The Best Stories Jon Cooper Shared on The RoenickLife Podcast

Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

As the visiting team, Jon Cooper would be one of the first ones to depart the Lightning team bus at the rink. He’d fake going on his cellphone while waiting for his players to get off one by one and make their way inside. Cooper would eventually follow them — because he had no idea where the locker rooms were. This was Cooper’s first year as an NHL head coach, so excuse him if he didn’t want to make it obvious that he had no idea where to go.

This story is one of the gems Cooper shared on The RoenickLife Podcast this week. To listen to Cooper’s full interview with hosts Jeremy Roenick and Billy Jaffe, go here.

Cooper likes to pick the brains of players with a Cup ring… including Brad Marchand.

When the Lightning play a team that’s won the Stanley Cup, Cooper likes to talk to one of the players. He mentioned Marchand, who discussed some of the Bruins' struggles after winning the Cup in 2011. So, Cooper likes to seek out as much information as possible and gather lots of opinion so he becomes a more informed coach? Hmm, wonder where that comes from?

Cooper wants to be informed because he needs to know how to manage expectations. The Lightning came into the 2015-2016 season with obvious high expectations and they started the season pretty flat. Cooper said he distinctly remembers Game 10 this year because afterward, he went to his coaching staff and told them it felt like Game 78. The team didn’t have an identity and just wanted to get to the postseason. It wasn’t until guys started getting hurt that the team started to dig in and find that identity.

Cooper properly credits Roenick for Vince Vaughn introduction.

During the finals last year, there was a lot of buzz surrounding Cooper getting his dinners paid for at a Chicago steakhouse by the likes of Charles Barkley and Vince Vaughn. Well, what none of the Vince Vaughn stories pointed out is the role that Roenick had in it. Roenick’s the one who introduced everyone, yet all the focus was on the coach and the actor. According to Cooper, he wanted to talk about Vaughn’s career, Vaughn wanted to talk about Cooper’s career, but neither wanted to talk about themselves.

The bromance between Cooper and Barkley is real.

There was that aforementioned dinner. There was a shoutout on TNT. There was cheering at Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Cooper and Barkley’s friendship has been well-documented, but how did the two first meet? It happened two years ago, when the team was in Los Angeles. Cooper was with his father and brother one night, and they went to the hotel bar for what they thought was last call (the team was off the next day, of course), and there was only a handful of people there, and one of those people was Barkley. There were some introductions, and the rest is history.

The friendship continues to this day. Cooper said when the Lightning made the playoffs this season, he got a text from Sir Charles. When Cooper's contract was extended in December, Barkley was one of the first people to congratulate him. Are we officially now on Barkley Watch in Tampa?

There are more fun stories in the podcast, like about Cooper playing whiffle ball, dressing better in the NHL and why Rick Bowness is awesome.

This post was written by a member of the Raw Charge community and does not necessarily represent or express the views or opinions of Raw Charge staff.