TAMPA — As much as Lightning forward Blake Coleman wanted to focus solely on the team’s Stanley Cup semifinal against the Islanders Sunday night, he couldn’t help but worry about a personal matter away from the ice.
Coleman’s wife, Jordan, went into labor Sunday morning and was admitted into the hospital shortly after 7 a.m. With puck drop set for 3 p.m., Coleman was faced with a game-time decision.
He wanted to compete if he could, but Coleman knew he was taking a small risk. Updates throughout the game helped him keep tabs on Jordan.
Thankfully, Coleman made it to the hospital and about five hours after the game was over, the Colemans welcomed their second daughter, Carson Elizabeth.
“Thank goodness I made it on time,” he joked. “I’m not sure I would have heard the end of that one.”
Carson was born at 11:07 p.m., weighing 7 pounds, 5 ounces, Jordan announced on Instagram.
She is the second child the Colemans have welcomed midseason after having their first, Charlie, late last February. Even then, Coleman had a quick turnaround, coming to practice the next morning on three hours of sleep.
This go around he’s looking forward to a “big nap” before the 8 p.m. start tonight.
“We’re just incredibly happy that she’s here,” Coleman said. “I was happy that I could be there and be a part of it. Obviously a special moment for our family and we look forward to getting them home today.”
At one point, Coleman wasn’t sure if he’d make it back to his family in time. When Steven Stamkos sent a final one-timer late in the third period, the game’s end time was thrown into question.
“I definitely thought it was going to be one of those things where we were going to OT,” he said. “But it’s tough. Your mind’s in the game, obviously, but I certainly had some other things on my mind, wanting to make sure the baby’s healthy and you want to be part of making sure you’re there.”
It wasn’t something he hadn’t prepared for, though. The possibility was discussed with his family and on the bench.
“I would have preferred that that shot went in and we went to OT,” Coleman said. “Based on the timeline, I think I still would have sneaked out for the baby.”
The birth of the Colemans second child was a nice way to turn the page on a bad game.
For coach Jon Cooper, there was no question what came first. “It was family first, game second,” Cooper said. “Let’s plan around the family, then if you’ve got time, come play a hockey game with us.”
With Carson and Jordan expected to come home today, the Colemans are thankful to have “a few hands in town to help out” while he plays tonight’s second game against New York.
“I’m trying to put my focus and attention at the right places at the right times right now,” he said. “I’m excited to help this team hopefully go out and get a win. I’ve kind of turned the page on my focus there and tried to put it all toward this game tonight and ... hopefully I can find that dad energy that everyone’s talking about.”
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