Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lightning, Red Wings coaches longtime friends, supporters

Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper looks on as center Alex Killorn (17) appears to argue a call from the bench against the Chicago Blackhawks during third  period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Thursday evening (01/21/16).


Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper looks on as center Alex Killorn (17) appears to argue a call from the bench against the Chicago Blackhawks during third period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Thursday evening (01/21/16).

TAMPA — The Lightning's Jon Cooper and the Red Wings' Jeff Blashill know their teams are fighting for the same playoff spots in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference.

But the coaches — and longtime friends — have also helped each other along the way. Blashill, in his first year as an NHL coach, said he has sometimes leaned on Cooper for advice.

"I talk to 'Coop' a lot. We bounce off each other a lot," Blashill said before Wednesday's game between the teams. "Our friendship goes beyond the two jobs we currently hold. We've been friends a long time. I think we help each other in our coaching careers, whether it's been through advice, whether it's been learning from each other.

"I know I've learned a lot from him, both from watching his teams play to watching the way he handles his team and from different interactions. Beyond that, we're really good friends. I'm not positive who my youngest son is rooting for (Wednesday), if it's my team or Coop's team. That says a lot about our friendship."

Cooper said that due to scheduling, he doesn't talk to Blashill much during the season, but he chats with him more than other coaches. "Besides the few mocking text messages that come back and forth between us, we haven't talked a whole ton," Cooper said. "But if there's somebody you want to bounce something off, he'd be the first one of my calls. And I think I'd be for him as well."

LINING UP: D Matt Carle and RW Jonathan Marchessault were scratches for the Lightning. RW Erik Condra was back in the lineup. G Ben Bishop started.

EQUIPMENT TEST: Bishop said he enjoyed every minute of his first All-Star experience last weekend and was grateful to share it with a lot of friends and family who made the trip from St. Louis to Nashville. Bishop said he also got to test prototypes for proposed smaller goalie equipment and didn't notice much of a difference. "When I saw it, I didn't even know it was the new one," he said.

ONE-TRACK MIND: Former Lightning star C Brad Richards entered Wednesday with just five goals in 35 games with Detroit and playing a different position, wing. But for Richards, 35, on his third team in three years after winning the Stanley Cup last season with the Blackhawks, sees the bigger picture.

"Three teams in three years, so obviously nothing is as comfortable as when you're on the same team all the time," Richards said. "We're in a good position team-wise to make a run in the last 30-some games. At this point in my career, it's all about getting in the playoffs and making another run."

NUTS AND BOLTS: GM Steve Yzerman will participate in a Red Wings alumni game against the Avalanche on Feb. 26 at Coors Field, an event that precedes the teams' outdoor game. … The Blues continue to be a presence at Lightning games, with director of player personnel Rob DiMaio at Wednesday's game. Assistant GM Marty Brodeur attended the Jan. 23 game against the Panthers in Sunrise. … The Lightning was scheduled to practice at noon today at the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon.

Lightning, Red Wings coaches longtime friends, supporters 02/03/16 [Last modified: Thursday, February 4, 2016 12:35am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. USF defense feeds on Temple offense to take NCAA interceptions lead


    TAMPA — Backed up in his end zone, Temple quarterback Logan Marchi scrambled, trying to elude a USF defensive end coming straight for him. Until then, Marchi hadn't had much luck hitting his receivers.

    South Florida Bulls safety Devin Abraham (20) sacks Temple Owls quarterback Logan Marchi (12) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Thursday, September 21, 2017.
  2. No. 21 USF Bulls roll over Temple to stay undefeated


    TAMPA — They emerged from Raymond James Stadium's southwest tunnel on the 11-month anniversary of their public humiliation at Temple.

    Bulls tailback Darius Tice, who rushes for 117 yards, is elated by his 47-yard run for a touchdown in the second quarter for a 10-0 lead.
  3. Fennelly: USF thrashes Temple to stay unbeaten; too bad not many saw it in person



    No. 21 USF ran its record to 4-0 Thursday night with some payback against Temple, a 43-7 trouncing, no contest, as if anyone cares, at least judging by the paltry crowd at Raymond James Stadium. Where was everybody?

    Bulls cornerback Deatrick Nichols (3) celebrates with teammates after making a defensive play during the first half.
  4. Former Ray Tim Beckham's over being traded, or is he?

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — As the Rays reunited Thursday with Tim Beckham for the first time since he was dealt July 31 to Baltimore, it became very clear that not everything in assessing the trade is as it appears.

    Tim Beckham, here in action Monday against the Red Sox, has hit .310, with 10 homers and 26 RBIs since going to the Orioles.
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Thursday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    The Rays still talk about having a shot to make the playoffs. But recognizing and correcting mistakes will help them next year, such as Mallex Smith trying to steal third in the first. "Those are the little things we've got to find how to eliminate real quick," manager Kevin Cash said.