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Lightning Nuts and Bolts: Brown's tattoo history, Cooper's special coaching friend

Short shift with RW J.T. Brown

We know you have several tattoos, any special meaning? Each one has to have a story. I have "Family First" written on my chest. I have "Phoenix" on my side. When I went pro, it was a new beginning for myself. I have an angel on my arm for my grandmother (Kathy) that passed. Anything that happens in my life, that's my story.

How did you meet your wife (Lexi LaFleur)? I met my wife on Twitter. Everything just worked out. It was when we were back in (AHL) Syracuse, she was going to school in Syracuse. (Fans message you on Twitter) all the time, you don't necessarily think anything is going to come of it. But the odd situation, it will. I guess there's hope.

Ever gone onstage with your brother (Sieed), a musician? I don't have the vocal talents to be on the stage for that, but I have been onstage, not singing, just off to the side. Let him do his own thing. Most of the time I'm just standing in the front row.

Favorite piece of memorabilia: I don't have it anymore. It was my Randy Moss (retired NFL receiver) signed football. After I played with it so long, the Sharpie wears off. When you're 8 years old, you're not worried about the autograph. You still want to play with it. It's almost like Sandlot, when they play with the baseball. That's the way I was.

The next Jon Cooper?

It didn't take long for the teasing text messages to start.

Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill (top left), 41, a longtime friend of Lightning coach Jon Cooper, 48, sent him a message before the teams met Tuesday night in Detroit. Blashill quipped that the Lightning didn't have regular back-to-back games, having played at 1 p.m. Monday in Boston. The Red Wings didn't play that day.

"I was like, 'Well, what was your team doing yesterday?' " Cooper said.

The two have shared plenty of barbs over the years. They met 15 years ago coaching together in Michigan and remain close. No one was happier than Cooper when Blashill got promoted from Detroit's AHL team to take over for Mike Babcock in the offseason.

"Aside from me, he's as good as it gets," Cooper joked.

Blashill said he had many hockey conversations with Cooper over the summer, including while losing a round of golf, gaining insight on making the transition to NHL coach.

But Cooper says it was he who learned from Blashill, who made it to the NHL first, as a Red Wings assistant in 2011. Cooper said they talked about the NHL life and dealing with players.

"We … privately pull for each other," Cooper said.

Blashill got the better of Cooper Tuesday, their first NHL meeting, a Red Wings 3-1 win. But Blashill isn't surprised about how much success Cooper, in his third full season, has had.

"He's really intelligent, and he's got a way about him," Blashill said. "He seems to command respect, yet still be able to hold guys accountable."

From the fans

QUESTION: Who is your funniest teammate?

Vladislav Namestnikov: There's a lot of funny guys. (J.T. Brown) is funny, (Jonathan) Drouin, (Nikita) Kucherov. There's a list, for sure.

Have a question?

Have a question for a Lightning player? Send it on Twitter to @TBTimes_JSmith or email joesmith@tamapbay.com and we'll answer one each Sunday.

Lightning Nuts and Bolts: Brown's tattoo history, Cooper's special coaching friend 10/17/15 [Last modified: Saturday, October 17, 2015 8:42pm]
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