When I saw that the Tampa Bay Lightning yesterday fired head coach Barry Melrose, it took me a day to realize what had just happened.
After a 5-7-4 start, the Lightning have decided to dump their coach… in his first season! Sixteen games! That’s it!
Can a coach really perform so poorly in 16 games for a franchise to determine it’s not going to work out?
I really don’t think so.
“This was a tough decision to make,” general manager Brian Lawton said. “Barry is a good man and we have a great deal of respect for him. We wish him nothing but success. However, the results were unacceptable and the players have to understand that we need to be better. Hopefully this change helps push them.”
And Melrose is the SECOND head coach in the NHL to be dismissed this year. The Chicago Blackhawks let Denis Savard go after just four games.
Clearly in Savard’s case, the franchise must have had some inclination entering the season that he wasn’t the right man for the job. Obviously, no team can play so bad in four games to bring a franchise to that conclusion without the team already having some reservations about him.
But why wait until the season starts to make the move?