CONTROVERSY | Lightning's coach Jon Cooper benches three of the top players in the league in a loss against the Sabres

Published March 5, 2023 at 6:25

The Tampa Bay Lightning are one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup this season, but you wouldn't know that from Saturday night's effort.

The Lightning were in Buffalo Saturday night and with the Sabres leading 4-1 heading into the 3rd period the Lightning's head coach Jon Cooper decided to bench his top three players, captain Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, and Brayden Point.


After the game, Cooper was asked by the media on his decision to bench his stars:

Cooper discusses his decision to bench trip Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point explaining he felt that they weren't giving the team the best chance to win.

"Well, as coaches, you've got to put your team in the best position to win and 99.9% of the time, those guys give us the best chance to win when they're on the ice. It just felt, in third period, they weren't giving us the best chance to win. This team has been unbelievable for a decade. You take the three Finals. Well, there's a reason a lot of that's happened. We have a set of standards here that everybody adheres to, and it's not pick and choose. It's everybody. It's how it was for today. Like I said, those guys are an extremely important part of our team, but for 20 minutes tonight, I thought the other guys could get it done and you know what? They almost did.

We've got a lot of pride in this this room and in our organization. It's not a situation where you're upset with guys or you feel differently about guys. You've got to come here and go to work. It's the best league in the world with the best players in the world. If you're not on it and you're not giving it to the standard that this franchise has set the bar for, for me, the league in the last how many years? You can't go out there. Like I said, those guys are the reason we have a standard that high. It's because of those guys. Just for a period tonight, that was it."

- Jon Cooper

This will either be a wake-up call to Stamkos, Kucherov, and Point or it's going to cause more issues as the trio is definitely not useD to being benched, it will be interesting to see how this plays out in Tampa.

March 5   |   46 answers
CONTROVERSY | Lightning's coach Jon Cooper benches three of the top players in the league in a loss against the Sabres

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