Despite losing star player Steven Stamkos for four months with a broken leg and trading captain Martin St. Louis, the Tampa Bay Lightning surprised the NHL and posted the third-best record in the Eastern Conference. Now, after acquiring a group of veterans during the offseason, the Lightning enter 2014-15 among the favorites to make a prolonged run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Just don't expect their coach to say so.
"Make us seem like just a nice, humble, go-lucky Tampa Bay Lightning," Jon Cooper told NHL.com. "Not like we're going to come out and kick everybody's [behind]."
Last season, Cooper discovered a franchise goaltender, Ben Bishop, and led Tampa Bay, which played nine rookies, to the playoffs for the first time in three years. In his first full season, Cooper was named a finalist for the Jack Adams Award as the NHL's top coach.