Saturday, May 31, 2008

Has Fonzie jumped the shark in Tampa Bay?

If it comes to pass, they'll be trading in one stylish hairdo for another in Tampa Bay.

While he's been perhaps the most recognizable feature of the Tampa Bay Lightning for a number of years now, if some of the reports percolating this weekend prove true, John Tortorella may have already coached his last game with the Bolts.

With new ownership set to take over the franchise in mid June, the stage it seems is set for a new cast of characters to try and guide the Lightning back into the pack and beyond in the NHL. Numerous reports are pointing towards Barry Melrose as the potential new Zeus of Tampa, eager to turn the flashes of sheet lightning of late into those booming bursts of energy.

Tortorella who took over in the 2001-02 season has posted a respectable 251-252-20-41 regular season and a has won more than he's lost with a 24-21 mark in the postseason, though he has only one Stanley Cup ring to show for all of that work, that being the championship won by the Lightning in 2003-04.

Since those highlight reel moments, the Lightning have struggled in the playoffs and this year suffered the fate of being the worst team in the NHL, good enough for a top end draft pick but not something that lends itself to job security for the coaching staff.

There have been lots of denials in the last twenty four hours about any pending Melrose arrival on the West Coast of Florida, though the suggestions are that an announcement is imminent, a move that will once again shuffle the coaching deck chairs across the NHL should it come to pass.

Seattle Post Intelligencer-- Report: Melrose in, Tortorella out in Tampa Bay
Sportsnet-- Melrose To Replace Tortorella As Bolts Coach
CBC Sports-- Barry Melrose says nothing imminent with Lightning
ESPN-- Melrose responds to report on coaching Lightning
The Hockey News-- Tampa's hiring of Melrose makes no sense
Tampa Bay Tribune-- It's Been Quite A Ride With Torts On Bench
Tampa Bay Tribune-- Melrose Place? Drama Surrounds Bolts' Coaching Spot
St. Petersburg Times-- Next Lightning regime needs to pick a coach first
St. Petersburg Times-- Lightning hiring Melrose would be a shocker
Toronto Star-- Will Lightning be scene of new Melrose place?

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