I can already feel this twitter post getting ratioed. But, it’s true. Jon Cooper is and will continue to be Tampa Bay’s Achilles heel. From a coaching standpoint, probably not a great look.

Those who don’t learn from the past…

We all remember how stacked the Bolts were last year, yeah? Loaded top to bottom. After dismantling New Jersey and Boston, they looked unstoppable in the playoffs. Then, Washington came knocking. Two games down and the Capitals looked like a team possessed. Finally out of the second round, ready to prove everyone wrong. Alas, as soon as Ovi started to smile, Tampa turned it on. Winners of three straight, all they had to do was not screw it up.

As game six began, it was obvious Jon Cooper had one plan, use a grind line against Ovechkin, Kuznetsov, and Wilson. I mean, wouldn’t you? Ryan Callahan and his merry band of fourth liners, against one of the best offensive players we’ve ever seen. Throughout game six, it was evident Cooper wasn’t about to give in. He kept the Callahan line out there, and the Capitals forced game seven. I’ll spare you the details, but Cooper did it again. And the Capitals went on to eventually win the Stanley Cup.


Are doomed to repeat it

I sincerely doubt Cooper has turned a corner this year as far as strategic adjustment and game planning. I mean, how could he? This team just clicks. Just last night they basically just decided to turn it on at one point in the second period. As Washington stormed back to force overtime, you could see the incompetent look on Cooper’s face. Presumably, his pre-overtime speech was “score first” and wouldn’t ya know it, they did.

That’s not how playoff hockey works, Tampa has learned that over and over again. They have more than enough talent to make up a three-goal deficit, they’ve potted six or more in over half their games this season. With a solid young goaltender in Vasilevskiy, the talent on this team alone is staring down a dynasty. The only barrier is the man behind the bench.

Jon Cooper must… go

He’s a Jack Adams trophy candidate, been to a cup, and won a presidents trophy. How can he be on the chopping block? It’s easy math, really. Unless you’re in Nashville, presidents trophies and division titles don’t mean anything if your team is good enough to win. Not only that, but they have the entire hockey community picking them to win, you better win.


You won’t catch me rooting for Tampa, but I’m well aware of the expectations. It’s fun to watch a team run through the league at a historic pace. That being said, it’s also so much more enjoyable to watch David topple Goliath in the playoffs. The high pace, tic-tac-toe passing, high volume scoring won’t translate past the first round for Tampa. I’m not predicting an early exit, but even a cup loss should get Jon Cooper fired.

What do you think? Let me know on twitter – @Gehrholz_K and make sure you go check out the rest of our awesome hockey content here on the site.

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The self-proclaimed better half of the Belly Up NHL DreamTeam. Whether it's tape to tape or pen to paper, I pride myself on bringing the readers and listeners the very best NHL coverage. Twitter - @HostedByKJ and @puckpuckpasspod - ALSO now on Twitch: BellyUpGamin

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