Lightning’s Cooper describes injuries his team played through as ‘mind boggling’

Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat reacts after the Colorado Avalanche defeated the Lightning 2-1 in Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals on Sunday, June 26, 2022, in Tampa, Fla. (John Bazemore/CP)

It’s well known that by the time a team gets to Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, they are nursing their fair share of bumps, bruises, and even fractures.

On Sunday, after his team lost 2-1 to Colorado Avalanche and relinquished the Cup, Lightning head coach Jon Cooper went one step further.

“What they put themselves through. It’s mind boggling,” Cooper said post-game, after his players had retreated to their dressing room, while the victors hoisted the Cup and celebrated on the ice. “We would have had half our minor-league team playing if it was the regular season.”

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While he would not get into specifics about the injuries, it seemed like every few shifts one of his players would head down the tunnel to the dressing room to deal with a problem, only to eventually remerge and get back on the ice.

On this night, both defencemen Erik Cernak and Jan Rutta had to step away early in the game when they seemed to be ailing.

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Tampa forward reiterated the injury theme in his post-game interview.

“We should be proud of ourselves, because of the last three years,” Maroon said, “But this one stings because of what our guys battled through every single day … injuries.

“When the injury report comes out, you’re going to be shocked,” he added.

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The public will have to wait for post-season interviews to find out the true butcher’s bill for what the Lightning endured, as players reveal what they dealt with, either through interviews or team announcements with regard to surgeries and treatment.

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