Syracuse Crunch head coach Jon Cooper paced around his team’s renovated locker room Tuesday afternoon. The only protected patch of the Crunch’s new carpet was its fresh logo, a symbol which hockey lore demands must never be trod upon.
Cooper was antsy as he flexed a goalie stick, got into a goalie’s stance, flipped around pucks and played with a clothes hanger. He spied stray details like an eagle targets a field mouse, noting a light that needed replacing, a dirty water bottle rack and a patch of the floor that felt uneven beneath him.
“I would say I’m very observant. I just want to make sure there’s no excuses for people,” Cooper said of the players who will soon fill that room. “I want the guys to want to come to the rink and not to leave. That’s what we’re doing in Syracuse.”