Originally posted on Awful Announcing  |  Last updated 12/26/12
One of the great sporting headscratchers in the last decade was the Tampa Bay Lightning's decision to hire ESPN NHL analyst Barry Melrose to be their head coach in 2008, a full 13 years after he last stood behind an NHL bench.  The mulleted one's stint as Lightning head coach was nothing short of a disaster.  Melrose was fired after 16 games and the ugliness continued afterwards with Melrose and Lightning ownership throwing barbs at one another including the fired coach saying, "I hope Tampa Bay doesn't win a game in the next year." Just as fast as you could say Vincent LeCavalier, Melorse was back on ESPN less than two months after his Tampa Bay dismissal and moved on with his television career analyzing the NHL like nothing ever happened. But Melrose's time on the Lightning bench interrupting a lenghty television career remains one of the stranger stories in recent memory.  And it just so happens Barry Claus dropped a Christmas gift off at ESPN.com with a published excerpt from an autobiography Melrose released this fall about his Lightning tenure.  In the excerpt, Melrose confirms what we all knew - it was never going to work from the start. "Tampa Bay was an impossible scenario for a coach. The players knew it was a screwed-up situation, and I knew it was a screwed-up situation. The owners knew I wasn’t going to change, and I knew they weren’t going to change. After a short period of time, they decided I wasn’t the type of guy they wanted to run their team. I think they consulted with the players. The players didn’t really like the way I was doing things, either, so it was an easy thing for them to let me go.   Today’s players are very powerful. When I coached the L.A. Kings in 1993, there was one millionaire on the team. In Tampa Bay in 2008, there was only one guy on the team who wasn’t a millionaire.  [...] You can’t have it both ways as a coach. You can’t be a disciplinarian and a buddy. You can’t be disciplining guys, trying to convince them to do what you want, and have them out socializing with the owner. My termination was the right call because it wasn’t going to work and everyone could see that. Calling it quits early was probably the best thing for me, because I could get on with my life without a long interruption, and could pick up with ESPN where I left off." A couple questions immediately come to mind.  Why would ESPN.com publish an excerpt from Melrose's book more than two months after it was released.  Also, why would you publish it on Christmas Day if you were hoping to draw any publicity for it?  Honestly, I had no idea Barry Melrose even wrote a book until I saw a tiny headline well down the ESPN.com front page last night.  You would have thought Barry Claus would have found a way to get more publicity for his autobiography than the days of publicity ESPN gave Billy Crystal for Parental Guidance. Regardless, Melrose still does his best to deflect the blame onto owners and players while sliding in the fact that he knew it was a "screwed-up situation."  Melrose is good on television and he never should have left in the first place.  His TV career at ESPN has lasted more than four times longer than his tenure as an NHL coach.  Basically, nobody was going to change their ways in Tampa Bay and returning to Bristol was the best option for all involved.   Besides, dressing up as Santa Claus and handing out imaginary presents for the purposes of television and making sporadic appearances to talk hockey has to be a much less stressful life for Barry Melrose. [ESPN.com]
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Top 10 matchups for Week 12 of the NFL season

Tyrann Mathieu says Blaine Gabbert has a ‘better grip on what’s going on’

NCAA frees Kansas blue chipper Cheick Diallo

Rockets hold in-season training camp in attempt to rebound from disastrous start

Kansas City Chiefs: No Jamaal Charles, no problem

How the Warriors can win 72 games


Frank Gifford suffered from CTE, family announces

Syracuse basketball gets one scholarship per year back

LeBron James says his back feels better than it did a year ago

Sean Payton on firing Rob Ryan: Status quo ‘would be madness’

Report: Blue Jackets listening to offers for Ryan Johansen

Report: Greg Hardy cancels club event after 'catching heat'

How the Detroit Lions became the face of football on Thanksgiving Day

The 10 most disappointed fan bases of the 2015 college football season

Jimmy Butler wants Mason Plumlee to pay his $2,500 fine

Jose Bautista's bat flip inspires a holiday sweater

The Kristaps Porzingis comparison project

What’s next for Johnny Manziel and the Cleveland Browns?

Gisele Bundchen asks Tom Brady ‘all the time’ why he still plays football

Highlighting the biggest NFL games of Week 12

Greg Olsen calls Jason Witten 'the epitome of a pro'

Are Sidney Crosby and Mario Lemieux growing apart?

Stop sleeping on Giannis Antetokounmpo

Worst-case scenarios for end of college football season

Capitals, Wizards owner Ted Leonsis opposed to 'meddling'

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Top 10 matchups for Week 12 of the NFL season

The 10 most disappointed fan bases of the 2015 CFB season

Gronk: Takes mental toughness not to overeat on Thanksgiving

Blue Jays fans create website in effort to keep David Price

The five most overrated teams in the Week 13 coaches' poll

10 storylines for Week 13 of the college football season

Ranking the 10 best games of 2015 college football rivalry week

Examining the Mavericks' hot start

Johnny Bench(ed): Manziel demoted to third string

Mike Trout, four years in

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker