The Lightning Strike Back
On Tuesday former coach of the Tampa Lightning, Barry Melrose, criticized his former team on a Toronto radio show stating that he "hopes they don't win another game this year". Melrose also took a cheap shot at Steven Stamkos saying that he wasn't ready for this NHL season. These bitter words of an ex coach shocked the lightning players who feel it was un-called for.
"It wasn't a very classy comment to make," Lightning goaltender Mike Smith told TSN on Thursday. "All the guys in the room don't have that much respect for him now. We respected him when he was here - guys played hard for him when he was our coach, but for him to go on like that shows how much he disrespects our team."
The Lightnings record thus far is anything but impressive. With a record of 1-10-4 going into Thursday nights game against Montreal its hard to tell what needs to be done to bump up their performance. As for Stamkos, he mentioned that under Melrose his ice time was limited but with Tocchet he feels he can develop into a contributing member of the team. Lightning co-owner Len Barrie, who had his hand in the firing of Melrose and that his coaching of Stamkos was a major factor in the decision.
"The way Steven was treated early in the season, he was pretty close to being yanked out of there by his agent and his family - and that's how bad it's gotten," he said. "Telling him to hit and go out there physically - that's not Stamkos' kind of game. It was just a disconnect - he (Melrose) said it right, it wasn't his kind of team. There wasn't enough fighting and enough penalties."
Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier told reporters that he wasn't paying much attention to the media's coverage of Melrose's rant and shrugged it off as the words of an angry ex-coach
"He got fired - it's a tough situation when a team loses and usually the first person to go is the coach and I understand that," he said. "But it's part of business and that's the way it goes. He was frustrated, but sometimes you should stop talking."