June 24, 2008

Melrose Place now in Tampa: Barry Melrose was hired as coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday, returning to the NHL after 12 years as a television analyst because he wants to be "on the inside again."

posted by tommytrump to hockey at 01:37 PM - 12 comments

The mullet is back to coaching on the ice. Melrose certainly has a great hockey flow.

posted by BornIcon at 01:38 PM on June 24, 2008

I'm glad the Mullet is coaching again. He's great as a network analyst on hockey, but it's long past time that Civil War general haircut was back at rinkside.

posted by rcade at 03:18 PM on June 24, 2008

He'll be great for sales, and it's not like he was a terrible coach, but he's been away from the game for a long time (being an analyst, especially at a place where you're the only one in the building who gives a shit, can be a lonely gig). I hope he can get his groove back. Certainly Lecavalier & St. Louis will enjoy playing under him with his offensive-minded approach. But I'm not worried about the Lightning. The Cup win might have been a bit of a fluke, but so was their tanking last year. They'll be fine. More to the point, who's gong to pick up the banner of hockey on ESPN? EJ Hradek is a good reporter, but not exactly the most charismatic guy. Buccigross and Linda Cohn are buried in other portfolios, and the ESPN formula requires that there be at least one nerdy smartass and one jock who's Played The Game on camera at any given time. John Davidson is the other best choice, but he's kinda busy these days (same goes for Brett Hull & Jeremy Roenick), and who else is good, quick, knowledgeable and is known even slightly on the American national stage? I wonder if they're going to try and lure Kelly Hrudey down this way. That'd be alright, and if Don Cherry ever retires, he can always go back to the job I suspect they've been grooming him for.

posted by chicobangs at 03:57 PM on June 24, 2008

who else is good, quick, knowledgeable and is known even slightly on the American national stage? Darren Pang? Brian Engblom? They've both worked for ESPN before.

posted by Jeffwa at 05:51 PM on June 24, 2008

Darren Pang is an excellent commentator when used in a group format (bouncing ideas and discussions off others). I think he deserves a chance to be the colour guy for a national broadcast. Kelly Hrudey is definitely the heir apparent for Don Cherry's job (and, personally, can't take it soon enough).

posted by grum@work at 07:49 PM on June 24, 2008

Kelly H. Rudy should win some kind of "most improved" award. He was awful when he started this "Behind The Mask" business, but now he's pretty good. I like that he talks trash a little, and doesn't seem to take himself too seriously. The CBC needs to take the opportunity presented by the loss of their precious theme song to clean house. Cherry needs to go. MacLean needs to be told to stop being such an arrogant prick. Scott Oake needs meds. Bob Cole should probably retire before complete is his transformation into Yoda. And the whole thing needs to stop reading like every show was produced from the same stock MS Word template. OK, rant over -- I hope Canada keeps Hrudey. I am hoping ESPN decides to lure Pierre McGuire away from my eyes. He's done American TV before.

posted by fabulon7 at 08:42 PM on June 24, 2008

Sorry, fabulon, but I think that I can safely speak for most Americans when I say," We do not want Pierre [deleted] McGuire." One of my first comments on Spofi included a sentence about how much I missed The Mullet. Love him or hate him, the guy eats, sleeps, and breathes hockey. I look forward to seeing him behind the bench.

posted by MrFrisby at 09:37 PM on June 24, 2008

Since Versus has the NHL rights till 2010-11, Melrose was going to be a bit-parter at ESPN unless he jumped networks. I'm sure the past couple of years of bit-part work -- 'hey Barry, do the Top Ten plays where eight are basketball' -- were the spur to his return to the bench. And good luck to him. I can see ESPN treating the NHL the same way it treats Mexican soccer. I'll predict now: they're not going to hire a 'name' replacement to cover the regular season, and they'll try to get Melrose doing bits and pieces for them, especially around playoff time, should the Lightning not make it far.

posted by etagloh at 02:24 AM on June 25, 2008

He'll be great for sales, and it's not like he was a terrible coach, but he's been away from the game for a long time (being an analyst, especially at a place where you're the only one in the building who gives a shit I beg to differ. Hockey is still very relevant to the people over at ESPN since besides Melrose, people spoke highly of hockey. Since it was the NHL that decided to move over to Versus, ESPN now don't give a shit about hockey? It wasn't ESPN's fault that the NHL made the most ridiculous move ever to switch over to a relatively unknown television station. If the NHL were on ESPN, I can guarantee you that not only the ratings would be up but alot more people would know the players as well.

posted by BornIcon at 07:00 AM on June 25, 2008

who else is good, quick, knowledgeable and is known even slightly on the American national stage? He may not be on the national stage, but I fear the day that Daryl Reaugh is poached from the Stars' play by play. He's whip-smart, just punny enough without being over the top, and entertaining as hell. Far and away the best local broadcaster. He'd do quite well in the national spotlight.

posted by Ufez Jones at 09:14 AM on June 25, 2008

Bornicon, that's a cart-vs.-horse argument. You say there were others. Who? Where are they? The NHL left ESPN because there were so few people there pushing to keep it on. It was being routinely pre-empted by World's Strongest Man and poker, fergodsake. There may be hockey fans in the building at Bristol, but none in positions of influence. Otherwise, Versus would still be the bull-riding and cycling network, and that's it. The NHL, on whose back ESPN first made its reputation in the 1980s and 90's, had become ghettoized. Melrose was the only public face of the league on the network for the last three years straight. That's a long time to stand alone. McGuire would be better than nothing, as would be Engblom or Olczyk or Clement, but they are all under contract to Versus, and any of them leaving would cripple that operation. And the last thing we need is to have any NHL media outlets suffer further, no matter how lame they may be. Maybe Bobby Clarke could come back. He's not doing much right now, and your average schmo has at least heard of him. (One more thought - Don Cherry made more appearances on ESPN than ever last year, and I assumed he was just helping Melrose out by giving him a foil. If Cherry moved down here to collect a fat check for a couple of years before retiring for good, it wouldn't do anything for the quality of analysis, but it would generate press for the league, which it eeds more than anything.)

posted by chicobangs at 09:59 AM on June 25, 2008

I was going to recommend Daryl Reaugh too, Ufez. He's great on Stars games and occasionally gets chances to work national telecasts. He isn't that well-known outside of Dallas and places he played, but he'd be a great Melrose on ESPN.

posted by rcade at 12:26 PM on June 25, 2008

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