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Stanley Cup Final

Jared Bednar Rebuts Jon Cooper ‘Too Many Men’ Charge



A lot – a lot – was made about the post-game dramatic mic drop of Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper following his team’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Cooper said he would “talk tomorrow” about his opaque insinuation that the Avalanche won the game because of a faulty non-call of too many men, in OT. While some in the Tampa media immediately latched on to Cooper’s sentiments as gospel, the rest of the hockey world dismissed it as sour grapes. And, rightly so.

Today, Cooper seemed to want it both ways. On the one hand, he said, he was just reacting emotionally after a tough loss at home in the Stanley Cup Final. On the other hand, he called it “unfortunate” that the NHL officiating crew “missed it” on his alleged too-many-men accusation.

Look, I think Jon Cooper is obviously a very good coach and, while I’ve never talked to him one-on-one, seems like a very good person. And, coaches are coaches. They “didn’t see it” if their team did it, and see it only too well if something bad happened to them. Cooper’s team got away with a blatant too-many-men missed call in beating the Islanders in a seven-game ECF series last year.

Here’s what Bednar said today, before leaving Tampa with the team:

Here’s Cooper today:

If Nazem Kadri doesn’t beat the Lightning 1-on-3 against the “best goalie in the world”, then there’s no issue. That kind of line change, as Bednar said, happens almost every other time. Tampa truly did have seven guys on the ice at the time too, with two guys still about to get on the bench when Kadri had the puck.

Cooper knows it. It’s too bad he didn’t acknowledge that today too. Or, I should say, it’s “unfortunate.”

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