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Lightning Round: Jon Cooper finishes tenth in Jack Adams voting

Another year goes by and Coach Cooper is not considered the best coach in the league

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Florida Panthers v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Four Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images

We knew weeks ago that Jon Cooper wasn’t going to win the Jack Adams Trophy, the award handed out annually to the “best” coach in the NHL. He wasn’t named as one of the three finalists so it’s not like it was a shock yesterday when Darryl Sutter was revealed as the winner based on votes by members of the NHL Broadcasters Association.

What we did learn on Thursday is that Coach Cooper finished 10th in voting with 12 points (1 first place vote, 1 second place vote, 4 third place votes).

Cool.

Look. I get it. This award usually goes to the coach that overachieves the most based on preseason expectations. Still, it’s now nine years and counting that the longest tenured coach in the league (and two-time defending champion) hasn’t won this award (he has been a finalist twice: 2013-14 and 2018-19). That just seems wrong. Maybe at some point they’ll just hand him a lifetime award for coaching.

It seems that the fact that he has a couple of future hall of famers on his team hurts him in the voters eyes. There is so much talent on the team that it’s expected that he wins and so when he keeps racking up over 65% of the available points year in and year out, well, that’s just what the Lightning are supposed to do.

Go ahead and forget that other teams with similar amounts of talent fail to reach those levels of success. While you’re forgetting that, forget that he had to restructure his entire team after losing his best defensive line and one of most relied on forwards (Tyler Johnson). Might as well forget that he also didn’t have Brayden Point or Nikita Kucherov for large portions of the season. Pay no attention to the fact that his blue line was so demolished at one point that Sean Day and Darren Raddysh were getting minutes in NHL games. All that and the Lightning still posted 110 points (the third highest total during his tenure) in a highly competitive Atlantic Division.

Coaching successful players in this league takes its own special talent. He has to keep them motivated over a long season despite the fact that they’ve climbed the mountain twice in a row. That’s not easy. Keeping egos in check is not easy. Balancing criticism and encouragement with both young players and veterans is not easy. God knows that if the Lightning had missed the playoffs there would have been plenty of blame thrown Coach Cooper’s way, so why shouldn’t he get the equal amount of credit when they do succeed?

In the end there is only one trophy that Coach Cooper cares about seeing on his mantle at the end of the day - the Stanley Cup. Still, throw the guy a bone and maybe two or three more first place votes.

Lightning / NHL News

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Last Night’s Game

Colorado Avalanche 2, Edmonton Oilers 0

Colorado leads series 2:0

Who had Pavel Francouz posting the first shutout in the Conference Finals? No one, that’s who. The Av’s back-up stopped 24 shots to put his team up 2-0 in the series. Nazem Kadri posted three assists while Artturi Lehkonen, Josh Manson, Mikko Rantanen, and Nathan MacKinnon provided the goals. The series shifts to Edmonton for the next two.