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Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper apologizes for “skirts” comment

TAMPA – After the Tampa Bay Lightning were eliminated from the playoffs on Monday, head coach Jon Cooper expressed frustration over some controversial calls that led to a Game 5 loss.

During his 10-plus year run as the coach of the Lightning, Cooper has shown to be calculated in his postgame comments and shown a calm demeanor in his interactions with the media following games. His postgame discussion was a rare display of emotion.

Cooper waited until the end of his discussion to address the controversy that took two goals off the board for incidental contact with the goaltender. It wasn’t exactly an outburst, but the emotions were still fresh so soon after the conclusion of the game.

“The boxing out that goes on there, it’s like prison rules in the playoffs, but it’s not prison rules for the goalie?,” Cooper said following Monday’s game. “Like the second something happens we might as well put skirts on them then if that’s how it’s going to be. I mean, they have to battle through stuff, too. And when the players are working so hard on both teams, and it’s like I said, it’s a war out there, I think we’re letting the goalies off the hook.”

The reaction following the game and the two days since has seen a range of reactions regarding the “skirts” comments.

As the Lightning wrapped up their season on Wednesday, Cooper, who is the father of twin girls who play sports, addressed the comment and apologized for his choice of words before taking questions from the media.

“Pretty disappointing series loss the other night and I made an inappropriate analogy about goalies and skirts,” Cooper said. “It’s one of those moments if you could just reach back and grab the words back, I would have. As a father and especially a massive supporter of a woman’s hockey and I have girls that play sports and quite frankly it was wrong. I have to go and explain myself to my girls. And it was. I sincerely apologize to all I offended.
“It pains me more than the actual series loss itself. It was one of those moments that I don’t think my actions of the past led me, and I guess if people want to judge me maybe more on those than on the emotional, quite frankly dumb words that came out of my mouth. So for that, I’m sorry.”

Here are his full comments from Monday:

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2 Responses

  1. Coop was calling it like he saw it. But in these days where the thought police are constantly on patrol, he needed to be more cautious with his words.

    1. It’s not about “thought police.” It was barely mentioned anywhere. No one was calling for him to be fired or even apologize. He said something that I found offensive and after some thought – not public pressure – HE thought was offensive. It wasn’t the biggest misstep in the world, but I expect better from him. His willingness to admit a mistake and apologize shows strength in character.

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