Tampa, Florida. Tampa Bay Lightning coach John Cooper held a brief press conference after losing the Stanley Cup 4 final on Wednesday night, questioning the legitimacy of Nazem Kadri’s Colorado Avalanche goal in overtime.
Cooper toured for a minute on his love of the NHL and his team’s journey to back-to-back Stanley Cup tournaments before focusing on Kadri’s goal at 12:02 in overtime, giving Avalanche a 3-1 lead in the series.
“This person will sting a lot more than the others, just because he was taking… It was probably… I don’t know… It’s hard for me. It will be hard for me to talk. I’m going to talk. I’ll talk to you tomorrow,” he said. “You’ll see what I mean when you see the winning goal. And my heart breaks for the players. Because we may still be playing.”
So, Cooper apologized after one question.
Speculation after the match was that Lightning thought the avalanche had six ice skaters before scoring the winning goal. There were camera angles that showed six Colorado snowboarders as Kadari got a pass and skated into the area and beat goalkeeper Andrei Vasilevsky for a 3-2 win.
The dispute was over whether Nathan McKinnon was close enough to the avalanche bench to be considered a “retired player” when his teammate jumped on the ice and engaged in the play. Skaters must be within 5 feet of the bench and out of play before the change can be made.
“Too many men on ice is a decision that can be made by any of the four officials on the ice,” NHL Hockey Operations said in a statement. “After the game, the hockey operations met with the four officials as is their usual protocol. When discussing the winning goal, each of the four officials advised that they had not seen too many men on the ice in play.”
Too many men on the ice are not subject to review, even when a goal is scored.
Fueling conspiracy theories: The NHL distributed a score sheet to the media featuring six skaters listed in the avalanche on the winner of Kadri’s game, and then edited that score sheet to list five skaters online.
The National Hockey League said the extra player, defender Eric Johnson, may have ended up on the preliminary scoring sheet due to players jumping off the bench in celebration after Qadri scored a goal.
Qadri appeared puzzled about Cooper’s soreness after the match.
said Qadri, who played in his first game of the series after undergoing thumb surgery in the Western Conference Finals. “The ball hit the back of the net, end of the story, so I’m not sure why he said that.”
Cooper kicked off his press conference by talking about his team’s quick start before quickly moving on to how tough the Lightning Championship race is while also criticizing the NHL’s salary cap system.
“You know, I love this league. It’s the greatest league in the world. The people who run it are amazing. It’s all about it. It’s like a dream come true for me, especially being a Canadian kid growing up and everything that happens,” he said.
“You know, I’ve been a part of some heartbreaking losses and defeats for the teams that took us out, and I was with a group that fights and fights and just fights. And they fought their way to a third straight Stanley Cup Final and in the hat era when…when it’s really hard and the rules are made Against you because the league wants parity. And I love it about the league. That’s what makes it more difficult. And you just have to watch this team, what they do We’ve been through and the battle that goes on. And we’re all in this together. Players, coaches, referees, everyone.”
Game five on Friday night in Denver. Teams that advanced 3-1 in the top seven of seven hold an all-time record of 298-31 (.906), including a 2-1 (.667) clip in 2022 and a 35-1 (.972) in the Stanley Cup Final.