When Patrice Bergeron and Jon Cooper saw one another last summer, they each were coming off roundhouse kicks to the gut from the recently-concluded postseason.
Cooper’s Tampa Bay Lightning, after a stellar regular season, were swept by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Then weeks later, Bergeron and the Boston Bruins fell to the St. Louis Blues in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Mere days after the Bruins’ loss in the deciding game, Bergeron and Cooper were in Las Vegas for the NHL Awards show. And in a conversation with SportsNet’s Elliotte Friedman, Cooper shared a great story about the exchange he had with Bergeron.
“We’re all in the green room before we’re going to talk to the media,” Cooper said. “The season had just ended for him a couple of days earlier. He went out of his way to come over to me, genuine handshake, look in my eye, and say, ‘Hey how are you doing, are you ok?’ (Then) a second, ‘No seriously, are you okay?’ What a class act. Then I looked at him and said, ‘Are you okay?’ Then we had to sit there and have a small discussion about what was worse, the way we went out or the way they went out? I’ve been to the Cup final (2015), and boy is it an empty feeling when you are so close to tasting it and having it taken out of your hands.”
The Lightning and Bruins have forged a bit of a rivalry over the years, but it sounds like Bergeron and Cooper had no issue setting aside any on-ice rivalries in the interest of having a real conversation.