FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 27th, 2020

LIGHTNING COACH JON COOPER ON NHL’S RETURN TO PLAY; MATT NAGY ON BEARS’ QB COMPETITION — QUOTES FROM TODAY’S LUNCH TALK LIVE WITH MIKE TIRICO AND THE RICH EISEN SHOW ON NBCSN

“The fact that there might be potential for teams to move around a little bit, that definitely adds a little incentive to the game.” – Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper on round robin formatting to determine top seeding in each conference

“You need to win, that’s how quarterbacks are evaluated…The standards we have, we didn’t reach them last year, but there’s more reasons than just the quarterback.” – Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy on Mitchell Trubisky

“He seems to have that ‘it’ factor.” – Terrell Davis on Broncos QB Drew Lock

“I do think that under this format it will be the most difficult Stanley Cup to win ever.” – NHL on NBC analyst Keith Jones on the NHL’s playoff format

STAMFORD, Conn. – May 27, 2020 – Mike Tirico hosted today’s episode of Lunch Talk Live on NBCSN and was joined remotely by:

    • Three-time Olympic swimming gold medalist Ryan Murphy
    • Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy
    • Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper
    • NHL on NBC analysts Keith Jones and Brian Boucher
    • NBC Sports’ Kathryn Tappen

 

The Rich Eisen Show followed Lunch Talk Live on NBCSN, as host Rich Eisen was joined by:

    • Pro Football Hall of Famer and NFL Network analyst Terrell Davis
    • NHL on NBC analyst Eddie Olczyk
    • Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy

 

Following are highlights from Lunch Talk Live on NBCSN:

Jon Cooper on NHL’s round robin playoff format to determine top seeding: “The fact that there might be potential for teams to move around a little bit, that definitely adds a little incentive to the game. I think it is just going to be new to everybody.”

Cooper on the Lightning voting ‘no’ on the NHL’s plan to return to play: “I think a little bit of the integrity of the regular season came into play, and I think they didn’t want to be in a position where they were going to play a team that was a little bit battle-tested.”

Cooper on playing without fans in attendance: “I always compare it to practice…We practice all the time without fans, and we have some pretty intense ones and some pretty intense scrimmages. The guys are going at it all the time.”

Cooper on staying in touch with his players throughout the pandemic: “I think it was a lot more intense when it first started out. Those first three weeks there was a lot of contact…I think this announcement will start lighting the fire a little bit and bringing guys closer together.”

Matt Nagy on adapting to online meetings: “We are really effective, productive and comfortable now…I feel like we are rolling right now in regards to installs…This is definitely something I think a lot of us, just talking to some other head coaches across the league, it might be something we implement in certain ways in the future.”

Nagy on having less time to figure out the Bears’ QB competition: “We are losing reps right now in the OTAs. We will have to get them back in training camp. We will have to be creative as to how we do that as a staff. But we will make it work.”

Nagy on the Bears declining Mitchell Trubisky’s fifth-year option: “There are dates and times that every team in the league has to go by, and for us, we had to make a decision.”

Nagy on the proposed fourth-and-15 play potentially replacing the onside kick: “What we are trying to do as a staff is be prepared for both…It is going to create some interesting decisions for head coaches to make in that situation. I am always about creativity and making this game the best we can make it.”

Ryan Murphy on the postponement of the Olympics: “The entire process of getting ready to perform at such a high level seems like such a distant memory at this point…Now I am just looking forward to the summer of 2021.”

Murphy on being able to get pool access to train in California: “We are still operating on a couple days schedules. Some days we are going to have pool access and other days we won’t and that is just how it is.”

Murphy on his training for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics: “I was confident. I was putting together some practices that I had never done before. So, I felt like I was in a really, really, really awesome spot…I was really ready to go…I feel like we can chalk up this year as a win.”

Keith Jones on the NHL’s plan to return to play: “This is all in anticipation that the playoffs will happen, and from that perspective, I am extremely happy and very excited to see how this all unfolds.”

Jones on the discussions between the NHL and NHLPA: “I think the NHLPA, NHL and the owners have done a very good job of having these discussions, keeping them private, and emphasizing the health of the players and their families as the most important aspect of this return potentially happening.”

Jones on the Eastern Conference qualifying round match-ups: “I think you can look at them all and there is something compelling about all of them.”

Jones on the NHL’s playoff format: “Best-of-sevens are ideally the way you would love it to be, but I do think that under this format it will be the most difficult Stanley Cup to win ever.”

