Lightning hire Cooper as coach

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 25, 2013 at 9:49 pm •  Published: March 25, 2013

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Lightning hired Jon Cooper as their new coach on Monday.

Cooper had been coaching Syracuse of the AHL, Tampa Bay's top minor league affiliate. He is replacing Guy Boucher, who was fired Sunday after 2½ years with the team.

"He has had success at every level he has coached and is extremely familiar with our organization, as well as our players," Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman said in a statement. "He has a tremendous record at all levels and we feel he is ready to make the move to the NHL."

The Lightning, at 13-18-1, are in next to last place in the Eastern Conference and appear headed to missing the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

Cooper will coach his first game for the Lightning on Friday night against the New Jersey Devils.

"There is no other team in hockey that I would rather be coaching than the Tampa Bay Lightning," Cooper said in a statement.

"It's quite a tribute to Steve Yzerman, (owner) Jeff Vinik and the organization they are building that they are proud to promote from within. I look forward to getting to know the players and getting to work right away."

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