TSN is reporting that the Lightning are exploring ways to get out of paying the remainder of Barry Melrose's contract after the former Tampa coach said he did not believe that rookie Steven Stamkos was ready for the National Hockey League.
What's funny to me is that in 13 years at ESPN, Melrose said nothing controversial. In the last year and a half (if you're counting his comments about Newark), he's been all over the news with what's come out of his mouth. He certainly hasn't left Tampa with any friends from this video from TSN inside the locker room.
Couldn't you just feel the disgust in Vincent Lecavalier's voice?
Melrose has now moved from bashing Tampa ownership, wishing a win-less finish to the '08-09 season to his former team, and now claiming he was told who to play, specifically Stamkos.
"He didn't want Steven on this team from day one, and it was evident how he played him," [Len] Barrie said, according to the Times. "Everyone knows this kid is a star player." ... "But my thing is you're paid to do a job, and he didn't do it from day one. How he came in and prepared for this job was total negligence,"
I have a hard time thinking that Melrose entered into the Tampa Bay job unprepared as Barrie claims. The former Los Angeles Kings coach pined to get back behind the bench for years while he was at ESPN. If anything, Melrose was too far out of touch with the current NHL to succeed as a coach.
Unfortunately, I don't see this story ending anytime soon and it should be fun to see how Melrose analyzes and critiques his former team once he begins his second tenure with ESPN on January 1.
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