Boucher was considered to be a strategic genius when he led the Lightning to the conference finals the first year he was with them. Last year he was not able to repeat that accomplishment and this year has proved to be just as discouraging.
"Watching the entire situation after [the game Saturday]," Yzerman said, "it just felt that this needs to be addressed immediately…I noticed a difference in our play and a difference in the attitude. Just in observation of the players, it felt like the situation was worsening, and quickly worsening, and something needed to be done immediately."
With 17 games left in the season, Cooper will coach his first game on Friday night against the New Jersey Devils. Dan Lacroix and Steve Thomas will remain behind the bench for tonight’s game against the Buffalo Sabres. Lacroix and Thomas will carry forward as Cooper’s assistants. Assistant Rob Zettler will take over the position of head coach for Syracuse with Martin Raymond as his assistant.
So who the heck is Jon Cooper?
Cooper spent the last three seasons behind the bench of the Norfolk Admirals, Tampa Bay’s minor league affiliate and this season with the Syracuse Crunch. During the 2011-12 season, he guided the Admirals to the AHL Championships, winning the Calder Cup. He was then named coach of the year. During the Admirals regular season, they won 28 straight games, setting a league record.
Born Aug. 23, 1967, Cooper has a law degree and is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Canada — a native of Prince George, British Columbia. He and his wife, Jessie, have twin daughters, Julia and Josephine, and a son, Jonathan.
At the start of the 2012-13 season, Cooper became the head coach of the Syracuse Crunch. Accepting his current promotion to the NHL, he left the team after 65 games with a record of 39-18-3-5 — currently the best in the AHL.
Before joining the Admirals, he coached the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League (USHL). During his two years he led the team to two Anderson Cups. Preceding the Gamblers, Cooper spent five seasons as the general manager and head coach of the St. Louis Bandits of the North American Hockey League (NAHL). During this time he was named coach of the year twice and also led the Bandits to the Robertson Cup Championships in 2007 and 0'8.
Cooper has led 18 different players to the NHL, set franchise records, was a winner of the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award, has been named coach of the year multiple times, and even has his law degree. He embarks already familiar with a good number of players on the Lightning’s roster, and I can’t wait to see where he takes the Lightning from here.
"Success just seems to follow Cooper around," wrote the Edmonton Journal. OilersNation.com writer Jonathan Wilson praised him as "the most interesting man in hockey", riffing on the Dos Equis ad.
And with that ... Go Bolts!