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Lightning Round: Coach Jon Cooper hits the 800 game mark in the NHL

Jul 7, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper hoists the Stanley Cup after the Lightning defeated the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 in game five to win the 2021 Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday, Jon Cooper reached a personal milestone as he coached in his 800th NHL game. The league’s longest tenured head coach stepped behind the bench for the first time on March 24th, 2013, a 3-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets. He’s still behind the bench after 481 wins, 252 losses, 67 overtime losses, 2 Stanley Cups, and 4 Eastern Conference titles. Not bad for a former lawyer.

He did have a chance to eclipse Stan Bowman’s record of 481 wins in 800 games, but the Lightning dropped their weekend series with Detroit and Ottawa (how weird would it have been if he had bested Bowman in Detroit, where the hall of fame coach had most of his later glory?). Still, it’s not bad to share a record with one of the best coaches in the history of the game.

Cooper is the 43rd head coach to be behind the bench for 800 regular season games and of the other 42 coaches, only Bowman has a higher points percentage (.657) than Cooper’s .644. It should also be pointed out that Cooper has spent his entire time coaching just one team, the Tampa Bay Lightning. Only hall-of-famer Toe Blake, who coached Montreal for all 914 games of his tenure, has more with one organization. With Cooper’s contract reportedly set through the 2024-25 season, he should eclipse that record some time next season.

Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman still remain from that first team that Coach Cooper put the suit on for (and Zach Bogosian was on the other side of the ice) so he’s seen quite a turnaround on the roster and in the fortunes of the team (the 2012-13 squad finished with an 18-46-4 record in the lockout shortened season. That remains the only team that has finished below .500 with him as coach (he was 4-8-3 after taking over for Guy Boucher).

Congrats to Coach Cooper on his first 800 games, here’s to 800 more with the Lightning.

Lightning / NHL News

Lightning lose second game in a row [Raw Charge]

The Bolts seemed to be missing a bit of a spark as they lost to Ottawa, 5-2, on Sunday night. Matt Tomkins played well in his NHL debut, but got little support in front of him as the Bolts failed to sustain much offense.

Steven Stamkos day-to-day [Raw Charge]

With Stamkos out with a lower-body injury, Alex Barre-Boulet and Austin Watson returned to the line-up. How long they will be playing is anybody’s guess at this point.

Lightning Audio Network announces new podcast line-up [Tampa Bay Lightning]

Martini Mondays with Uncle Phil and The Chief should be interesting.

Lightning’s Austin Watson finds success after anxiety, alcoholism struggles [Tampa Bay Times]

It’s been a long journey on and off the ice for one of the newest members of the Lightning.

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