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"My Take On The Preds"
TN • United States • 40 Years Old • Male
Ever since the news of the return of Barry Melrose was announced I can't get it out of my head. I just find it odd. I think Barry made a fine contributor to ESPN's attempt to cover the NHL but there was something about the bloodshot eyes and the Sauve hair product dripping from his mullet that have me wondering if this is the right move by Tampa.

A few questions I have:

Will the players respect Barry? This is a question that I have pondered here in Nashville when the 'fire Barry Trotz talk' would surface because people would always throw Terry Crisp's name into the ring. I wonder once a guy is away from the bench for so long and is more friend than mentor to the player can the relationship/or assumed relationship change? I think the right person can change it but it may take a while. There could be unneeded growing pains.

How is he with his X's and O's? Despite hearing him breakdown games I have never really thought of Barry as an X's and O's kind of guy. Tampa has some great young players and one incredible talent in Steven Stamkos and these players really need someone who can teach them the ins and outs of the NHL game. Maybe Barry can do that but that doesn't strike me as his strong suit.

What does Tampa expect from him? Does Hollywood producer and new owner of the Lighting Oren Koules want to put a little star power behind the bench? Do they think they need an ESPN figure to help sell seats? If Stamkos alone doesn't sell an extra 2,000 in season tickets then you have a problem. Yes, I know Barry has won at every level and even took the Kings to a final but does anyone else say 'but he had Gretzky on his team' when that is brought up?

Don't get me wrong Tampa fans. I wish you and Barry well. I think getting some new/old blood back behind the bench is a good idea. We've seen the same players on the coaching carousel for a while now...bringing back someone like Melrose could be good for hockey in Tampa and might be good for some good sound bites as well.

If Eklund is right and Barry is looking at trying to bring in Ray Emery I think it's a great idea. Ray has talent. He is a freakin head case but he has talent. I would like to take a chance on a guy who is trying to prove to the entire league that he belongs!

Now that I've talked about this I feel better...thanks for listening and letting me talk about something non-Preds related.
Filed Under:   lighting   predjoe   melrose   stamkos   emery   eklund   mullet  
June 25, 2008 10:53 AM ET | Delete
Personally I think Melrose will be fine. Everyone has talked about his ability to motivate and get the most out of players. Perhaps he'll leave Xs and Os to the assistants while he lights fires underneath whoever needs it. No doubt there'll be an adjustment period for him, though.I'm not so sure about Emery though. TB has an awesome goalie in Mike Smith, and he's ready for primetime, not some platoon situation. Emery will demand the spotlight and #1 role too. That just sounds like a problem ready to explode.
June 25, 2008 11:03 AM ET | Delete
I don't think Melrose will have any trouble earning players' respect. The guy is an ambassador to the sport and he knows his hockey. While I agree that he might not have the mastery of X's and O's that other coaches have, I think he'll make a great leader.
June 25, 2008 11:21 AM ET | Delete
Although they kinda stunk last year, because Tampa Bay has a pretty decent team I think Melrose will do well there. The question in my mind will be if the team starts to struggle, then what? I think "Players' coaches" seem to have a rough ride when it's time to grab the whistle and really make the boys skate in practice.
June 25, 2008 2:26 PM ET | Delete
Melrose last coached 13 years ago. He coached for 3 years with only 82 wins out of 216 games for a not so hot .448 win percentage. THN blasted the move and questioned why Tampa would let go a successful guy like John Tortorella in favor of Melrose. He may succeed or it could turn out to be a colossal mistake. Only time will tell.
June 25, 2008 2:35 PM ET | Delete
arwilson529 - Great point on Mike Smith....totally forgot that they traded for him. Ray does NOT like to be number two. I think we can all agree he made that pretty clear!
June 25, 2008 10:22 PM ET | Delete
I agree with what blueline said.On a sidenote, i think Melrose is a complete moron. His views on ESPN are completely biased and it seems like he doesnt know what he is talking about half the time. Young talent a bad coach= no good for tampa.
June 26, 2008 9:15 AM ET | Delete
What was so good about Tortorella? I never saw/heard anything out of the guy that suggested he was the least bit good.
June 26, 2008 3:46 PM ET | Delete
nyy - besides the general consensus in the hockey world that Tortorella is a good coach (excellent coach?), how about four playoff appearances and four 90 point seasons in his six years as TB's head coach? Oh, and lest I forget, he won a Cup, as in Stanley.
June 26, 2008 10:33 PM ET | Delete
To further clarify - that's four seasons in excess of 90 points - 93, 106, 92, and 93 to be exact.
June 26, 2008 10:43 PM ET | Delete
As far as Xs and Os assistant coaches, it appears that TB has not accomplished that either. Here is a quote from Mike Brophy's article of June 24th. [Quote]: "Hiring assistant coaches Rick Tocchet and Wes Walz is also a curious move. Tocchet has some experience as an assistant with Phoenix, but Walz has no coaching experience and disappeared from the Minnesota Wild this season under peculiar circumstances. The hiring of Melrose might have been easier to swallow if he was brought in with a reputable Xs and Os man to help plot strategy. That does not appear to be the case." [End quote] Plus, Melrose is earning more than Mike Babcock's just negotiated contract. Something is not right with the setup.
June 28, 2008 1:55 AM ET | Delete
Melrose is a joke. His coaching philosophy was "go get em Wayne". The Lightning players are a group that stopped trying last year and got their tough coach fired. Funny they liked him when they won the cup with the same coach! This is a team that doesn't block shots, doesn't play a system, they just free wheel all over the ice. I hope Barry doesn't buy a house! He won't be there long! That group needs a coach to kick butt and employ a system. That group lost all their focus after the cup and they all have fat contracts! By the way, Melrose was without a doubt THE WORSE NHL ANNOUNCER AND STUDIO GUY. He is the single reason why people stopped watching ESPN. The team that scored last in every broadcast was the greatest and the other team sucked. He offered no teaching or education of the game to fans. Watch TSN or Sportsnet broadcasts and highlight packages to see the difference. The NHL will get a TV deal thanks to the NHL Network exposure. That channel is great and they were very smart not to hire Barry Melrose!
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