Melrose first broke into the NHL as a coach in the 1992-1993 season with the Los Angeles Kings. There he inherited a good team and they went to the Stanley Cup Finals that season and the Kings were outplayed and lost the series to the Montreal Canadiens in five games.
The next two seasons the Kings struggled and failed to make the playoffs. Melrose was fired. The confusing part of this was that Wayne Gretzky was injured for much of the 1992-1993 season and did not lead the team in scoring for the first time in his career. He did play in the playoffs and all of the next two seasons; Melrose just couldn’t get his team over the hump.
In June 2008 Barry was hired as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning. He was back in the game.
On November 14, 2008 Barry Melrose was fired. His record was 5-7-4. In his NHL head coaching career Barry Melrose now has a record of 84-108-29-4 (wins-losses-ties-overtime losses).
So he did not have a great record in the NHL. Outside of the NHL Melrose has an impressive resume. As the coach of the WHL Medicine Hat Tigers he had a 44-22-6 record and won the Memorial Cup. Then he coached the Adirondack Red Wings to a Calder Cup title the next season.
After his departure in Tampa Bay it is important to note that the Lightning have a record of 1-5-4 record.
So is it possible that Melrose is simply just a bad coach? Yes it is possible, but highly unlikely.
Since his firing in November there have been a ton of reports released. Many have said that Melrose clamed his players wouldn’t play tough for him because he was too tough of a coach. And maybe that is true.
Maybe the answer to all of this is that Barry Melrose is too tough on his players. NHL players do not want tough coaches, they have had their share of tough coaches and now they may just want to be spoiled players. It is possible, and Barry is a much better minor league coach.
I think it is because minor leaguers will play harder and have more to lose. Maybe NHLer’s don’t give a hoot, I honestly have no idea. But Barry is headed back to ESPN, and that should make some people happy. Stick with what you know Barry.