TAMPA - The Tampa Bay Lightning hired AHL Syracuse head coach Jon Cooper on Monday night to replace Guy Boucher.
Cooper is familiar with a good number of players on this roster – essential for selling a novice to the veterans that just jettisoned Boucher.
Lightning GM Steve Yzerman was quoted earlier as saying," "We're working through the process as quickly as possible and will be ready to announce our new head coach at the earliest time I can. The Tampa Bay Lightning is not saying anything right now."
But Cooper is the guy.
Cooper has guided the Crunch to the AHL points lead this season, continuing to collect points even as call-ups ravaged the Crunch's lineup.
Last season, he was named the AHL's coach of the year for guiding Norfolk to the Calder Cup. During the regular season, the Admirals won a league-record 28 straight games.
Cooper inspired fierce loyalty among his players because of his sharp wit, hands-on personality and track record of developing players.
Several Crunch prospects recalled to Tampa Bay this season have made immediate contributions to the parent club.
Cooper takes a collegial approach to team bonding through various group activities.
He encouraged the players to form a bowling league this season.
He also took the Crunch to Lake Placid for a few days of practice mixed with some snow-tubing.
Now we find out if Cooper can perform a miracle and turn this Lighning team into a playoff team in short order.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Top Sports Headlines
Martin St. Louis scored two goals, Ben Bishop won his 15th game this season, and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Ottawa Senators 3-1 on Thursday night.