In case the Detroit Red Wings were looking for some bulletin board material before tonight’s Game 6 showdown against the Tampa Bay Lightning (7:00 p.m., FSD, CNBC), Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper recently spoke with reporters and offered some backhanded suggestions as to how the Red Wings have been able to secure a 3-2 series lead.
As reported by CBS Detroit’s Ashley Dunkak earlier this morning:
Lightning head coach Jon Cooper, perhaps in an attempt to put officials on higher alert, has labeled the Red Wings as experts in interfering and avoiding penalties for it.Featured Videos
“There are 30 teams in the league, and nobody does it more than the Detroit Red Wings, hands down,” Cooper said, per the Tampa Bay Tribune. “The old saying is, ‘If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.’ They do it to a ‘T.’
“My message to our guys is you’ve got to suck it up, got to fight through it,” Cooper continued. “And if they’re bringing it, you’ve got to bring a gun to a knife fight. That’s how it has to go. So to get on them, we have to be better.”
As Dunkak suggested, Cooper’s comments can likely be interpreted as strategic gamesmanship. The media is often an underrated tool for teams as they work their way through the post-season, and Cooper surely knows his words will find their home with league officials and the Red Wings themselves, perhaps looking to yield an advantage as a means of drawing attention to specific aspect of Detroit’s success in this series.