Here's something that's been stuck in my craw for a couple of weeks, because I can't quite figure it out. Barry Melrose coached in the NHL for exactly three seasons. In two of them, he missed the playoffs, which was almost impossible in the early '90s NHL. Then he spent 13 years riding an ESPN analyst desk, and somehow the Tampa Bay Lightning figured that this was enough to bring him out of retirement and run their team. For 16 games.
Then, they apparently decided that was enough for them to know it wasn't going to work and they gave him the boot. I believe the term is "small sample size." Or maybe as Melrose told a Toronto radio show, "It wasn't a hockey decision ... I wouldn't give in and they figured the best way of getting their way was to get rid of me."
Does it make him happy to know that Tampa has only won once since he got fired?
"I'm not going to lie to you, yeah it does, and any coach that says it doesn't is a liar. I hope Tampa Bay doesn't win a game the rest of the year."
How do you feel about Tampa co-owner Len Barrie?
"Lenny was, uh ... like I said, I hope Oren Koules does well, I like Oren."
Is it true that a front office employee tried to diagram plays for you during a game?
"No, because I wouldn't let it happen, but I can guarantee you that was one of the reasons I was let go because I wouldn't let stuff like that happen. Now they can do whatever they want, it doesn't matter to me and they've got the guys in charge to let them do it."
Anyway, Melrose is headed back to ESPN where he belongs and Tampa is right back where it belongs—in the basement. And that's just the way Melrose likes it.