Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 11/04/13 at 08:35 AM ET
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
For most of the first month of the NHL season, there has been pretty much nonstop praise for the Colorado Avalanche and general marveling at the depth of talent in the Western Conference. And with good reason. The West rocks.
The Eastern Conference? Well, after the Pittsburgh Penguins, it's pretty much a scrap heap of the broken-down, dysfunctional and just plain lousy. Or you might be excused if that's the impression you got having to watch Philadelphia, Buffalo, et al flail around on the east side of the continent.
But take a little closer look and, hey, it's the Tampa Bay Lightning sitting atop the Atlantic Division. How the heck did that happen?
Head coach Jon Cooper joked shortly before the Lightning's big home victory Saturday over a tough St. Louis Blues club that he was OK if another rookie head coach, named Patrick Roy, got more attention and people continued to ignore the Lightning right until next April.
"We're 100 percent perfectly fine being in the southeast part of the hockey world until they make the call for the 16 teams to play in the playoffs, and hopefully we're one of them," Cooper told ESPN.com.
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