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NHL EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS: LIGHTNING v RANGERS


May 15, 2015


Jon Cooper


NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: Practice Day

Q.テつ Could you just give us an update on Ryan Callahan and what his status for tomorrow might be?
COACH COOPER:テつ Do you want to tweet this live as I say it because I'll give you that chance right now.テつ He's day‑to‑day:テつ It's going to be a pain tolerance thing.テつ We're not going to put him in a situation where he can get hurt worse, but we've been told everything went well.テつ It's definitely sore, but with every day it's getting better.テつ So ultimately it's going to come down to Ryan Callahan and how much pain he's in.
But he said he was feeling pretty good out there today, so we'll see how it is tomorrow.

Q.テつ Jon, will he give you the indication of the green light for him to go or are you going to leave it all up to the trainers?
COACH COOPER:テつ Well, it's a group decision from everybody.テつ But our biggest thing is can he do further damage to himself, and the answer there is no.テつ So now it becomes a pain tolerance thing, and those things are painful.テつ Anybody that's ever had one.テつ But he's a pretty tough kid, so I would suspect he'll come back probably quicker than most.

Q.テつ I was talking about what was going on in the playoffs and we were talking about defensemen, and Stralman came up.テつ He made the point that he's always an effective defenseman in the postseason.テつ Do you buy that, and why is that?
COACH COOPER:テつ About Stralman?

Q.テつ Yeah?
COACH COOPER:テつ I think if you put A.V. up here beside me, we could probably say the exact same things about what he brings to the team.テつ The media that's been around me much of the year, I've used this line about Anton, he may not win the Norris Trophy, but his partner will.テつ That's how good he can make you look.テつ People should just watch him.テつ He's always on the right side of the puck.テつ He uses his body in such a way that he doesn't have to play a big heavy game, but he can play it because his body position is literally perfect every time he's around the puck.
He's also got nerves of steel.テつ So when he does have the puck and everything's going so fast around him, for him, everything slows down for him.テつ It's funny because you think about players and they go into the corner to get a puck.テつ And you think is he going to come out with this?テつ But every time Stralman goes into the corner to get one, I'm confident that he's going to come out with it.テつ It's such a calming presence for everybody when he's on the ice out there.
Even when you look at Stammer's goal, not too many guys will pull a puck, pump fake it, walk around you and still have the wherewithal to get the puck to the net and ultimately score.テつ He's done that twice in the Detroit series, as well.テつ Under a high‑pressure situation, the goal ultimately got called back.
But to me, if you lined all the defensemen up in the league, you'd be hard pressed not to pull him in if you got to big five.テつ I'd be hard pressed not to take on Anton Stralman.

Q.テつ (Indiscernible) you've gone 11‑7 and had success on the road.テつ In this particular match‑up with the Rangers, is that something you'll use for tomorrow?
COACH COOPER:テつ Never say never.テつ We might use it tomorrow, we might not.テつ I think the funny thing about Game 1s, they're almost a feeling out period.テつ We haven't played these guys since mid December, early December.テつ So we can watch all the video we want and watch them on TV and watched Game 7 the other night.テつ But until you're really in the trenches, you don't have quite the vibe you want.テつ So not sure which way we're going to go and our match‑up.
I mean, I have an idea of how it's going to work, but usually you have to switch it up.テつ But we'll have to see.テつ I'm sure both teams will feel each other out in game one and your match‑ups will usually come together literally after one period.

Q. テつYou mentioned you haven't played them in forever.テつ How much difference is the team from the one you saw so long ago?
COACH COOPER:テつ I thought I read somewhere that since they played us, they went on a small 42‑12 run.テつ So I'm not sure when we played them that we saw their best.テつ I know we played extremely well when we played them.
The last game here, I know we won that game, but the Rangers are probably looking at that game saying they deserved a better fate.テつ Everything we shot was going in the net.テつ But I think you look at them, and I'm not saying we see ourselves, but probably if you're going to look at some of the quicker and faster teams in the league, you'd have to say Tampa and the Rangers are both up there.テつ Both teams like to push the pace.テつ We played a team that was similar in that nature.
So hopefully we can play that way again against the Rangers.テつ But I don't think we saw the Rangers' best when we played them.テつ It seems that playing deep into the spring is something the Rangers are getting used to and playing their best hockey, especially when they come back against a 3‑1 deficit against a really good Washington team.テつ So this is going to be a tough series.

Q.テつ Do you think that Bishop in these playoffs, it seems like every time he goes up against another goalie, the other goalie is the one getting all the pub and he's doing all the work.
COACH COOPER:テつ Yeah, but he seems to be the goalie that keeps playing, and that's the one you want is the guy that's going to keep playing.テつ I think, first of all, Bishop hasn't been around long enough to probably get the credit he deserves.テつ You look at Carey Price, look at his resume speaks for itself.テつ You look at Henrik Lundqvist, his resume speaks for itself.
Bishop's resume is being written in this year's playoffs.テつ So for him to "not get his due", I think he's slowly going to get his due, and he's writing it right before our eyes; and it's awesome to watch a kid kind of carve out his niche in the greatest league in the world, and I think that's what he's doing.

