DENVER — Jon Cooper came down smartly from his rostrum on Thursday.
Not only have the emotions of a tough overtime loss with a blown lead cooled, but the former lawyer is savvy enough to know there’s no point in insisting on “an unfortunate no-call,” as he put it. said, before his team’s most important match. the season.
The Tampa Bay Lightning coach’s postgame presser had achieved his goal.
He exhaled without explicitly tearing up the umpires or the league that governs them. He drew attention to one hell of a poetic moment from Nazem Kadri’s playoffs. And he got reporters and analysts calling sources, rewinding multiple angles and squinting at stills instead of breaking down what was a dominant fourth period by best side in the Stanley Cup Finals. 2022.
Did winning striker Kadri jump to the gun and leap onto the ice long before his man, Nathan MacKinnon, reached the required five feet? Yeah.
Did the four officials on the ice miss it or let it pass, like so many infractions in that same game? Yeah.
Cooper – whose club gets crushed on special teams – does he really want the rules spelled out every night? Hmmm…
Do fans want video reviews for line changes and frostings and, heck, why not stick to faceoff etiquette while we’re at it? A billion times no.
“The reason there is a rule is if you gain a significant advantage, and that’s probably what happened there. But it happens, like, all the time in line changes. It is an inexact science. But the purpose of the rule is not to gain an advantage. So, that’s too bad,” Cooper told reporters at the Tampa airport, before heading west.
Neither Cooper, nor local fans, nor the two networks broadcasting the game detected the oversight in real time.
Avalanche coach Jared Bednar doesn’t have time for these reindeer games.
Hockey, Bednar reminds us, is a fluid game of good and bad rebounds, best played in rhythm.
No one seriously wants Pandora’s box line change. Not even Cooper.
“Tampa has two guys jumping on it with their Ds coming off the ice from a wide area. I count 7-6 at one point. So that’s what it is. This is how the game is played. I don’t see it as a pause or a non-pause. In fact, I see it as nothing,” Bednar said.
“I thought they called it good. I’m sure every coach can go through this and say, ‘That’s a penalty, that’s a penalty.’ But that’s how it goes. They let us play. CO [Logan O’Connor] breaks in on its own [Victor] Hedman in overtime and he gets a stick in his hands.
“It is what it is, man. You have to fight through this. This is playoff hockey. Stanley Cup Finals. As players, you are expected to battle through a number of things, as this is the most competitive time of the year. Referees aren’t going to call the tricky stuff that puts the teams down and gives the other team an advantage. They’re going to let the players settle the game. That’s how it should be.”
Tampa players aren’t making excuses either. What’s the point?
“It probably happens more often than we realize,” said Ryan McDonagh, who has appeared in more playoff games than any active NHL player. “Obviously, it’s accentuated there with the result and the outcome.
“And you ask the players, we are looking for every inch to get an advantage and try to jump into the game when you know your change is coming. It is impossible to say what the right decision is. It’s so fast.
So fast, it was only after the coach came off the ice that he was shown the duration of Kadri’s false start on video and warmed up.
“I apologize for last night because that’s what you get when you have to speak to the media right away,” Cooper said.
“What’s great today is that it’s not yesterday. And now I have a bit of excitement for Game 5, and that’s where my mind goes, on how to win this. Not [anything] we can do to go back. They missed it. It’s unfortunate, but it’s water under the bridge now. Let’s get ready. It should be one hell of a Game 5.”
Indeed, it will. Provided an injury-ravaged Tampa team can execute their identity like they did in Game 3 and the first half of Game 4.
“Did they get the better of us in overtime? There is no doubt that they did. But it’s a game of breaks, and often you make them and sometimes you get them. And Colorado is up 3-1 in this series because they’ve made a lot of breaks,” Cooper conceded.
“Listen, he’s the king to get them. Like, I’ve had them on teams that I’ve had when we’ve won or had leads in games or won championships – you get them. But what happens revolves around. Eventually we’ll do ours, and we’ll have ours and stuff like that. But that’s just the way the game is, and you can’t pout about it.
Stamkos tries to turn the tide
Steven Stamkos is a smart man.
Even though all the pressure is on the Lightning – suddenly faced with three (if they’re lucky) must-see consecutive games, two in the toughest barns on the road – the captain tried to shift some of that worried expectation towards the Avalanche.
“We know what it’s like to be in their shoes, to have a chance to win at home. Not an easy thing to do. Pretty nerve-wracking day,” Stamkos said.
“For us, we are going there, with our backs to the wall, we have done it more in these playoffs, and we will have to do it again. We can’t sit here and feel sorry for ourselves. It’s a tough game. Guys are sacrificing a lot right now in terms of bodies. It stings right now, but we gotta go and win a hockey game and bring it back [to Tampa].”
Timers: Cooper had no updates on the health of defender Erik Cernak, who did not complete Game 4; Anthony Cirelli, who left the game with an injury but returned; or Brayden Point (day to day with a lower body injury)…. Tell us how you really feel, Pat Maroon: “We gotta go win a f—— game right now. Sorry for my French. … Tampa’s power play, so dangerous in its Cup runs, was literally a non-factor for four games. At 5 on 4, the Lightning scored a goal and gave up a goal. “I thought we looked decent,” Stamkos said. “Just not really up to speed at the moment, so we’ll have to make some adjustments.”