Cooper Not Surprised by Johnson’s Hatter
Lightning prospect Tyler Johnson of the Syracuse Crunch was named the AHL’s Most Valuable Player on Friday, and responded to the honor by netting a hat trick in the Crunch’s 5-1 win over Norfolk later that night.
Former Crunch coach and current Lightning coach Jon Cooper took notice, and he wasn’t surprised.
“Not in the slightest,” Cooper said after the Lightning’s practice on Saturday.
“He’s probably got a little jump in his step. Not only a jump in his step just from coming up here then going back to his team, but his game probably slowed down a little bit, but to get news like that – which was totally deserved – you don’t want to go and lay an egg and he surely didn’t.”
Johnson played 14 games for the Lightning in the last two months, scoring three goals and three assists. He was sent back down to Syracuse on April 12.
The Spokane, Washington, native has an AHL-leading 36 goals and 64 points in 61 games with the Crunch this year. He was a free agent signing by the Lightning in March of 2011.
Practice Notes: Injured goalie Anders Lindback had a strong practice on Saturday and could start as early as Sunday against Carolina. Also, while Radko Gudas filled in for Sami Salo on the power play in Montreal (and the Lightning scored, though Gudas points out he never touched the puck), don't expect Gudas to be a mainstay on the Lightning's power play anytime soon. Though Gudas was introduced to man-advantage duty in Syracuse under Cooper, the Lightning coach said Gudas is slated for PK and 5 on 5 work in Tampa and Cooper is a believer in 5 on 5 plus one special team unit for most players - especially defensemen.
Gudas Jersey Buyers: Gudas said he probably won't keep No. 75 next year. He wore No. 3 in Syracuse in honor of his father, who wore No. 3. The 3-jersey is taken in Tampa Bay by Keith Aulie, but 13 and 33 are both open.
Bishop Mask: Ben Bishop's Lightning mask was supposedly delivered from Sweden to Tampa, but he was wearing his Senators cage during practice on Saturday. He was working with Franz Jean on being positioned for one timers delivered from behind the goal-line into the slot.