Q.テつ Talk about Stralman and Callahan.テつ What has Brian Boyle done for you?テつ Has he developed a reputation here as a guy who shows up pretty well this time of year?テつ Has that been the case for you so far?
COACH COOPER:テつ I think it's no coincidence that you look at the games played in the playoffs for Boyle, Stralman, Callahan over the last few years, it speaks volumes to what these guys bring at this time of the year.テつ I know that when we went into the free agent period last year, we were looking for those type of guys, like winners and guys that know how to get it done when it matters the most.テつ We knocked it out of the park getting these guys.
People sit here and say well, Brian Boyle is a third or fourth liner.テつ Well, I never looked at it that way.テつ I would say he's one of the 11 or 12 forwards that we dress every single night and that helps us win games.テつ You'll see when we need a big penalty killed off or a big face‑off, we were holding on to the lead at the end of the game while all those guys were out on the ice, and there is a reason.テつ Because they know how to win.テつ That's what I truly believe is the big reason we're here now.

Q.テつ Can you speak to your power play and what worked so well against what was maybe not there against Detroit?
COACH COOPER:テつ Well, this is what I'll say about power play:テつ Special teams, they're a funny beast.テつ Because your power play can be zipping it around and doing well, and it just doesn't go in the net for you.テつ All of a sudden you've had seven power plays.テつ Four of them were abbreviated because of penalties taken.テつ All of a sudden you're getting a 20‑second power play, and you look in the box score, you're 0 for 7, and everybody's saying what's wrong with your power play?テつ I don't believe a power play has to get score every single time.テつ I believe a power play can carry momentum for you.
I look at the Montreal series, for example.テつ We didn't get any power plays that game.テつ Montreal got three.テつ Didn't score on any of them, but they were momentum builders for them.テつ And every time we had something going in the power play, and, as I said, didn't score, but our momentum got sucked out of us, and they ultimately won that game without a power‑play goal.
So you say their power play was bad?テつ Well, I thought their power play helped them win because it pulled momentum away from us.テつ Ultimately it's about scoring.テつ 20% power play is a pretty good power play.テつ That's scoring one out of every five.テつ Well, when you say it that way, it's like, well, how does that work?
So, with Detroit, I thought our power play was much better than the results were, and against Montreal I think the results were much better than our power play was, if that makes any sense.テつ And we're right around 20% right now which is not a bad place to be.テつ If we can go 1 for 4, 1 for 5 every game, I'm happy with that.
But the key is keeping momentum, and not letting the team get any life.テつ Sucking the momentum from them with your power play.テつ Even though it may not score, your bench gets a little taller when they're getting chances, and we build off that.
So I just long‑winded your answer about the power play.テつ But I think our power play helped us in the Montreal series.テつ We got through the Detroit series without it.テつ I know in this series we're going to need it.テつ But if I look at big picture, it's done a lot of good things for us and I'm happy with where we're at.

Q.テつ With Callahan, St. Louis, and the addition of some of the Rangers, is it adding more intrigue maybe not from your point of view but the story lines get a little better when you have that kind of stuff going on?
COACH COOPER:テつ It is a little bit of made for TV.テつ How often do two captains get traded for each other?テつ Guys that have been big parts of a team and move on to free agency.テつ In part, not because they didn't want to be here, but in the salary cap era, this is what happens.
Bones is going to kill me for this one, but nobody is even talking about A.V. and Bones have been together for seven years in Vancouver and now they're going against each other.テつ He's really going to be mad that I just said that.テつ But it's great.テつ It's great for the game.テつ I think it's just going to add that much more intrigue.テつ You'll see both teams digging their heels in on this one.

Q.テつ So much is made of the Rangers experience.テつ You've had some experience but a pretty young team.テつ How do you sense that they're dealing with being in this round, this Final Four as a young team?テつ What would you tell them in the hours leading up to your first Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals?
COACH COOPER:テつ Much like Bishop is writing his own history, I think our team is writing its own history.テつ We are gaining experience with every game we play.テつ A lot of these things we haven't dealt with before.テつ All we've known is how to get swept.テつ For us to go through the Detroit series and with so many things, to lose Game 1 when we played so well and think are our guys going to say here we go again, or are we going to fight to win a series?テつ To be down every single game in that series, we never led in that series until the final whistle went.テつ To be back against the wall in Game 6, and then back against the wall in Game 7 and come through.テつ To go to a Montreal team that had taken us out the series before, to be up 3‑0, and then give up two and have to come back home, backs against the wall a little bit for us, and then to come through.テつ We're writing our own history right now, and it's a lot of fun to be a part of this.
But you have to be a part of it before you can experience it, and we're going through this now.テつ Every single time this team has passed the test, and I don't see that changing.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports


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