November 14, 2008

Barry Melrose Fired After 16 Games, Replaced by Rick Tocchet

Thanks to Anthony Woods of Far Away Leaf for passing along the news of Barry Melrose's firing while I "diligently" worked in the office. While many didn't think he'd last long in his second coaching tenure, personally, I didn't think he'd get canned this early. There had to have been some sort of player's revolt within the locker room towards Melrose or Tampa executives wanted to actually see Steven Stamkos on the ice. I had been saying all along that with all the drastic changes that owners Len Barrie and Oren Koules made over the summer, they would give Melrose time to succeed and stick it in the faces of any detractors.

The Lightning are off to a 5-7-4 start, good for 13th in the Eastern Conference and have lost five out of their last six games.

From the team release:

“This was a tough decision to make,” Lawton said. “Barry is a good man and we have a great deal of respect for him. We wish him nothing but success. However, the results were unacceptable and the players have to understand that we need to be better. Hopefully this change helps push them.

“As for Rick Tocchet, we think this is a great opportunity for him and we believe he’s the type of coach who can take the team to the next level. Our players have a great deal of respect for him.”

Now the question becomes how soon until he's back on ESPN as their head hockey analyst and how that would affect Matthew Barnaby's role with the WWL.

Or could Versus and NHL Network come calling?

UPDATE: Melrose speaks to his old employer on his firing. I love his opening line, so true.

Ballhype: hype it up!

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7th Woman said...

Wait... is this for real? OMG! Look what you miss when you actually WORK during the day!

JPFDeuce said...

Sean, the entire situation is FUBAR in Tampa. Barry walked into a deal where he was encouraged by ownership... But then the volatility of the Tampa Bay offseason happened. Add to it the ultra-short pre-season (spanning two continents) and you have a coach that didn't have as much time to mark the team with his own style and get it through to the players. Oh, they are professionals but you still have to learn the system.

Then factor in continued roster instability and you have this grand mess that Barry was part of. Which way is up in TB? OK Hockey won't clue in the fans or anyone else on the direction... or what is to come next.

The Legend of Vincent Tremblay said...

I'm sure ESPN would be happy to have both Melrose and Barnaby.

Why is everybody looking at me like that?