Jon, meet Bruce

Tampa Bay Times - - Lightning Report -

The two most-talked-about coaches in Tampa Bay were in the same room Satur­day.

Light­ning coach Jon Cooper and new Bucs coach Bruce Ari­ans met be­fore the game against the Pen­guins at Amalie Arena. The Light­ning pre­sented Ari­ans with a per­son­al­ized jersey in the new al­ter­nate black and gray.

“He’s got that old-school pas­sion,” Cooper said of Ari­ans. “That’s prob­a­bly what kept him around the game so long and why he’s had so much suc­cess. In meet­ing him, I know the Bucs are in good hands.”

The two had never met, but Cooper had read about Ari­ans. Cooper is good friends with Bucs gen­eral man­ager Ja­son Licht and was sure Ari­ans would make a good hire.

Ari­ans, 66, is a big hockey fan. A na­tive of Pater­son, N.J., he grew up a fan of the Fly­ers in the Broad Street Bul­lies days.

“The game’s so fast,” he said on Fox Sports Sun dur­ing an in­ter­mis­sion in­ter­view. “There’s so much skill in­volved. It’s one of my fa­vorite sports.” The Bucs coach was rec­og­nized on the video board and greeted by a loud cheer from the fans. He also milled about with fans on the con­course.

Ari­ans has con­nec­tions to at least one other coach with Tampa Bay ties. For­mer Rays man­ager Joe Mad­don helped re­cruit him to the area.

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