The Tampa Bay Lightning have fired Barry Melrose.

I was willing to defend the guy myself. It was a splashy move in a market where PR does matter, and assistants can coach tactics. People loved to mock him ’cause of his haircut and TV employment, but resume-wise he had the same qualifications as half the coaches in the league (Memorial Cup and Calder Cup rings), albeit, two decades ago.

It’s also hard to say Melrose’s club underachieved when little was expected of them outside of their own front office, even if Melrose was one of the reasons for that. This would certainly suggest that GM Brian Lawton runs the show now (whereas Melrose was hired by the owners when Jay Feaster was still lame-ducking).

And it’s nice that the organization is able to move on by passing the torch to an obscure, non-controversial assistant coach: Rick Tocchet.