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Lightning's Cooper apologizes for 'skirts' comment

Julio Aguilar / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper owned up Wednesday for remarks he made following the club's elimination from the playoffs.

In the wake of Monday's 6-1 loss in which the Lightning had two goals called back for goaltender interference, Cooper expressed his frustration using phrasing he later regretted.

Less than 48 hours later, the NHL's longest-tenured active bench boss offered a mea culpa.

"I made an inappropriate analogy about goalies in skirts," Cooper said. "It's one of those moments where if you could just reach (out) and grab the words back, I would have. As a father of two (and) especially a massive supporter of women's hockey - and I have girls that play sports - quite frankly, it was wrong, and I (had) to go explain myself to my girls.

"I sincerely apologize to all I offended," Cooper added. "It's pained me more than the actual series loss itself. It's one of those moments (when) I don't think my actions of the past have led me to ... I guess just judge me more on those maybe than the emotional, quite frankly dumb words that came out of my mouth the other night. So for that, I'm sorry."

Cooper has guided the Lightning since March 2013. He helped them win the Stanley Cup in 2020 and 2021 and was a finalist for the Jack Adams Award (given out annually to the NHL's top head coach) in 2014 and 2019. The 56-year-old won the AHL's Calder Cup and USHL's Clark Cup as a bench boss before jumping to the NHL.

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