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Lightning coach Jon Cooper stays calm behind the bench by chewing gum

Monday, 04.21.2014 / 3:45 PM / News

The Canadian Press

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Lightning coach Jon Cooper stays calm behind the bench by chewing gum

TAMPA, Fla. - What's the secret to Jon Cooper's calm demeanour behind the Tampa Bay Lightning bench? Apparently chewing gum.

Cooper started the tradition of chewing gum when he got into coaching and it has become a habit or superstition ever since.

"One piece goes in at the beginning and it stays in the rest of the game," he said. "It doesn't come out."

Cooper, a Prince George, B.C., native, is in his first full NHL season. He won championships in the AHL and USHL previously. Before that, he was a lawyer.

Gum-chewing isn't something he studies, but it's part of his routine.

"I don't watch myself on the bench so I don't know how hard I chew it," he said. "Apparently I do chew it pretty hard."

Given how close the Lightning and Montreal Canadiens have played each other this season and then into overtime in Game 1 —with the Habs winning the playoff opener 5-4 — that can become more of a chore than anyone would expect.

"By the time you get deep into overtimes, it's a tough one to chew," Cooper said.

Quote of the Day

I spent a long summer thinking about that playoff series and what could have been. [The Blackhawks] ended up being the Stanley Cup champions, so we know we lost to a very good team. It's tough to know how close we were, and it motivates us for this year.

— Nashville captain Shea Weber in an interview with the Predators website
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