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Lightning Make Most Controversial Move of the Summer (So Far)

Jun 24, 2008 – 10:34 PM
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Kevin Schultz

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If you've been around the hockey blogosphere at all during the past couple weeks, you've surely heard about the hottest rumor this side of St. Petersburg, Florida -- Barry Melrose coaching the Tampa Bay Lightning. We've heard about it for a while now and today the Lightning finally confirmed it. After 13 years at ESPN and as many years away from coaching, he's coming back. The Mulleted One is going to return to an NHL bench.

At this point, no one is really sure what to make of it. Some think it's insane. The game has passed Melrose by, they say. He wasn't that good of a coach to begin with, they add. Fair points.

There are also those out there in internet land making counterpoints. The game hasn't passed him by, they retort. He's been watching hockey all the time for all these years. Give it time, like a fine wine, they continue.

Both are fair arguments. Both make good points. But, like any prospect you draft, Melrose is either going to pan out he is not. Someone is going to be right and someone is going to be wrong. Sadly for those of us out there with A.D.D. we're not going to get a solution to it soon. It's going to take some time.

To be respected as a coach, Melrose is going to have to prove a couple of things. First off, he's going to have to show that he can manage a locker room and that the game hasn't passed him by. We all know how much attention he pays to the game. Now it's time for him to show us if he's been taking notes. We're also going to see how good he can make a bad situation. The Lightning are great up front but they were the worst team in the league for a reason -- they tied the Thrashers for the most goals against in the NHL last year with 266. Melrose will have to teach this team defense or at least get the Bolts new ownership group to bring some in. This team needs defense like a gold digger needs their spouse's salary. They won't survive without it.

For now, it's all up for debate. Only time will tell how good/bad of a move this is for Tampa Bay. One thing is for sure, though. This is the most controversial move of the summer. That is, until the Islanders promote their stick boy to VP or Kevin Lowe does, well, anything.
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