Tampa Bay Lightning coach John Cooper laughs when asked if he sees the impact of the Lightning that coach Derek Lalonde has brought to today’s Detroit Red Wings.
“(Lalonde) would be upset if I called him ‘Baby Bulls,'” Cooper told Detroit Hockey Now. “But he brought a lot of our influence to Detroit. Now having said that, Derek had a lot to do with that influence. It just wasn’t a John Cooper thing. It was Derek Lalonde, Jeff Halpern, Rob Zettler, it was the whole crew.”
Seeing the Red Wings play Tampa Bay systems makes perfect sense for Cooper, considering the Lightning won back-to-back Stanley Cups. They came close to third.
“We’ve had a lot of success with that,” Cooper said. “To me, he would be neglected if he didn’t bring something.”
We hear from coach Derek Lalonde after his Red Wings take care of the Lightning again Wednesday, 7-4. LGRW: pic.twitter.com/Yq0vWPDfLa
— Bally Sports Detroit (@BallySportsDET) December 22, 2022
But it’s not an exact copy.
“There are changes, you can tell,” Cooper said. “There’s a little Bob Bowner influence and Alex Tanguay in there. They took a project and made it their own way, and we made it our way. But I would say that their strong base is very familiar to us.”
Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin said recently that the Red Wings saw a lot of Lightning video in training camp. Not so much anymore, as the Red Wings mostly watch their own game.
“It always is,” Cooper said, laughing again. “…he’s not bringing his Iowa Wild video.”
Cooper clearly respects Lalonde. “Derek was a really important part of us winning two Stanley Cups and going to the third final,” LaLonde said. “He deserves a chance. But there is a formula there, and he rolls with it.”
One of Detroit’s biggest accomplishments this season is that they beat the Lightning twice.
“He’s a great communicator,” Cooper said. “The players will know where they stand. He won’t pull any punches on guys. He’s not going to play mind games. He’s not going to do any of those things… He’s going to make guys feel comfortable and also hold them accountable. Communication is a big thing.”
Lalonde-Cooper friendship will continue. When the Lightning were in Detroit, Cooper said LaLonde teased him because he still hadn’t found time to chat.
“The question is, will I go to his office or will he come to my mind,” Cooper said. “We always spend a few minutes together.”
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