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Lightning pregame: Jon Cooper shares his trade deadline thoughts

It is Cooper’s first trade deadline working with the new Lightning GM Julien BriseBois.
 
COOPER SI
Published Feb. 25, 2019|Updated Feb. 25, 2019

TAMPA — It’s the day every hockey team in the NHL has waited for: trade deadline day.

But maybe teams have waited for it to end in different ways, some hoping that a player on their tight-knit team isn’t getting traded or others hoping that someone will get traded to improve their team’s chances in a playoff run or further down the line.

The trade deadline makes its impact across the league and everyone has a different perspective either way.

“I know my position’s different than our general manager’s, there’s no question,” coach Jon Cooper said. “When we’re on a day-to-day basis with our team, we’re working on making our team better every single day. It’s not that bringing in more players is necessarily going to do that. Last year it clearly did, but those are few and far between.”

The head coach isn’t sure how the day will end for his team, but he said any move that is or isn’t made is in an effort to better the team.

“I’m sure whatever happens, it will be a good thing for us,” Cooper said, “and that could be nothing.”

Cooper knows that trades and other player additions have worked for his team in the past, especially on last year’s trade deadline when the Lightning acquired J.T. Miller and Ryan McDonagh. But he’s not discouraged by the idea of not doing anything.

“You just go through everything that’s gone on and sometimes by doing nothing, you’re doing something just because the team’s grown together,” he said. “It’s how we’ve grown together, and the addition of those guys and the experience that they’ve had in the last year has obviously helped.”

But Cooper isn’t ignoring the inevitable. He admitted checking his phone and watching the TVs would be a hard thing to avoid until after 3 p.m.

“The one thing about our group, we’ve got the coaching staff, we’ve got the players, we’ve got a management team and everybody’s all in it together,” he said. “And if there was a fit or something is going to happen, it’s to improve our team for now and the future. This is probably a stressful day for a lot of the players because there tends to be movement on this day, but you watch the ticker and stuff like that, but more importantly is the L.A. Kings tonight.”

The Lightning will face the trade deadline at 3 p.m. today just ahead of its matchup against the Kings, a team that took a 6-1 loss at Florida just two days ago.

The trade deadline doesn’t distract from the fact there is still a game that has to be played and in this part of the season, every point counts.

“This league is too good to have any nights off,” Steven Stamkos said. “It doesn’t matter where you are in the standings. We’ll be ready.”

Contact Mari Faiello at mfaiello@tampabay.com. Follow @faiello_mari.