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BeitragVerfasst am: Fr Aug 10, 2018 8:05 am    Titel: a study in short memories. Antworten mit Zitat

Jon Cooper searched for adequate words to describe the feeling of coming within one victory of playing for the Stanley Cup.

The Tampa Bay Lightning have done it twice in the past three years. And it hurts.

”It’s everything from agonizing to angry to disappointed to shock http://www.eaglesauthorizedshops.com/authentic-dallas-goedert-jersey ,” the coach said Thursday, less than 24 hours after one of the most successful seasons in franchise history came to a screeching halt with a 4-0 loss to Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final.

”I’m sure that’s going to turn into proud and happy for our group,” he added. ”There are so many good emotions about coaching this team … but the emotions of how it ended is tough.”

After compiling the best record in the Eastern Conference during the regular season, eliminating the New Jersey Devils and Boston Bruins in the first two rounds of the playoffs, and rebounding from losing the first games of the conference final to take a 3-2 series lead, the Lightning truly believed this was their year.

Now, general manager Steve Yzerman and Cooper face decisions about what needs to be tweaked.

The Lightning won Game 7 of the conference final against the Rangers in 2015, advancing to the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in franchise history. They made it back to the East final, only to lose to the Pittsburgh Penguins in seven games two years ago.

”If anybody sits and says it was an unsuccessful season, I have to question that. You look back at this team. All the accomplishments of the regular season, and then to be one game away from getting to the Stanley Cup Final,” Cooper said Mike McGlinchey Color Rush Jersey , his voice trailing off.

”Now it’s just solving that piece of the puzzle,” the coach added, ”getting over the top.”

With a talented roster that’s both deep and fairly young, there won’t be wholesale changes.

Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, a Vezina Trophy finalist in his first full season as a starter, is just 23 years old.

Leading scorer Nikita Kucherov is 24, Norris Trophy finalist Victor Hedman is 27, and emerging star Brayden Point is just 22.

Even captain Steven Stamkos, completing his 10th NHL season, is only 28.

”What were we missing? A couple of goals in Game 7,” Cooper said. ”You can sit here and pick apart all you want of what went wrong, it was one game. We didn’t score and we lost the game. They were opportunistic and scored Josh Allen Color Rush Jersey , and they advanced. … It’s razor-thin how close this league is.”

Yzerman said there are a number of areas where the Lightning need to get better moving forward, including defensively.

The GM, however, rejected the notion that somehow the season was a failure because a team with such high expectations didn’t get back to the championship round.

”It’s really difficult to win the Stanley Cup, and if you’re going to measure every year strictly on it’s a failure if we win or not, I don’t think I look at it that way,” Yzerman said.

”There’s a process and there’s no definitive timeline for it. Just continue to improve, continue to hang around, I guess, and we’re going to win one of these things,” the GM added. ”It’s not a failure. It’s a disappointment at this stage, but we’re not sitting here saying we’re the best team by a mile. We realize there’s a bunch of good teams out there Ozzie Albies Atlanta Braves Jersey , a group of teams that could win the Stanley Cup.”

Cooper said one thing it’s important to not do this summer is over-react.

”It’s hard to explain just how hard it is to get here,” the coach said. ”There are 30 teams who are going to get Monday morning quarterbacked, and one team that is not. You just have to build on your strengths and keep getting better and come back next year stronger than ever.”




Heading back to Philadelphia down 2-0 to the Boston Celtics, the suddenly cold 76ers have some quick thinking to do in order to right the ship.

After winning 16 straight to close the regular season and finishing off the Miami Heat in five games in the first round, the 76ers now head back to face Boston at the Wells Fargo Center for their 5 p.m. matchup on Saturday with their first two-game losing streak since late February.

Boston clipped the once-surging 76ers in Game 2 with a huge surge of their own, coming back from a 22-point deficit to win on Boston on Thursday, 108-103. 76ers head coach Brett Brown drew criticism for his handling of Boston’s big run. Down 48-26 early in the second quarter, Boston eventually cut the lead to five at the half and took control with a 28-19 third quarter, and Brown chose not to call timeouts with his team bleeding.

“We have the league’s No. 1-rated starting five, is a fact,” he said. “Those five guys have shown great maturity, they have shown they can sustain different types of runs and still hold the fort. There were a few times (when he thought about calling a timeout). I mentioned there was one with (Terry) Rozier with his Euro-step that as I watched in the light of day http://www.ravensauthorizedshops.com/authentic-hayden-hurst-jersey , that was a moment you could have done it.”

As much criticism as Brown is facing, rookie point guard Ben Simmons might be facing the steepest uphill battle heading into Saturday’s matchup.

Simmons had arguably his worst game as a pro, scoring one point on 0-for-4 shooting with five rebounds and seven assists. What’s worse: His negative-23 plus/minus ratio.

Rozier and backcourt mate Marcus Smart, meanwhile, combined for 39 points, 12 assists and 12 rebounds, and Boston got a big 13 points out of Jaylen Brown off the bench.

“I think the Celtics defensive intensity went to a higher level,” Brown said. “I think somewhere at the five-minute mark and we brought Joel (Embiid) and JJ (Redick) back into the game in the second period. We give them credit. They went on a little run and then they went on another run I think at two minutes left.”

Unlike the 76ers, who closed out the regular season with a bang, the Celtics were written off for much of the latter part of the schedule, after losing Kyrie Irving for the season and dropping four of six to close out the year. The Celtics’ seven-game series with Milwaukee in the first round did little to ease the chirping outside of Boston, especially with Philadelphia so hot.

But Brad Stevens’ strategy of resting his starters down the stretch might be paying dividends http://www.redskinsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-geron-christian-jersey , as Al Horford and Rozier are averaging 35 or more minutes this series.

“Everyone feels good enough to play high minutes, which is why the last four games of the regular season were done the way we did,” said Stevens. “I think we had a plan of attack throughout the regular season based on each individual. Obviously we chose some times to rest guys, but not that many, but more so manage it throughout the games. We felt like we were a deep team.”

For both teams, Saturday’s matchup will be a study in short memories.

For the Celtics, they must erase in their minds the 22-point deficit they dug themselves into on Thursday.

For Philadelphia, the bad taste of a squandered double-digit lead must be forgotten. But not, Brown hopes, the lessons they learned.

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