up to games? A few Lightning players, including Ryan Callahan, Brian Boyle and Tyler Johnson, watch reruns of the TV show Friends in the dressing room lounge. The timing is perfect for when the show airs on television. "It's become kind of a thing," Killorn said. It also sparked a Twitter debate between players this summer: Friends versus Seinfeld, which is better?

Up in the air: Even when the games are over, Lightning players remain competitive. On charter flights, captain Steven Stamkos, Ryan Callahan, Victor Hedman and Brian Boyle typically play a Euchre-like card game they created called Helicopter. "I'm the No. 1 card player," Hedman said. "Just ask those guys." Another group of four plays cards. Others watch movies or play Xbox. "There's three tiers," Killorn said.

Joe Smith, Times staff writer

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