TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper opened his end-of-season news conference Wednesday apologizing for making what he called an inappropriate analogy of putting skirts on goalies.

Cooper after the Game 5 loss that eliminated his team from the playoffs on Monday night vented about two questionable goaltender interference rulings that contributed to Florida’s 6-1 win. The Lightning had two goals disallowed when the NHL situation room deemed a player interfered with Sergei Bobrovsky each time.

The league’s longest-tenured coach said he was sincerely sorry especially as a father of two daughters who play sports and a supporter of women’s hockey.

“It’s one of those minutes if you could just reach back and grab the words back, I would’ve,” Cooper said. “Quite frankly, it was wrong and I’ve got to go and explain myself to my girls. … I sincerely apologize to all I offended. It’s pained me more than the actual series loss itself.”

Tampa Bay has made the playoffs in 10 of his 11 seasons on the job and won the Stanley Cup back to back in 2020 and ’21.


AP NHL playoffs: https://apnews.com/hub/stanley-cup and https://www.apnews.com/hub/NHL