(Tampa) In early March at Buffalo, Jon Cooper did what few coaches in this league dare to do: he left star players on the bench.
It happened in a 5-3 loss to the Sabers, in which Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov all spent the third period dry on the bench.
The following day, the Lightning suffered a 6-0 rout in Carolina, and it was believed to see the start of a mutiny, but since then the club has won four out of six games, in addition to remaining in the top in the standings, and in third place in his division.
But what exactly happened that night in Buffalo?
“We’re used to doing things a certain way here, and the expectations are not the same for all players,” the Lightning coach said Saturday morning in Tampa. But we can’t lower our standards either, whether it’s a guy playing 8 minutes a game, or a guy playing 25 minutes a game.
“So because we’ve been together for so long, the players know that. We are talking about it. But no one here is bigger than the club, and I include myself in that. »
That storm is now a thing of the past according to the Lightning coach, and that’s probably true. The Lightning just beat the New Jersey Devils twice in a row.
“Before we talked about it here this morning, I don’t think any of us had spoken again about what happened in Buffalo,” added Jon Cooper. I loved how the guys responded. The game the next day in Carolina was a tough game, the second in 24 hours, we were tired, and I don’t mind what happened that night. But since then, I’ve been very happy with the way our big players have responded. We wouldn’t be here without them…”