TSN.Ca is reporting the Tampa Bay Lightning have fired head coach Barry Melrose and have named named associate coach Rick Tocchet interim head coach. The Lightning have struggled this season (5-7-4) and are currently 13th in the Eastern Conference. Melrose, 52, was named the sixth head coach in Lightning history on June 24.
DePaoli’s Take: The Lightning’s new ownership need to learn that you can’t build a Stanley Cup contender over night. Ownership needed patience heading into this season and it’s clear that they don’t have it. The Lightning were the worst team in the league last season and adding players like Ryan Malone, Radim Vrbata weren’t going to make the Lightning Stanley Cup contenders this season. To make matters worse ownership traded their best defenseman Dan Boyle in return for Matt Carle who they traded away last week. Hiring Barry Melrose was risky in the first place and was seen as a PR move but I don’t agree with firing him 15 games into the season.