With just a 5-7-4 record in his first 16 games as coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning, it appears that Barry Melrose might go back to being an actor on the good ol’ Hockey Falls commercials. Barry Melrose, not even in his 5th month of coaching Tampa, has been fired. Coming into the coach’s seat is associate coach Rick Tocchet.
The Lightning are currently on a three-game losing streak and have won just four of their last ten games, dropping them to 4th in the Southeast Division.
Tampa Bay Executive Vice President and General Manager Brian Lawton said, “This was a tough decision to make. Barry is a good man and we have a great deal of respect for him. We wish him nothing but success. However, the results were unacceptable, and the players have to understand that we need to be better. Hopefully this change helps push them.”
The firing of Melrose could be beneficial for rookie center Steven Stamkos. The former member of the Sarnia Sting has only scored two goals and two assists in his first 16 NHL games; three of those points (2 goals, 1 assist) were scored on October 30 when Tampa Bay played the Buffalo Sabres. Stamkos, who never had an ice time of more than 15 minutes in any NHL game this season, may see more ice time under Rick Tocchet. Stamkos’ fantasy owners should consider playing him more from here on out.