Cooper Galant’s friendship suspended during Eastern Conference final

“It’s going to be an admirable handshake,” said Cooper, the Tampa Bay Lightning coach.

Cooper and New York Rangers coach Galant are close friends.

Their teams’ involvement in a series for the right to play in the Stanley Cup means the friendship is currently suspended, but will resume once the series ends.

Rangers top their best 7-game streak 2-0 after winning games 1 and 2 at Madison Square Garden. Game 3 at Amalie Arena on Sunday (3pm ET; ESPN, ESPN+, CBC, SN, TVAS).

“This training community is close, and for some reason I’ve been in it for a while, but Turk for me, you have your acquaintances, your friends, and then you’ve got your buddies that you text on a regular basis,” Cooper said of Galant. “He is one of them.”

Video: Rangers advance 2-0 in conference final, win 3-2

They met at the 2016 Hockey World Cup, when they were both assistants to Todd McClellan’s North American team. But their friendship blossomed during the 2017 IIHF World Championships, when Cooper was Canada’s coach and Gallant was his first assistant.

They were together for more than three weeks at the tournament, which was held in Paris and Cologne, Germany.

After that experience [at the World Cup of Hockey] With Turk, I was lucky enough to have been asked to coach Canada at the World Championships in 2017, Cooper said, and the first one I circled around to see if he would come with me was the Turk. Just because of how much respect I have for him, what he does and basically what he is Hell for a man, only on Earth, the direct shooter.”

Canada lost to Sweden in the gold-medal match 2-1 on penalties.

“Three weeks together, they ate lunch together every day, and dinner together, until you got to know the man well,” Gallant said. “We had a lot of fun there, had fun with it, trained together and since then we’ve been good friends.”

Galant returned to the world championships as coach for Canada last year, and Canada defeated Finland 3-2 in overtime in the gold medal match in Riga, Latvia, on June 6.

“I’m not going to be allowed to forget that,” Cooper said.

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Cooper won his second straight Stanley Cup championship with Lightning on July 7.

“I congratulated him a lot on winning trophies and when we won the world championship last year he kept texting me,” Gallant said. “It’s great to have a guy like that, friendship.”

It has to do with their methods as coaches too; They are similar even though they come from different backgrounds and at opposite ends of Canada.

Galant of Prince Edward Island in the Maritimes. The 58-year-old played 615 NHL games from 1984 to 95, 563 with the Detroit Red Wings and 52 with Lightning when they were in their buds from 1993 to 1995.

The Rangers are the fourth team to coach, joining the Columbus Blue Jackets (2004-07), the Florida Panthers (2014-17), and the Vegas Golden Knights (2017-20).

“The thing our team loves about it the most is that it allows you to play your game,” the New York defender Kandrey Miller He said. “Creative guys, lets do your thing. Everyone obviously knows their part at this point in the year, but I think it’s about his trust in us and we trust him.”

Cooper’s relationship with his Tampa Bay players is built on trust. The 54-year-old from British Columbia grew up with several as their NHL coach before joining them in the NHL with Lightning.

He is the longest-serving current coach with one NHL team (2013-22); Tampa Bay is the only team he’s coached.

“He can read a room really well, one of the best I’ve ever been to,” Lightning forward pat maroon He said. “He gets to know the vibe in the room. Guys love to play hard for him. He’s kind of a player coach, very friendly. Guys can go to his office. This open door policy, I think is a huge thing as a player, especially when you were a little kid. If you were You want answers, his door is always open. It makes you feel more comfortable coming to the rink every day.”

Cooper and Galant made each other feel comfortable doing this during the World Championships five years ago.

Over the next week or so, they’ll keep trying to make the other uncomfortable every time they’re on the rink together.

But when the final conference is over, there will be an admiring handshake and, most likely, a text saying congratulations and good luck.

Gallant said, “Obviously, we both want to win so badly in this series, but friendships are great across the league with people like that. He’s done a great job.”

Cooper said, “I have nothing but admiration for ‘Turk.’ He [heck] Coach “.

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