The Toledo Blade’s Mark Monroe spoke with former Toledo Walleye coach Derek Lalonde on Saturday. Lalonde has moved on to the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Lalonde helped helm the Lightning to a Stanley Cup while serving as an assistant coach last month:
Known as a players coach with the Walleye (2014-16), Lalonde worked his way up to an assistant coaching position with the NHL franchise. On Monday, the 48-year-old hoisted the Stanley Cup as Tampa Bay became the first team to win the coveted trophy in an isolated bubble.
“It was certainly special,” Lalonde said. “It’s been surreal. I probably still haven’t soaked it all completely in. But it’s starting to come around — how special this run has been.”
Lalonde said he was finally able to take a breath while enjoying a beer with Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper at their favorite watering hole in Tampa on Thursday.
“It was such a non-stop process, playing every other day in the bubble. You’re locked into the process the whole time,” Lalonde said. “So, to finally win it … it was such a unique situation. We would have loved to have had family and friends there, which is obviously very traditional when you win the Stanley Cup. But it was an interesting, exciting experience to get the ultimate prize.”
Continued; Monroe’s article, which includes comments from former Walleye Kyle Bonis and Shane Berchbach, is really worth your time.