Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Lightning Strkes,
The final score sheet from Sunday’s game had one very interesting stat. It claimed the Lightning outhit the Devils 23-18 during a 7-3 loss. It’s a mystery to me what they were looking at to find 41 total hits, but it is even more perplexing to believe Tampa Bay had more hits.
A couple of smacks here and there by Evgeny Artyukhin and Ryan Malone were so startling, the fans gave them more of a cheer than they probably deserved. But that’s what happens when things like that become rare. Let’s face it, this team just is not built for any kind of physical game, and it’s a shame because more often than not, when a hit is made, a turnover is the result.
It’s frustrating for me, not as a fan of the team but a fan of physical hockey to watch games without much hitting. I can only imagine what it is like for Lightning fans to watch, not only opponents not be challenged but puck battles constantly being lost.
from Jim Kelley at Sports Illustrated,
Melrose got fired because he didn’t know what he was doing.
He might think it was because his players didn’t like that he publically chastised them after the first two games of the season (in Europe no less) or that he resorted to his celebrated cold-shoulder approach when he walked out of the locker room and left them to practice on their own the day before a game just prior to his being dismissed, but that’s hardly the case.
He got fired because he didn’t do game-prep well, manage his players and bench effectively, and was regularly outcoached by opponents, many of whom knew what they were doing behind the bench and took advantage of the fact that Melrose did not have a clue.
from Lightning Strkes,
On Saturday, Hockey Night in Canada’s Al Strachan said in an unsourced report, “I heard Vinny Lecavalier went in to ownership and said, ‘I didn’t like it under (former coach John) Tortorella. This is worse under this guy and you’ve got to get rid of him’ “
“I didn’t do it. I don’t know what else to say,” Lecavalier said Wednesday. Later, he reiterated, “I’m telling you, I didn’t say anything. I don’t think any of the guys did. He’s just saying that.”
Asked if he worries his reputation can be tarnished by such accusations, even if they are not true, Lecavalier said, “To tell you the truth, I don’t. (Strachan) said what he had to say ... but there weren’t facts.”
Since the Panthers/Lightning game was not televised last night, lete’s turn to George Richards of On Frozen Pond for all of the action…
Greetings from the Chik-fil-A Center in uptown Sunrise where I’m listening to Randy ‘Red Deer’ Moller and Billy ‘I Beat the Bruins’ Lindsay broadcast live from Tampa.
Yes, Randy just sold his soul and called it Hockey Bay USA….
On TV Tonight Instead of the Panthers: Seinfeld is on TBS, the boys selling NBC on a “show about nothing.’’ Also, Two and a Half Men on Channel 39. Minnesota and Pitt tied at 1 on Versus. Heat lead the Capitals, err Bullets, on Sunshine Network.
FSN bringing us the ever-exciting, ever-important Tennessee-Martin/Tennessee basketball game. I wouldn’t watch this matchup if it was a football game.
from Erik Erlendssen of Bolts Report,
I had the opportunity earlier today to submit some questions to Lightning co-owner Oren Koules to get some of his thoughts about the direction of the team since Barry Melrose was let go on Friday….
Q: What can you say to fans who may be soured by the start of the team on the ice and the issues off the ice? Do you still believe you have a good hockey team or do more changes need to be made?
OK: In talking to many players coaches and general managers around the league, most feel we have a very good hockey team. And as I said above, I still very much believe we will make the playoffs. In fact, with 65 games left to play, we are three points out of the playoffs. So I feel pretty good about things the way they are now.
“When people are staying away from you, and you see people talking together that don’t usually talk [then you know],” Melrose told Hockey Night In Canada. “I’ve been around a long time and have been through this before so I wasn’t caught by surprise by this.”...
Melrose believes some disgruntled players who were wary of his no-nonsense approach went to ownership and complained about his coaching style.
Melrose also criticized the club’s skaters for not supporting goaltender Olaf Kolzig offensively in his return to Washington, where he played for more than 15 years. The Lightning scored just twice in the Monday loss.
“I think the players didn’t want to play for me,” he said.” You don’t have to be Kreskin to figure that out. I demand players play hard and play with passion and courage.
more and you can watch the interview Ron MacLean did with Melrose earlier this evening.
added 9:25pm, The video can also be viewed below…
from the CP via TSN,
Interim coach Rick Tocchet had players breathing hard during his first practice Saturday, looking to install high-tempo play for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Tocchet’s coaching style will include lessons learned from the coaches he played and worked for, such as Scotty Bowman, Mike Keenan, Wayne Gretzky and Jim Schoenfeld. It also will reflect his own hard-nose playing days.
‘‘Paul Coffey left me a message. ‘Make sure you do what you believe in. Don’t compromise,’‘’ Tocchet said. ‘‘I’m pretty easy-going guy, a fair guy, but I believe in a certain way to play.’‘
via Ben Wright of Blueland Blog,
I have a scenario running through my head that makes a lot of sense. It hasn’t happened yet, but that doesn’t mean it won’t. Picture this- Carolina, after a third straight loss, decided to make a change behind the bench (this hasn’t happened yet). They bring in a whip cracker (how about Bob Hartley). Then Laviolette, who has a firm but more friendly approach, goes to Tampa where they’ve been beaten up by Torts and Melrose.
via Lightning Strikes,
The Lightning today fired coach Barry Melrose and named Rick Tocchet the head coach.
Update 4:37pm ET (Alanah): From Bolts Report—
Tampa Bay Lightning Head Coach Barry Melrose has been relieved of his duties and Associate Coach Rick Tocchet has been elevated to interim head coach, Executive Vice President & General Manager Brian Lawton announced today. Melrose, 52, was named the sixth head coach in Lightning history on June 24, and compiled a 5-7-4 record this season.
“This was a tough decision to make,” Lawton said. “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.
“As for Rick Tocchet, we think this is a great opportunity for him and we believe he’s the type of coach who can take the team to the next level. Our players have a great deal of respect for him.”
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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