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A new coach, a new chance
Posted Nov 22, 2008 by Erik Erlendsson
Updated Nov 22, 2008 at 06:50 PM
Lightning center and No. 1 overall draft pick Steven Stamkos is making the transition this season from junior star to NHL regular. Throughout the season, the 18-year-old from Markham, Ontario, will share his experiences with Tribune writer Erik Erlendsson and provide a weekly diary to provide Tribune readers an insight to a new way of life along his rookie journey.
This early in the season, I definitely wasn’t expecting to have a coaching change, but on the other hand I didn’t think we were playing up to our capability as a team. Obviously management and ownership agreed and there had to be a change made, that’s the business and it was a business decision. I was a little surprised.
I was on my way to the beach with [Mike] Smith and [Vinny] Lecavalier when Smitty texted me and asked if I had heard that [Barry] Melrose had been fired. I didn’t know if he was playing a joke on me or something so I called my dad and asked if he could check out [Canadian television] TSN or ESPN or something to see if it was true and it was up there.
I wouldn’t say it ruined the day at the beach, but it definitely gave us something to talk about when we were there. A couple of other guys showed up so we wound up just expressing our thoughts and opinions. I think it was good for us to talk about it and then come to the rink with a new perspective and new attitude.
It’s tough [because] whenever you read about Melrose being fired it was mentioned in there that it was because my ice time or Lecavalier’s ice time. But they just want a story and they are going to throw anything they can so for me I try not to worry about that. One door closed with that and another door opened with Rick Tocchet here and a new opportunity. I’m having fun now, I’m in the game and playing more and I feel like I’m more part of the team and I’ve been able to contribute. So we’ll see how it goes from there.