In a Q&A with The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun, Tampa Bay Lightning GM Julien BriseBois talked about a variety of topics. However, the most interesting point that the straight-shooting executive made was that his head coach, Jon Cooper, is safe. The Lightning are not meeting expectations this season (although they are ranked tenth in the NHL in points percentage), but Cooper is not on the hot seat. At least not yet.
BriseBois tells LeBrun that Cooper’s job security “shouldn’t come up”. He states that the team has had just one truly bad week so far this season, but feels that they are working hard night in and night out. In fact, BriseBois said that the team’s play has outperformed their record whereas last year the President’s Cup champs’ record outperformed their play. Nevertheless, Cooper did coach the Bolts to a league-best 62-16-4 record last season, so he has been afforded some comfort in his position, even if the team has already lost 13 games so far this year.
However, BriseBois’ feelings toward Cooper could change if Tampa has another tough go of things in the playoffs this year. After the embarrassing first-round sweep at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets last year, Cooper’s seat could definitely get hot if the team finishes with a worse record and again disappoints in the postseason. Cooper is safe for now, but not forever.