Melrose's accusations should include names
Ever since Barry Melrose was fired as Lightning coach last week, he has made the rounds on national TV in Canada and the United States, talking about how the players revolted and got him fired. Certainly he has the right to say whatever he wants. And maybe what he is saying is true.
But if you are going to blame it on the players, then the upright thing to do is to actually name the players who did you in. By making broad accusations, every player comes under suspicion, especially high-profile ones such as Vinny Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis.
In his most damning interview so far, Melrose went on the highly-viewed Hockey Night in Canada and blasted away: "Yeah, I think the players didn't want to play for me. You don't have to be Kreskin to figure that out. … Obviously, a lot of guys didn't like to be held accountable with this team. And obviously they went to (management) and said they don't like this style of coaching and would you get rid of him? I don't think there's any secret about that.''
Actually, it is a secret if Melrose isn’t naming names.
The interview was conducted by Ron MacLean, one of the best in the business and one of hockey's most-respected voices. But in an ill-timed off moment, MacLean clearly let Melrose off the hook by not pressing him on these accusations and demanding that he name names -- first to make his accusations more believable and, second, point the finger solely at the players who deserved to have the finger pointed at them.
It's a question Times hockey writer Damian Cristodero asked Melrose on Tuesday. Would he name names?
"No, I don't think so,'' Melrose said. "I'm done with it now. It's water under the bridge. I'm going to move on.''
So you drop bombs, make accusations against players who cannot defend themselves, then walk away and say it’s over? That's neither fair nor honorable. Players like Lecavalier and St. Louis always have held themselves accountable and played for a coach (John Tortorella) who was one of the most demanding hockey has ever seen. And because of that, their names are on the Stanley Cup -- something Melrose can't say. Yet their names and reputations are now in question because of Melrose's sweeping generalization that the "players'' got him fired. That seems wrong.