Jon Cooper could face severe consequences for postgame comments

Ryan Smitheram
April 30, 2024  (11:25)

Jon Cooper had quite the reaction to being asked about a pair of Lightning goals being called back
Photo credit: USA Today

The Tampa Bay Lightning were eliminated in Game 5 by the Florida Panthers. Now, Jon Cooper is questioning the NHL over two controversial goal reversals that may have cost Tampa the series.

In the first and second period of last night's loss and elimination at the hands of the Florida Panthers, Lightning head coach Jon Cooper was asked about the goals his team had called back because of goaltender interference, and as he often does, he provided a very forward response.
"Again, it's like, net front battles aren't allowed anymore? And that's part of everybody's 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? The second something happens... we might as well put skirts on them then, if that's how it's going to be. They have to battle through stuff too. It's a war down there. I think we're letting the goalies off the hook."

The two goals that the Lightning had called back would have given the Bolts the lead in the first period and tied the game in the second period. With seven minutes to go in the first, Anthony Cirelli scored from in tight, but the goal was called back because Anthony Duclair "interfered" with Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.
In the second period, Sergachev sent a wrister towards to goal that found its way to the back of the net. Unfortunately, it was waved off right away as Cirelli made some minor contact with Bobrovsky.
As they usually do, the NHL released statements explaining the reason behind both goals being called off. In both cases, the goal was called off because of Rule 69.1 which states, "Goals should be disallowed only if: (1) an attacking player, either by his positioning or by contact, impairs the goalkeeper's ability to move freely within his crease or defend his goal."
While Cooper's rant was justified, it is also hypocritical as he had no issues with a very questionable interference call against Justin Holl in game seven of the Bolts' 2022 first round series against the Leafs. Had that call not been made, John Tavares would have tied the game midway through the second and the Leafs may have won that series as well.
Either way, it will be interesting to see how the league responds and whether or not Cooper will face a fine or a suspension for his very blatant criticism of the NHL's rulings on both disallowed goals.
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Jon Cooper could face severe consequences for postgame comments

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