Takes and trash talk from both ALL sides of the NHL's most obscure PATHETIC* rivalry

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Don't miss this wildly probable train wreck.

After reading all about the loose cannon, Mark Cuban/Dan Snyder-like possibilities for Len Barrie and the other new Tampa Bay owners, this thing is starting to smell like Washington Redskins.

  • Obviously, there’s the celebrity coach.

It’s hard to judge Barry Melrose with anything but suspicion. He made it as far as the NHL Finals as a coach, but he did have old 9-9 to thank for that. Eventually, he drifted off into ESPN anchorland, without a suitor for more than a decade.
Even if he was a good coach, what are the chances he’ll catch up immediately? Sure, he’s around the game, but now he has to command respect from Michael Jordan, of Hockey.

Here’s the “great” situation Barry is headed into:

  • They already have the eccentric celebrity – new money owner, one of the first of its kind in the NHL. The Lightning feature neo Cuban.

  • Vincent Lecavalier isn’t the Michael Jordan of hockey, but he could be the Lebron James. He’s a young phenom drafted to a semi-embarrassing team (Cavaliers/Lightning) who will always be rumored to leave for their league’s Mecca (New York/Toronto).

  • Second painful Lecavalier fact: lifetime contracts are doomed. Just look at the always-credible WWF. Bret Hart signs a lifetime contract.A year later he’s screwed out of his championship in front of his country which somehow convinces him to break televisions and give a multi-millionaire a black eye.

Every lifetime contract is a disaster. Right, Hitman?

This could very well happen again, only this time it would be real. But the Lightning will probably ruin the fun by locking him up to some outlandish (but only 5-year) contract. Fun killers.

  • Steve Stamkos might be joining a dysfunctional hockey family. Sure, he’s going to be rich in four years. And he’s in Florida, which isn’t a bad place for a 19-year-old to be.

So I guess I can’t feel sorry for him. Still, I wouldn’t blame the kid for pulling a Lindros/Eli Manning.

  • Rick Tocchet. Seriously? If he can get another job, then Marc Crawford shouldn’t sweat it too much.

For these reasons, the Lightning will be one of the teams I’ll be following closely when I get NHL Center Ice.


RudyKelly said...

I don't remember too much about Barry. I know he was known as an offensive coach, but he had Gretzky, Kurri, Kariya, Nichols and Shuchuck on his team. I do remember that he put Gretzky on the 2nd line when he came back from his back injury in '93, and that took some balls. Other than that, though, I don't think he was that great a coach.

kevin said...

The Montreal Screwjob WAS real.

Doogie said...

Except not so much the Kariya. Coffey, yes, for most of the year, anyway.

But yeah, toss out that first year, and he's not looking so hot in the other two seasons.

RudyKelly said...

What the fuck? Why did I write Kariya? I guess Kariya and Tomas Sandstrom kind of look alike.

Ian said...

Well, the Kings basically went into a tailspin after their Finals appearance, largely (IMO) due to a chaotic ownership situation, surprise! Their secondary scoring got too old or left, and they had traded away most of their prospects to surround Gretzky with veterans to Win Now.

Remember also that Melrose got involved in a war with the Kings management, which gets you blacklisted as a coach for a long, long, long time (see Nolan, Ted).

But yeah, all that only means that it's hard to say how good of a coach Melrose was. Given the awful D in Tampa, I wouldn't be surprised if it takes a couple of years to get good again. With the inevitable media focus on the Mullet and Vinny and Stamkos, will Tampa's owners and fans be patient? I doubt it.

Sarah said...

Vinny just signed for 9 years, $77 million. The good news is Vinny is so good naturally, a rabid squirrel could be the coach and he'd still produce.

Ksy92003 said...

I don't know if the Melrose hire is a good one for the team that finished with the worst record in the league last year (he hasn't coached in 13 years). But even then, he's got guys like Lecavalier, St. Louis, and now Stamkos to be able to do something. People are gonna say hiring a guy who hasn't coached at any level in 13 years was a bad decision, but you can't honestly say to my face that it was worse than the Crawford hire two years ago.

Mike in OC said...

But even then, he's got guys like Lecavalier, St. Louis, and now Stamkos to be able to do something

I dunno, Stamkos to me just replaces Brad Richards.... maybe.

net result should be same, with the exception of the coach. Huge downgrade. The guys they got for Brad will help a little though, so again the net result should be right about the same. Worst record in the NHL.