Kukla's Korner

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Turnaround in Tampa Starts at the Top

Before a single tweak to the roster, the Tampa Bay Lightning were already poised for improvement in 2010-11. With the tumultuous era of previous ownership already behind them when the sale of the team to Jeff Vinik was completed late last season, gone in an instant were any and all off-ice concerns and the circus went back to being an annual visitor to the St. Pete Times Forum rather than a permanent resident. With the appointment of Steve Yzerman as general manager, credibility returned to the franchise and new head coach Guy Boucher was widely regarded as the hottest commodity on the off-season coaching market.

Without a solitary player move, hockey life in Tampa was good again.

But far be it from Yzerman to rest on the comfort that fans surely feel by him simply not being one of those other guys. The addition of former Flyers forward Simon Gagne headlines a list of shrewd off-season maneuvers for the rookie GM and the revamped roster could very well translate to the sort of on-ice success that will make Lightning followers quickly forgot about three non-playoff seasons gone by.

 

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Cooper’s Track Record, Balanced Approach Bodes Well for AHL Admirals

In a summer that has been, at the very least, stabilizing (if not downright successful) for the Tampa Bay Lightning, the vast majority of those taking notice of the work done throughout the organization have come away impressed – including the club’s latest addition, Jon Cooper, announced yesterday as head coach of the AHL’s Norfolk Admirals.

“The whole thing that drew me to (the club),” Cooper said, “Was the (positive) attitude and the people they’ve brought in.”

Now, included in that very group, Cooper is well aware of some fortunate timing for the two sides to come together.

“I wanted to go the AHL at some point,” explained Cooper, who leaves his post as head coach and general manager of the United States Hockey League’s Green Bay Gamblers. “I just probably didn’t think it was going to be right this second.”

But now that making that jump is indeed a reality for Cooper, his excitement and enthusiasm cannot be tempered and he gives his new bosses credit for finding him in their search.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, Non-NHL Hockey, Minor League, | KK Hockey | Permalink
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