November 17, 2008
We're all for coaches speaking their minds in a candid way after they're dismissed. It's their right, and there is nothing wrong with attempting to bring a different side of the firing to light.
That said: Melrose just added a new layer of embarrassment to the nadir of his hockey career. What delusion. What forced-cool. What an example of a general blaming his troops and his superiors for losing the war.
He blames management's counsel for cutting Vincent Lecavalier's ice time by nearly three minutes per game? And, Barry: Steven Stamkos was more than just a No. 1 pick the team wanted to play more than 11:59 per game; he was the team's No. 2 center, and a vital offensive cog. Getting him going, by any means necessary, had to be a priority rather than an anti-authoritarian stand.
Barry hangs his hat on the Lightning having the best first-period defense on the NHL. That and a token will get you on the subway. The real issue is goal-scoring, which the Lightning didn't do. And that's where Melrose, even if he refuses to self-evaluate this way, was an epic failure.
He changed the team's offensive philosophy. Either he misjudged the personnel or didn't allow the defense to get involved enough (the Bolts have three goals from their defense all season) or he didn't earn the team's trust in his circa-1995 system; whatever the case, it's his offense that failed to produce.
But hey, Barry: At least you can tell your buddies in the media all those tales about rampant dysfunction in Tampa. As if you didn't contribute to it.