Jon Cooper Explains Benching His Top Three Players in the Third Period

Published March 4, 2023 at 4:15 PM

Jon Cooper has gone to three straight cup finals as head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Today, however, he made a confusing choice.

Cooper Benches Top Players

Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point, and Steven Stamkos are three of the best players in the league. They are a big part of the reason that the Lightning have had such incredible success in the past few seasons.

Today, however, head coach Jon Cooper made the surprising decision to bench the three players that make the Lightning so scary in the third period.

After the game, he made these comments:

Well, as coaches, you've got to put your team in the best position to win and 99.9% of the time, those guys give us the best chance to win when they're on the ice.

It just felt, in third period, they weren't giving us the best chance to win. This team has been unbelievable for a decade. You take the three Finals. Well, there's a reason a lot of that's happened. We have a set of standards here that everybody adheres to, and it's not pick and choose.

It's everybody. It's how it was for today. Like I said, those guys are an extremely important part of our team, but for 20 minutes tonight, I thought the other guys could get it done and you know what? They almost did.

We've got a lot of pride in this room and in our organization. It's not a situation where you're upset with guys or you feel differently about guys. You've got to come here and go to work. It's the best league in the world with the best players in the world.

If you're not on it and you're not giving it to the standard that this franchise has set the bar for, for me, the league in the last how many years? You can't go out there. Like I said, those guys are the reason we have a standard that high. It's because of those guys. Just for a period tonight, that was it.

Wow. Are the tides turning in Tampa Bay?

We'll just have to wait and see.
March 4   |   453 answers
Jon Cooper Explains Benching His Top Three Players in the Third Period

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