Melrose: No contact about Lightning
The rumor, as put out there Saturday night by Al Strachan, former Toronto Sun reporter and now a contributor to CBC's Hockey Night in Canada, is that coach John Tortorella will be fired this summer after Hollywood producer Oren Koules takes over as team owner, and ESPN analyst and former Kings coach Barry Melrose will be named coach.
Before anyone jumps to any conclusions, remember this is the time of year when there is all kinds of talk. Expect more of it this summer because of the unsettled nature of everything having to do with the team, most of it stemming from the proposed sale from Palace Sports & Entertainment to Koules. And as Melrose said, "The last I heard, John Tortorella was the coach there, so there's not much I can talk about."
Still, it is enough to log in that the rumor is out there.
Melrose said he has not spoken to Koules or any representative from the Lightning about the Tampa Bay job. In fact, he said he did not know of Strachan's comments until some "buddies" called him Saturday night to inform him.
Still, Tortorella's job security is uncertain after he recently told GM Jay Feaster that perhaps it was time he stepped down. Tortorella took that back, of course, and said he now wants to stay for the last year of his contract.
As for Melrose, who coached the Kings from 1992-95 and led the team to the 1993 Stanley Cup final, he said he knows Koules through players such as former Kings star Luc Robitaille and Kings defenseman Rob Blake, both of whom played for Melrose. As for coaching again, he said, "I've said it several times, I would love to coach again. You're always watching, always talking, what you would do in situations."