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.
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.”