Tocchet responds to Melrose
By now, you've read the transcript or listened to what former Lightning coach Barry Melrose had to say Tuesday on a Toronto radio station about how current Tampa bay coach Rick Tocchet, basically, is a puppet of ownership and that No. 1 draft pick Steve Stamkos is not ready for the NHL.
We'll have a larger story in Wednesday's paper, but Tocchet was so upset with Melrose's characterization, he felt like he had to sound off.
On Melrose continuing to bash the Lightning: "Yeah, I'm disappointed. I'm not a fan of people who go to the mike all the time to air their dirty laundry. You have a problem, it should have been done before."
On Melrose saying Tocchet is being directed by ownership: "I take it personally, to be honest with you. I'm not a puppet. Ownership doesn't tell me who to play. They are very supportive of me. I have a great coaching staff that helps me make decisions. Like I said, this is our training camp now. We're starting to put a system in place, which I think we're getting better at. We now have a system. ... The only reason I am commenting on this is it was insinuated I was told what to do, and in 24 years in the NHL, the people who know me, I'm not a puppet or told what to do by ownership. That's the only thing. I'm not going to comment on Barry's coaching techniques, for me, it's to set the record straight. Ownership has not told me who to play."
On Melrose saying Stamkos is not ready for the NHL: "I just think he's wrong. I don't think his assessment is right. I think Steve Stamkos is a dynamic young player. It's my job, and our staff's, to teach him to play the right way. He's done that sometimes, and sometimes he's made mistakes, and that's the process of a young guy."
Bottom line: "I'm not going to talk about it any more. I'm the head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning. The decisions are made by me as to who is on the ice, with the help of a great hockey staff. ... To me, our franchise doesn't need this right now. We're reeling. We're trying to win. We're trying to get the guys to play the right way. I just think if we all put this to rest, I don't want to hear Barry on every weekly radio show. That's why I want to get this out. That's what this is all about."
Like I said, a full story in Wednesday's paper, but thought you'd like a taste.