10 facts about expected Lightning coach Barry Melrose

The Penguins’ Georges Laraque, left, shows why Barry Melrose wouldn’t want to fight him.

Associated Press

The Penguins’ Georges Laraque, left, shows why Barry Melrose wouldn’t want to fight him.

You know all the essential things about Barry Melrose — former Kings coach, ESPN commentator and, of course, proud owner of the "mullet," right. But you might not know these 10 things about the man expected to be named today as the Lightning's new coach.

He is a first cousin of Maple Leafs legend Wendel Clark, top right, who played with the Lightning, and a distant cousin of former Red Wing Joey Kocur, right.

He has several acting credits, always playing himself. He was in Slap Shot 2: Breaking the Ice, one of the worst movie sequels of all time, as well as the not-so-bad Mystery, Alaska, which starred Russell Crowe and Burt Reynolds. And Lightning founder Phil Esposito played himself. Melrose even appeared on the ABC sitcom Spin City.

He once was a disciple of Tony Robbins, the business guru who used to end seminars with people walking over hot coals. Melrose even appeared in a Robbins infomercial.

There is a Web blog called "Barry Melrose Rocks." It reads:

Barry Melrose Rocks. After all, nothing says hockey like a thoroughly greased mullet. Analysis, rambling and rants from around the NHL (from a guy who is NOT Barry Melrose).

Melrose lost the 1993 Stanley Cup to the Canadiens and a coach Lightning fans are very familiar with: the lovable Jacques Demers, right. After the series, Melrose said, "I told Jacques that if I had to lose to somebody, I am glad it was to you. He is a great man, and I love him. Hockey needs more coaches like Jacques Demers."

Let's just say he was an NHL tough guy. In 300 games, he had only 10 goals with 23 assists. And 728 penalty minutes!

He has a fishing fly named after him. It's the "Melrose Mullet," and it is made to attract big fish who are not too picky about what they eat.

Everybody talks about Melrose's coaching career, but he was a heck of a player. Well, at least as a junior. He was good enough to be taken in the second round — 36th overall — in the 1976 NHL draft by the Montreal Canadiens.

In 2004, Melrose and ESPN buddy Steve Levy became part-owners of the Adirondack Frostbite of the United Hockey League. They suspended operations two years later.

To reach Tom Jones: (727) 893-8544 or tjones@sptimes.com

Tom Jones' Two Cents

A weight-training Web site called CriticalBench.com did a Q&A with Melrose and he was asked, "If you could fight anyone in hockey, who would you fight and not want to fight?" Melrose answered, "I'd fight Marty St. Louis, and I would not want to fight Georges Laraque."

10 facts about expected Lightning coach Barry Melrose 06/23/08 [Last modified: Friday, June 27, 2008 9:42am]

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