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Lightning promote Cooper from AHL to be new coach

The SportsXchange

The Tampa Bay Lightning named Jon Cooper as their new coach on Monday night, two days after dismissing Guy Boucher.

Cooper was the coach of the year in the American Hockey League last season after guiding the Lightning's affiliate to the Calder Cup championship. This season, Syracuse has a league-best 39-18-8 record.

He replaces Guy Boucher, who was dismissed Saturday by general manager Steve Yzerman.

"(Cooper) has had success at every level he has coached and is extremely familiar with our organization, as well as our players," Yzerman said. "He has a tremendous record at all levels and we feel he is ready to make the move to the NHL."

Cooper, 45, has coached the Lightning's AHL team in Norfolk and Syracuse the past three seasons, posting a 133-62-26 record. Before joining the Lightning organization, Cooper coached the Green Bay Gamblers in the United States Hockey League, winning the 2010 Clark Cup.

His first game as an NHL coach will be Friday night against New Jersey.

"There is no other team in hockey that I would rather be coaching than the Tampa Bay Lightning," Cooper said. "It's quite a tribute to Steve Yzerman, Jeff Vinik and the organization they are building that they are proud to promote from within. I look forward to getting to know the players and getting to work right away."

Lightning assistants Dan Lacroix and Steve Thomas will remain on Cooper's staff. They took over the team after Boucher was fired and will serve as coaches for the second straight game on Tuesday night against Buffalo.

Syracuse assistant Rob Zettler will replace Cooper as the Crunch head coach.
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