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Lightning signs a contract extension…with coach Jon Cooper

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In a season that has been all about turmoil, the Tampa Bay Lightning found a bit of stability on Friday.

The Lighting signed coach Jon Cooper to a multi-year extension Friday.

The timing of the extension was interesting. Most of the interest in this off-season has been with the ongoing negotiations between the team and star Steven Stamkos. But as the Lightning struggled, perhaps general manager Steve Yzerman saw the need to let his team know that the man behind the bench would not change.

“One has nothing to do with the other,” Yzerman said.

Cooper has a record of 112-70-23 with the Bolts.

It’s a privilege to coach in this league and it’s an honor to be able to do it for the Tampa Bay Lightning,’’ Cooper said following Friday’s practice. “To work for (owner) Jeff Vinik and what he has done for this organization and the city of Tampa, and then to directly report to Yzerman and how he has conducted himself as a professional and with me and this team, there is no other place that I would rather be. For this to happen, I couldn’t be any happier.’’

The Lightning plays against San Jose Saturday night and Los Angeles Sunday.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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