Monday, June 23, 2008

Melrose To Be Named Lightning Coach

While the past week or so on this blog has been dedicated to the Florida Panthers, there is now hockey news to report from across the state. ESPN Analyst Barry Melrose will be named head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning today.

Melrose has been out of coaching since 1995, when he joined up with ESPN. His only stint in the NHL came behind the bench of the L.A. Kings, and led the Kings to the Stanley Cup Finals in his debut season. He also led 2 minor league teams to championships, the '87 Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL), and the Adirondack Red Wings (AHL) in '91.

The Lightning ended last season in last place in the eastern conference, and were recently sold to new owners, Palace Sports. In the recently completed entry draft, the Bolts had the #1 overall pick, which they used to select consensus #1 Steve Stamkos. Stamkos led the Sarnia Sting of the OHL with 58 goals and 105 points in 61 games. He joins former #1 overall Vincent Lecavalier in Tampa.

While this choice has the stench of a publicity stunt on the surface, it's much deeper than that. Melrose has been in the booth since 1995. But when ESPN chose not to cover hockey post-lockout, Melrose was left with little to do but give a semi-regular 2 minute segments on SportsCenter. He's made it known he wants to get back to coaching. Now he has his chance. There's no question that few have more knowledge of the game. It will just be interesting to see how he makes the transition back into coaching.


ASponge said...

I'm really going to miss Melrose on the airwaves. Where else will I get my information on who has the best Western Canadians and who's a goon, all in that knowledgeable, but fun-poking demeanor.

This seems like it could be lose-lose for everybody.

FloridaPanthers4ever said...

Melrose might be the worst guy on ESPN. I don't like the guy and now I'm not going to like him even more

Imber said...

I'll definitely miss Melrose. He was doing his best to keep some attention on ESPN. Honestly, I don't think he's going to do too much for TB, but we'll see huh?