Lightning coach Cooper has multiyear extension

NHL

The Tampa Bay Lightning signed coach Jon Cooper to a multiyear extension, the club announced on Tuesday.

Cooper’s contract was due to expire at the end of this season. It is unclear how long the extension runs.

Cooper, 51, originally was named Tampa Bay’s coach in 2013 and is currently the NHL’s longest-tenured coach. He is the franchise’s all-time leader for wins with 301.

The Lightning clinched the Presidents’ Trophy for the league’s best record earlier this month — before any other Eastern Conference team even secured a playoff spot. Tampa Bay secured the Presidents’ Trophy in 73 games; only the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings reached that feat faster over the last three decades.

Tampa Bay currently has a goal differential of plus-100, which would mark the NHL’s highest since the 2005-06 Ottawa Senators finished at plus-103.

“His ability to forge impactful relationships with everyone from players to staff has been a trademark of his tenure with the organization and he is the absolute best coach for our hockey team,” general manager Julien BriseBois said in a statement. “Coop’s ability to develop a strong culture while continually adapting has been a big part of the team’s success. He has helped set high standards for our organization with his unrelenting drive for excellence.”

Since Cooper’s first full season in 2013-14, no other team has more wins (297) or standings points (635) than Tampa Bay. Since the 2014 postseason, the Lightning have played in the second-most playoff games in the NHL, trailing only the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Lightning have made it to at least the Eastern Conference finals in three of the last four seasons. They were knocked out in last season’s conference final by the eventual Stanley Cup-winning Washington Capitals. The Lightning lost in the Stanley Cup Final to Chicago in 2015.

Tampa Bay enters the postseason as the favorite to win the Stanley Cup; it would be the franchise’s first since 2004.

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