Lightning coach Jon Cooper on how newcomers are performing in preseason

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Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper talks about how newcomers are performing in the preseason.

REPORTER: What do you think some of the new guys, the young guys that you'll be playing with you, kind of-- what kind of element do you think they'll add to this group?

- Well, we've got a lot of young guys. There's a lot of speed in that locker room. And we have to take advantage of it. We've got to play at a higher pace. And we have to put other teams in a situation where they can't make a lot of plays. And to do that, you need to have fast players. And we may not be the biggest team in the league, but if we can use our speed to our advantage, which some of these new or young players have, we're going to use it.

REPORTER: You talked a lot about Mathieu Joseph's preseason. But what are you most excited to-- what is his skill set? Maybe what excites you the most about that skill set?

- Well, his speed is probably the big thing. That's first and foremost when you think of Matty. What we've really liked in the preseason, he was finishing a lot. I think he ended up with four goals, which is-- you'd like to see that. The kids-- putting kids in positions to succeed.

But he's fighting like everybody else to be on this team and fighting for ice time. And we like a lot of what he's brought so far in the preseason. We've got a few guys still nicked up. So there's spots open. And he's jumped into position to try and seize one of them. But he's-- his tenaciousness, his ability to get to pucks and push defenses back is really what he's done here in the preseason. And it's a [INAUDIBLE] sport to be here for now.

REPORTER: Is it exciting as a coach one of the faces of the organization to see a young guy like that, see the growth happening, and to now realize that he's about to, you know, fulfill one of his lifelong dreams?

- Yeah, it's-- you hope to see these every year. And we've slowly-- through management scouting we've-- they seem to find, you know, gems for us along the way. But when guys get into their first NHL games, and, as you stated, fulfilling that lifelong dream-- you know, you're kind of like a proud dad sitting there watching it all unfold.

The key to the whole thing is you can't be satisfied when you do get that first game, of that's it. All of a sudden you take a breath and say, oh my gosh, I finally made it. To me, your work's just begun. And, you know, it's great to get that first one out of the way. But, you know, do you want to play one, or do you want to play 82? Or do you want to play 820?

And you just-- that's where the work ethic and-- you have to stay with it and work even harder to stay. And-- but a lot of our guys have done that.

REPORTER: You've only had Martel for a couple of weeks in camp. But what did he show you? And where do you kind of see him kind of fitting in, you know, as far as--

- I'm still-- it's early to say. As we talk about, Joseph was brought up-- and some of these other young guys-- well, we've seen them over the years. Played in our American League team, in our system. Martel was one we have not seen. The one thing I do know about him is he got better in every single game he played in. And another one that is feeling more comfortable being in our locker room and being part of the team. Sure, it's got to be tough, you know, coming to a new place and not really knowing anybody. But he's fit in great. And you can see his plays just getting better and better with every-- every day he's here.

REPORTER: Looks like Kucherov is OK. Johnson-- are you still optimistic for Saturday? That he'll be--

- Yeah, hard to say. I'm-- it's, I don't know, 50-50 probably. I can't say for sure. Definitely, you know, more optimistic on Kuch, though.