Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Lightning: Melrose has a soft spot for Maple Leafs

Coach Barry Melrose rooted for the Maple Leafs growing up and coached against them while with the Kings in the 1993 playoffs. The Kings won in seven games to make the Cup final.


Coach Barry Melrose rooted for the Maple Leafs growing up and coached against them while with the Kings in the 1993 playoffs. The Kings won in seven games to make the Cup final.

TORONTO — Lightning coach Barry Melrose said the Maple Leafs were his favorite team growing up. And it was the Leafs the Melrose-coached Kings prevented from reaching the 1993 Stanley Cup final.

"I think that was one of the best series the NHL has had in the last 30 years," Melrose said of the seven-game Campbell Conference final.

"With (Wayne) Gretzky having one more kick at the Cup, and Toronto thinking that was the year they were going to the Stanley Cup final, both buildings were electric, and both cities were unbelievable."

And it got personal between the coaches.

Toronto's Pat Burns made fun of Melrose's mullet. Melrose mocked Burns' weight.

"Pat and I are both competitive guys. We're both outgoing guys," Melrose said. "We both talk a lot, and when you get both of those things combined, with the pressure of a seven-game series, a lot of stuff is going to happen. It was a lot of fun."

Like coaching in Canada.

"It's crazy," Melrose said. "In Montreal and Toronto, you're right in the middle of the hurricane, so to speak. But I love that. I love the pressure in a market like that."

HE SAID WHAT? Owner Len Barrie blasted a report by Hockey Night in Canada's Al Strachan that Barrie was in the locker room diagramming plays during one of Tampa Bay's games against the Rangers in Prague.

"What a joke," Barrie said. "I mean, come on. We've got four capable coaches to do that. The day we don't think they are capable of handling that is the day I go into the locker room, not to diagram plays but to make a change."

"Al is sort of like a spaghetti salesman," Melrose said. "Al just throws so much against the wall and hopes something sticks. … It's total lies."

Asked if it bothers him that Strachan said his anonymous source was a Lightning player, Melrose said, "Well, if it is, then the liar is in the dressing room. If that's the case, yeah, I'd be worried about that. But I can't worry about that. If a guy is a liar, he's a liar."

LINE SHUFFLING: LW Vinny Prospal was moved off Vinny Lecavalier's line at Monday's practice and was replaced by newly acquired Matt Pettinger. Prospal centered for Chris Gratton and Mark Recchi.

ODDS AND ENDS: F Ryan Craig and RW Radim Vrbata, both out with groin injuries, practiced and made the trip, though it seemed unlikely either would play. … The Lightning will host two watch parties for tonight's game, which is part of the NHL Center Ice TV package, at Barnacles, 926 Providence Road, Brandon, and the Press Box, 222 S Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Melrose has a soft spot for Maple Leafs 10/27/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 28, 2008 6:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Five reasons why Kentucky can beat Florida for the first time since 1986


    By Matt Baker

    GAINESVILLE — Florida's 30-game winning streak over Kentucky is one of the most impressive feats in the country.

    Florida Gators offensive lineman Martez Ivey (73) celebrates Florida Gators running back Mark Thompson's  (24) touch down in the first quarter, putting Florida on the board 6-0 during the game between the University of Florida and the University of Kentucky in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, in Gainesville, Fla. Florida defeated Kentucky 45-7. ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times

  2. Once targeted by the Bucs, Dalvin Cook thrills for the Vikings


    How good would the Bucs be with running back Dalvin Cook?

    Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) slips a tackle by Steelers strong safety Sean Davis (28) to score a touchdown Sunday in Pittsburgh. [AP photo]
  3. Boxer LaMotta, immortalized in 'Raging Bull,' dies at 95


    MIAMI — Jake LaMotta, the former middleweight champion whose life in and out of the ring was depicted in the film Raging Bull, for which Robert DeNiro won an Academy Award, has died, his fiancee said Wednesday. He was 95.

    Jake LaMotta, retired professional boxer, shakes hands with Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) on the field before the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg on Sept. 15, 2015. LaMotta was on hand to sign autographs in the Ted Williams Museum.
  4. J.R. Sweezy shows what Bucs were missing


    By Greg Auman

    TAMPA —- Sunday's season-opening win against the Bears saw the debut of 13 Bucs, a mix of rookies and free-agent veterans.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive guard J.R. Sweezy (73), seen at center, runs through drills during training camp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Monday, July 31, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times 

  5. Cannon Fodder podcast: Bucs-Vikings features a battle of top rookies


    Greg Auman looks at how much the Bucs have changed since the last time they played the Minnesota Vikings in 2014 in our latest Cannon Fodder podcast.

    Bucs tight end O.J. Howard (80) makes a reception as Chicago Bears free safety Eddie Jackson (39) tackles him Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]