You might remember Bruce McNall, the “billionaire” who brought Wayne Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings from Edmonton and later drove the team into bankruptcy and went to jail for almost five years after admitting to defrauding six banks out of almost $250 million. But what about Peter Pocklington, the Oilers owner who traded Gretzky?
(Peter Pocklington eyes dollar signs in the distance after selling Gretzky.)
Well, he’s no longer the Oilers owner, and he’s left Canada, and not because of the hate Canadians feel towards him for trading Gretzky. As THE GLOBE AND MAIL details, he fled to the U.S. to escape a series of bad business deals and angry investors seeking blood. Now the CBC says that he’s been arrested at his home in Palm Springs and charged with bankruptcy fraud.
Poor Barry Melrose. For 13 years, he waited for another turn at coaching in the NHL, his career reduced to Token Hockey Guy on ESPN. Then this June, he finally gets the call from the Tampa Bay Lightning, who install him as a head coach. Unfortunately, the experiment is a disaster; their 18-year-old “star,” #1 pick Steven Stamkos, is in so far over his head that even Melrose admits flat-out that Stamkos is “not ready for the NHL.” The Lightning register a 5-7-4 record in their first 16 games, and Melrose is unceremoniously dumped.
(This was the last time he ever smiled.)
Will the charismatic, bemulleted former coach slink back to Bristol with his tail between his legs? No, not quite; while Melrose is set to return to ESPN on January 1, he held no punches when talking with Toronto’s FAN 590 about his time in Tampa Bay. Let’s start right out with the biggest haymaker thrown: “I hope Tampa Bay doesn’t win a game for the rest of the year.”
Well, I guess the Tampa Bay Lightning are disappointed in ESPN’s hockey coverage this year, too, because they’ve decided to kick coach Barry Melrose to the curb after just 16 games. The ‘Ning are off to a 5-7-4 start, which isn’t very good but also not necessarily enough time to really know that Barry’s going to be a failure.
Even worse, the team has decided to promote convicted gambling promoter Rick Tocchet to interim head coach. Ouch, Barry. First, you leave that cushy TV job where you get to show off that mullet every night and bring joy to the world with your pronunciations of “ay-gaynst” and “organ-eye-zation,” and now the team thinks it’s better off with a criminal coaching the team.