Brian Boucher on the NHL’s plan to return to play: “There are more hurdles to get over this, but by and large, this is positive news for the National Hockey League going forward.”

Boucher on the partnership between the NHL and NHLPA to create the return to play plan: “When these two sides get together, often times it is contentious but I think in this case, they were fighting for the same thing and they had the same goal in mind and that was to formulate a plan that would be as fair as possible.”

Boucher on the round robin formatting for the top seeds: “It may not be entirely fair for everybody, but I like the idea that those play-in games in the first-round round robin mean something.”

Boucher on the No. 12 Chicago Blackhawks vs. No. 5 Edmonton Oilers qualifying round matchup: “Anytime you look at that five to 12 matchup, that is where you have the most to lose because there is a lot of pressure on a team like Edmonton to get the job done.”

Kathryn Tappen on the NHL’s return to play announcement: “One word to describe it would be, ‘fair.’ I really think the NHL did a tremendous job mapping this out.”

Tappen on the NHL’s playoff format: “I think it is going to be the most exciting hockey we have seen in a long time.”

Tappen on the importance of the return of sports: “I think all of these sports leagues coming together and trying to put together a plan — and that is what this is with the NHL, it is a plan — but look at how much happiness it provided to people in the last 24 hours.”

Following are highlights from The Rich Eisen Show on NBCSN:

Matt Nagy on the Bears quarterback competition: “We all understand that when you win, you’re going to get a lot of praise that you probably shouldn’t get and when you lose it’s the same way…You need to win, that’s how quarterbacks are evaluated…The standards we have, we didn’t reach them last year, but there’s more reasons than just the quarterback. Where Mitch (Trubisky) can get better is the ‘next play mentality’…He’s going to keep growing…We have a healthy QB competition. These guys are very competitive, and it’s going to be interesting to see how it ends up.”

Nagy on the proposed fourth-and-15 rule replacing the onside kick: “It’s definitely unique, I like that part about it. There’s going to be some questions that’ll tell us things we can and can’t do. I’m really excited to see what they say.”

Terrell Davis on Broncos QB Drew Lock: “Drew Lock opened some eyes and really got the confidence of his teammates. As you know, for many years, Denver has been looking for that guy. Not only is he showing it on the field, but his personality in the locker room has really come through. When you have a guy that has an infectious personality that is able to connect with the players and still go on the field and perform, that is encouraging. And he seems to have that ‘it’ factor.”

Davis on the 2020 Denver Broncos: “I’m pretty excited about what Denver looks like this year. In a division with Kansas City, you’ve got to score points. The Denver defense will be good, but to come back to what Kansas City is doing, you have to have an offense.”

Davis on Michael Jordan’s leadership style: “He was hard on a lot of his teammates. But I’m not surprised by that. I’ve seen that with great leaders and players. He wants to be great and he expects everybody else to be the same way and he held them to a standard and held them accountable.”

Davis on John Elway’s leadership style: “He was going to go play and ball out. That’s the way he led. He would rarely say anything and if he said something, it was very significant. It meant something…The presence of John Elway made me have to play better. I had to gain his respect…You didn’t want to let him down. You felt like he had more authority than the coaches.”

Eddie Olczyk on the NHL during the pause: “The league — led by Commissioner (Gary) Bettman and Executive Commissioner Bill Daly — has done an unbelievable job since the middle of March during this pause. They have been out there, answering questions, given information when it was there…The leadership from the Commissioner was second to none.”

Olczyk on the 24-team return to play format: “It’s wide open. I don’t think anything that anybody did prior to the pause really has relevance in what’s going to take place. This is absolutely uncharted territory…I don’t think it favors anybody.”

Olczyk on health and safety protocols: “The hurdles are, from a player’s perspective, how are we going to do this and keep everyone safe? What happens if someone gets sick?…Those things have to be worked out…You’re 10 minutes into the first period of this game to get us back playing here in hopefully late July or early August.”

Olczyk on the 2020 Belmont Stakes being run at 1 mile and an eighth rather than the usual mile and a half distance: “I think it’s being proactive…Doing right by the animals and the sport…The Belmont gets to kick off the Triple Crown, we’ll see if somebody can pull off the feat. If they happen to do it, I will not look at it any differently than I would a normal Triple Crown because this was the hand that was dealt.”

–NBC SPORTS–