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Dad duty keeping Coburn occupied

Things are busy for the Coburns at the moment with homeschooling and three foster puppies

by Bryan Burns @BBurnsNHL /

Braydon Coburn doesn't have morning skates, team meetings or games while the National Hockey League nears its fifth full week on pause.

But there's still plenty keeping the veteran defenseman busy while he and the rest of the hockey world wait.

His children - 8-year-old daughter Rory and 6-year-old son Blair - require most of his attention.

Now that he's home all day, Coburn can spend more time with his kids, a luxury not afforded to him during the season. With children all across the country homeschooling now to finish out the school year, Coburn has been tasked with making sure his kids are staying committed to the lesson plans assigned by their teachers.

"It's kind of a regular gauntlet of trying to get people motivated and ready for school in the morning," Coburn told a group of local media on a video conference call Wednesday. "Then It's been going to the pool, lots of bike rides."

Coburn's learned he's an admittedly "crappy teacher" trying to facilitate the online schooling for his kids during the pause.

"My daughter's been great. She's very motivated and she's been on Zoom and her classmates and teacher have kept her very motivated. I'm very, very proud of her," Coburn said. "I'm proud of my son too. He's been doing a good job, but he requires a lot more hands-on teaching. Sometimes I definitely catch myself because I think it's patience. The biggest thing with teachers is they're so patient and they know how to move kids on from one thing to another. For him, schooling is not easy, and for me, I think we kind of share some of the perfection tendencies. He wants everything to be perfect, and I do too. It's tough to get a lot of work done or much work done when you're focused on minute details, especially when you're a kindergarten student."

The Coburns have also been fostering three puppies from the Humane Society of Tampa Bay while quarantined at home, although one of the puppies had to go back to the Humane Society temporarily because it developed ringworm. The experience is a familiar one for Coburn and his wife Nadine.

"My wife started this in Philadelphia," Coburn said. "We lived right down the street from an organization called PAWS, and she volunteered there, and we got our first two dogs from there. She'd bring home these dogs that looked like they were in really rough shape for a long time. We would take them and usually she would kind of just get them out of the shelter atmosphere and we would try to find homes for them. So, we've been doing it for a long time. We don't do it often, but this seemed like a great opportunity, especially with the kids being older to help out and learn about different things with puppies. (Nadine) definitely is the driver behind it, but we've all had a lot of fun doing it."

Interestingly, Coburn said he's allergic to dog dander, which is why the Coburns have typically housed hypoallergic dogs in the past and why they won't be keeping any of the puppies they're fostering permanently.

At least if Braydon has any say in the matter.

"I kind of power through when we're fostering the dogs that shed a little bit more than others," he said. "With these guys, I think they're going to be a good size and they're going to be shedding quite a bit. I don't think we are (going to keep any of the fostered dogs). That might change. My kids and my wife are pretty attached to one of the guys, Ace. We are trying to find homes for them, and we might have already. I don't want to put any pressure on the people we've talked to, but Bobby "the Chief" Taylor, he's one of the guys we've talked to about adopting one of our puppies. I hope it works out for him. Another family is thinking about the other one. We'll see. The good thing is just they're such good puppies, anyone who gets them will be really lucky."

Of course, Coburn's been staying in shape like the rest of his teammates in hopes the Lightning will be able to complete the 2019-20 season and their pursuit of the Stanley Cup. Coburn is legendary for the way he maintains his body. It's one of the reasons he's still going strong at 35 years old with nearly 1,000 NHL games under his belt and no showing no signs of slowing down.

Around Christmas, Coburn bought his wife a Peloton. He joked initially about the purchase, figuring it would get used for a couple of months before ending up in some corner as an expensive clothing rack.

Now, he's on it almost every day.

"Those words have kind of come back to haunt me a little bit because I've been using it quite a bit to do some of my conditioning on," he said. "It's been a great tool."

Coburn has also been following the training programs provided to him by Lightning director of high performance and strength coach Mark Lambert, performing lots of body weight and band exercises. He's gotten into rollerblading, which he said helps to maintain the strength in his legs.

"The biggest thing with rollerblading is just putting the skate boot on and having my feet in skates and just that feeling of tying up my skates," Coburn said. "I don't know if that's just kind of a little bit therapeutic. There's some difference (from ice skates). It's fun. My kids rollerblade as well. It's fun to be in Tampa here where the weather is so great, and you can kind of cruise around and get a little exercise that way and see my kids motor around too."

Coburn also stays in regular contact with his teammates through the Bolts' group text. The veteran defenseman is one of the more active participants on the chat and taught himself how to use Photoshop to chirp his teammates.

He said Tyler Johnson gets chirped the most on the group chat. Alex Killorn and Mikhail Sergachev get it quite a bit too.

"There's a picture I made and it was basically a team picture, so I took some time and photoshopped every single guys' head onto a picture that was maybe a little bit inappropriate," he said, smiling. "There were like 20-something guys, and I was able to photoshop every single guy onto this picture. That one I'm probably, if you want to be proud of something, that's one of the ones I'm proud of. I don't know if I should be, but it's in there."

As Coburn's media availability wraps up, Coburn apologizes for the background noise coming from upstairs in his house.

"I don't know if you guys can hear that, but that's part of our morning routine," Coburn said. "There's a very badly-played violin being strangulated upstairs right now. So, if you're picking up any of that, my apologies."

And with that, Coburn was off, to yet another full day of wrangling kids, working out and crafting that perfect chirp.

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