June 24, 2008
The gel isn't even dry on the hair above the mullet, but Ken Campbell of The Hockey News wasted no time in rhetorically destroying the Tampa Bay Lightning's decision to officially hire ESPN's Barry Melrose as head coach today.
"Melrose was never real big on the technical side of the game in the first place. That might have been all right then, but in case the Lightning hasn't noticed, the game has been taken over by coaching and the ability to map out an effective strategy is key to success in today's NHL, particularly with a team that is as bereft of legitimate NHL talent as the Lightning," Campbell writes. Ouch.
Everyone is entitled to his opinion ... except for this one: Melrose was hired partially because he'll "sell lots of tickets with some catchy quotes and acts of notoriety."
Fact one: No one pays to watch a coach outside of Phoenix. Fact two: The Tampa Bay Lightning averaged 94.6 percent capacity and over 18,600 per home game in the most disappointing season in franchise history. All due respect to hockey men much smarter than we are like Ken Campbell and Pierre McGuire, but the "Melrose as sideshow attraction" theory has more holes than Marc Denis and Karri Ramo combined. Stop using it. Now.