Make us your home page
Instagram

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 owner Len Barrie accuses Barry Melrose of 'total negligence'

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Owner Len Barrie disputed former coach Barry Melrose's assertion he was being told whom to play. He also called Melrose's preparation before the season "total negligence."

"I knew we were in trouble when we went to Prague," Barrie said Wednesday of the season-opening trip with the Rangers, "and Barry wanted to play the (defensive) left wing lock."

It was the latest salvo in the war of words between Melrose and the team. Barrie said he wants it to stop but added, "I wanted to respond for our organization and our guys."

Especially, he said, for rookie Steven Stamkos, whom Melrose believes is not NHL ready.

"He didn't want Steven on this team from day one, and it was evident how he played him," Barrie said. "Everyone knows this kid is a star player."

Barrie said he never told Melrose to play Stamkos certain minutes. "But I did say, 'Why not try Steven Stamkos on the point?' The kid's done it (in juniors) and played well back there."

Stamkos has played there under coach Rick Tocchet.

About the Lightning's 4-0 loss to the Panthers the day after Melrose walked out of practice and three days before his Nov. 14 firing, Barrie said, "That was the final nail in the coffin. He went at guys personally and he challenged the team, which is fine. Coaches have to do that. But you have to have guys respond."

Barrie admitted he and Melrose "were never as close" as Melrose and owner Oren Koules, who hired him.

"But my thing is you're paid to do a job, and he didn't do it from day one. How he came in and prepared for this job was total negligence."

OFF HIS BACK: If Stamkos is upset with Melrose, the NHL's No. 1 draft choice didn't show it.

"You can't let stuff like that bother you," the 18-year-old said. "It's his opinion. This team, if anything, can use it as motivation."

"He told me he laughed about it, which was nice to hear," Tocchet said.

"You just don't pay attention to it," Stamkos added. "You keep working hard. That's the only thing we're focused on, not comments from anyone."

KONOPKA UP: With RW Adam Hall (upper body) out, C Zenon Konopka was called up from AHL Norfolk on an emergency basis, meaning he must be sent down when an injured player returns. Konopka, 27, from nearby Niagara Falls, had seven goals, 21 points and 84 penalty minutes in 27 games for the Admirals.

He wasn't on the bench until late in the first period as his plane from Norfolk did not land until 6:30, 30 minutes before game time. He was called for interference on his second shift and later fought Adam Mair.

GRATTON DOWN? It is unclear if 15-year veteran Chris Gratton will report to Norfolk.

"He's been a pro for a long time," GM Brian Lawton said. "He deserves some time."

If he does not report, he and payments on his $1.25-million contract will be suspended.

ODDS AND ENDS: C Dana Tyrell signed a rookie contract. The 2007 second-round pick is expected to finish the season with WHL Prince George. … Tocchet said G Olie Kolzig likely will start tonight. ... LW Ryan Malone (upper body) and LW Matt Pettinger (knee) also were scratched.

Tampa Bay Lightning owner Len Barrie accuses Barry Melrose of 'total negligence' 12/10/08 [Last modified: Monday, December 15, 2008 2:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Aaron Hernandez had severe CTE; daughter sues NFL, Patriots

    Bucs

    BOSTON — Tests conducted on the brain of former football star Aaron Hernandez showed severe signs of the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, and his attorney said Thursday that the player's daughter is suing the NFL and the New England Patriots for leading Hernandez to believe the sport …

    Aaron Hernandez's lawyer says the former New England Patriots tight end's brain showed severe signs of the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy. [AP photo]
  2. Bucs' Josh Robinson excited for return to Vikings

    Bucs

    For much of Josh Robinson's four seasons with the Vikings, there was excitement leading up to the arrival of the $1.1-billion U.S. Bank Stadium, which opened last season, just as Robinson signed with the …

    Josh Robinson (26) tackles Chicago punt returner Eddie Royal (19) during a game between the Bucs and Bears in 2016. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  3. For starters: Rays at Orioles, meeting up with ex-mate Tim Beckham

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 6:05: Cash gave both CF Kevin Kiermaier and SS Adeiny Hechavarria a day off, noting they have been playing pretty much everyday. ... That also gave them a chance to look more at two of their younger position players, OF Mallex Smith and INF Daniel Robertson. ... Cash said he was happy for Beckham that he …

    Tim Beckham made a smashing debut with the Orioles, hitting .394 with six homers and 19 RBIs in August.
  4. From the archives: Account of famed Riggs-King match heightens Tampa mob intrigue

    Tennis

    With the Sept. 29 opening of "Battle of the Sexes" — the movie starring Emma Stone and Steve Carrell about Billie Jean King's landmark 1973 tennis win over Bobby Riggs — we thought there might be renewed interest in this 2013 Peter Jamison story from the Tampa Bay Times.

    Emma Stone as Billie Jean King and Steve Carell as Bobby Riggs in "Battle of the Sexes."  [Melinda Sue Gordon, Fox Searchlight Pictures]
  5. It's not a game, but the names are all the same in this football family

    Footballpreps

    TAMPA — A coach yells across the field into a scrum of blue-and-white clad football bodies at Jefferson High: "Kim Mitchell! Kim Mitchell, come here!"

    These twins are not only identical, but they have almost identical names. Kim Mitchell III, left, and Kim Mitchell IV are  talented football players at Jefferson High with Division I-A college offers. Kim  III wears No. 22 and plays cornerback while Kim IV wears No. 11 and plays safety. (Scott Purks, Special to the Times)