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Lightning’s Jon Cooper one of quickest coaches to 100 postseason games

Only seven other coaches have reached the milestone within their first nine seasons.
Lightning coach Jon Cooper has been with the Lightning nine seasons, and he just reached 100 postseason games with the team.
Lightning coach Jon Cooper has been with the Lightning nine seasons, and he just reached 100 postseason games with the team. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published May 31, 2021|Updated May 31, 2021

RALEIGH, N.C. — Sunday’s second-round series opener marked Lightning coach Jon Cooper’s 100th career playoff game, putting him in an elite club of Stanley Cup-winning coaches. 

Cooper reached the mark in his ninth season as Tampa Bay head coach. Only seven other coaches — Mike Babcock, Pat Burns, Glen Sather, Mike Keenan, Fred Shero, Ken Hitchcock and Scotty Bowman — have reached that milestone in the same timeframe, according to NHL Stats.

All of those coaches — Cooper included — have won Cups, and they have 20 championships between them. Cooper’s postseason record is 59-41.

Much has been made of the Lightning players’ postseason experience. Cooper said he’s gained valuable experience along the way as well.

“I can remember back to my first series in the NHL against Montreal, and probably the biggest thing is controlling your emotions,” Cooper said. “I just remember the emotional roller-coasters I went through early in the playoffs in my tenure as opposed to now and don’t excuse that for not being as passionate. But it’s about the process, and understanding that, ‘Gosh, would you love every series to be a sweep.’ 

“But for the most part they’re probably not going to be like that and it’s okay to lose a game in a series. You just don’t want to lose the series. I think over the years I’ve learned how to deal with that a little bit better than maybe when I was a little more wet behind the ears.”

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