Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning set to open camp with Cooper still at World Cup of Hockey

RECOMMENDED READING


TORONTO — Coach Jon Cooper might miss more of Lightning training camp than initially expected.

At least, Cooper hopes so.

Cooper is an assistant coach for North America at the World Cup of Hockey. And the super skilled team of 23-and-under stars from the U.S. and Canada could still stunningly advance to this weekend's semifinals if Russia loses to Finland today.

North America outlasted Sweden 4-3 on Wednesday in a wildly entertaining overtime game; Sweden still advances to the semifinals. Cooper said his team, led by Oilers superstar Connor McDavid, is as fun to coach as it is to watch.

"We've got a lot of McDavids," Cooper said. "All these guys are star players. He just might be the brightest."

It's also been a beneficial learning experience for Cooper, an assistant for the first time. Cooper joked the best part is he doesn't have to address the media post practice and game, leaving the "finger-pointing" to head coach Todd McLellan (Oilers).

Cooper enjoyed giving more individual attention/instruction to players post-practice, and gleaned knowledge from the other NHL head coaches on the staff, including the Panthers' Gerard Gallant and the Sharks' Peter DeBoer.

"All the coaches have been open and free with information," Cooper said. "Everyone is together, pulling their tricks out of the bag."

EYE-OPENER: Lightning RW Nikita Kucherov said he idolized former Red Wings C Pavel Datsyuk and Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin. And during this World Cup, Kucherov got to play on the same line with both for Russia. "A crazy experience," Kucherov said. "Just unbelievable to be on the team and around them, see how they prepare. Just looking up to those guys and take some little things from them and try to transfer to my game."

VASY HAPPY: G Andrei Vasilevskiy said the three-year, $10.5 million extension he signed July 1 gives him more confidence. "It was the best thing to happen to me in my hockey life," said Vasilevskiy, who has yet to play for Russia. "Tampa is the best place in the world and I hope to be there my whole career."

NUTS AND BOLTS: C Steven Stamkos had five shots in Canada's 4-1 win over Europe on Wednesday, clinching the top semifinal seed in the group. Jonathan Toews had two goals and an assist, and Sidney Crosby and Logan Couture also scored. Marian Hossa scored for Europe. … RW Jonathan Drouin (North America) was a plus-1 in 9:31, the second lowest ice time on the team. … G Ben Bishop could start — or at least, play — in tonight's game for USA against Czech Republic; the Americans are eliminated.

Contact Joe Smith at [email protected] Follow @TBTimes_JSmith.

Comments
Lightning-Blackhawks: Tampa Bay is killing it on penalty-killers

Lightning-Blackhawks: Tampa Bay is killing it on penalty-killers

BRANDON — A successful penalty kill begins long before the offending Lightning player, whistled two minutes earlier for some infraction, leaves the box with the score unchanged.It begins with a detailed scouting report of the opposing team’s power pl...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Lightning impressed with improved offense from defensemen

Lightning impressed with improved offense from defensemen

BRANDON — At one point during Saturday’s game against the Islanders, the Lightning was first in the NHL in points and second in points scored by its defensemen. That’s one reason the team is off to the best start in franchise history.It’s also by des...
Published: 11/20/17
Lightning’s rare loss produces reality check

Lightning’s rare loss produces reality check

TAMPA — Jon Cooper stood at the podium late Saturday night to address the media after a regulation loss for only the third time this season."Let’s be honest," he said, "we’ve had one hell of a start."The loss, he added, was frustrating, even when you...
Published: 11/19/17
Lightning finds its game too late, loses to Islanders

Lightning finds its game too late, loses to Islanders

TAMPA — The firepower showed up in the third period.Yanni Gourde and Ondrej Palat scored 13 seconds apart. Gourde scored again.Suddenly it was a one-goal game, and the Lightning appeared on its way to one of those comeback wins that would be remember...
Published: 11/18/17
Lightning journal: Jon Cooper thrilled with stellar start

Lightning journal: Jon Cooper thrilled with stellar start

TAMPA — If you told coach Jon Cooper his team would open the season with wins in 15 of the first 19 games, well, "I’m not sure I can sit here and say I would have predicted that," he said Saturday morning.But the Lightning did just that to lead the N...
Published: 11/18/17
Roger Mooney’s takeaways from Lightning-Islanders

Roger Mooney’s takeaways from Lightning-Islanders

This is what happens when you have the best record in the league: You get the best from the other team. The Islanders came out strong and the Lightning couldn’t match it, falling behind 4-0 early in the third. For the most part, the Lightning has bee...
Published: 11/18/17
Early Lightning awards: Tough call on MVP

Early Lightning awards: Tough call on MVP

TAMPA — It’s still way early, but if the Lightning’s record start continues, there will be a lot of hardware up for grabs. And we’re not just talking about the Stanley Cup. Nikita Kucherov has league MVP written all over him. Andrei Vasilevskiy coul...
Published: 11/18/17

Red-hot Lightning leading NHL in more than wins

Nikita Kucherov, top left, celebrates with teammate Steven Stamkos (91) after scoring against Florida Panthers goalie James Reimer. [AP photo]The Lightning (15-2-2) enters tonight’s game against the visiting Islanders (10-6-2) leading the leagu...
Published: 11/18/17
Brayden Point becomes ‘the heartbeat’ of the Lightning

Brayden Point becomes ‘the heartbeat’ of the Lightning

TAMPA — A local TV crew set up shop in front of Brayden Point’s locker stall the other day, waiting for the Lightning forward to be ready.Then, captain Steven Stamkos walked into the room for his scrum. It didn’t take long for the TV crew to change c...
Published: 11/17/17
Lightning pummels Stars for fifth straight win

Lightning pummels Stars for fifth straight win

TAMPA — The Lightning welcomed Ben Bishop back with a classy, fitting video tribute in Thursday’s first period. The sellout crowd of 19,092 at Amalie Arena gave Bishop, the greatest goalie in franchise history, a standing ovation. It was an emotional...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/17/17