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)

Too soon to say Tampa Bay Lightning coach Melrose's job in danger

There needs to be some perspective when it comes to judging coach Barry Melrose. Making assumptions after 10 games is not only knee-jerk but shows a lack of understanding about what this team has gone through since last season:

New owners, new general manager, 15 new players (if you include Vinny Prospal) trying to learn a new system and about each other; a new coaching staff trying to mesh, and a training camp on two continents that was great for bonding but lousy for the on-ice product.

Add that star center Vinny Lecavalier and best defenseman Paul Ranger missed camp because of shoulder surgeries, and a development-stunting schedule that had the team play one game in 10 days, and it's not difficult to figure why Tampa Bay got off to a slow start.

It also makes that 3-3-3 October record look pretty good.

Melrose, who spent the past 12 years as an ESPN analyst, should be evaluated constantly as to his preparation, practice methods, the kind of game he wants to play and the way he motivates players. And it is right for owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie and general manager Brian Lawton to demand explanations of Melrose's methods and thought processes, and if there are concerns, to bring them to his attention and expect corrections.

But it seems premature less than a month into the season to draw the conclusion, as some in the media already have, that Melrose is one step from unemployment.

Tampa Bay has a lot of very good players and potential to be a very good team. We saw it last week in two notable road victories. Melrose must maintain the trajectory.

Are there going to be bumps? Sure. It is even reasonable to believe Melrose's leash is shorter because Lawton, who joined the team in late June, was not part of the hiring process. So consider this a feeling-out process for them as well.

Grading any coach is an inexact science. It is even trickier in Tampa Bay because of the extenuating circumstances. Melrose has said he believes he has "less than a year" to prove himself. The guess here is the brass needs at least 25 to 30 games before it can even begin evaluating whether Melrose was the right choice for the job.

Until then, let's see what he can do.

Too soon to say Tampa Bay Lightning coach Melrose's job in danger 11/01/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 4, 2008 1:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. HomeTeam 25: Football rankings for Tampa Bay


    Armwood High School quarterback Devin Black (7) hands the ball off to running back Larry Anderson (13) during the Spring Football Jamboree in Seffner, Fla. on Thursday, May 18, 2017.
  2. Ex-Florida Gators QB Treon Harris will start at Tennessee State


    Former Florida Gators quarterback Treon Harris is a starter again.

    At Tennessee State.

  3. Do Rays, Corey Dickerson have a 'second wind'?

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — There was the time in late May when Corey Dickerson hit a ball that bounced in front of the plate, swatted it for a double. He hit anything that moved wherever it moved. He was that good.

    Tampa Bay Rays left fielder Corey Dickerson (10) gets beat to the bag on the throw to first to end the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017. The Seattle Mariners beat the Tampa Bay Rays 7-6. WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times
  4. Bucs position battles; Defining the receiver competition


    TAMPA — The Bucs' top four receivers are etched in granite with Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Adam Humphries and rookie Chris Godwin.

    Bucs wide receiver Josh Huff makes a juggling catch as cornerback Robert McClain closes in Tuesday at One Buc Place. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. Cannon Fodder podcast: Looking back at Bucs-Jags, ahead to 'Hard Knocks'


    Greg Auman looks back on the weekend, with depth moves at tackle and cornerback, smart plays from Thursday's win in Jacksonville and what might be ahead on Tuesday's "Hard Knocks" episode on HBO, in …

    Greg Auman discusses the Bucs' win over the Jaguars in this week's Cannon Fodder podcast.