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Vinny didn’t have Melrose fired

Posted Nov 19, 2008 by Erik Erlendsson

Updated Nov 19, 2008 at 09:54 PM

All right, I’m already over having to read and hear about this situation, so I’ll try to give this my final word on the subject because to me it’s just revisionist history we’re talking about, but the story still has legs nearly a week after the fact. Even the election of Barack Obama seemed to wind down a week after he was voted into the Presidency.

OK, here’s what’s going on. I alluded to this in Sunday’s paper that now former coach Melrose went on CBC Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday and said he believed that high-profile players got him fired and that they went to ownership complaining about him. To be fair, Melrose said he takes responsibility for what took place and the players not responding to him and even when asked if he felt he was stabbed in the back, Melrose said no.

Well, from what I’ve been able to gather from conversations both on the record and those not on the record, nobody in the locker room went to ownership and asked to have Melrose fired. As well, I don’t think anybody went directly to general manager Brian Lawton and said Melrose had to go.

What the likely scenario which took place begins and ends with Lawton. I said a few ldays ago that something didn’t feel right around the locker room, something wasn’t meshing. Melrose allegedly read the riot act to the team during a practice day in Sunrise and essentially played his hand at that meeting. The players’ called his bluff, didn’t show up to play against the Panthers and two days later he was gone. Now, if I could sense something wasn’t right, imagine the feeling Lawton had being involved in it on a daily basis. He even, in hindsight, hinted at something when he spoke on several occassions about the importance of the team’s recently completed five-game roadtrip.

So Lawton saw what was going on, or sensed what was going on - and remember, Lawton wasn’t involved in any capacity in the hiring Melrose, a fact that can’t be discounted - and naturally he probably went to the players on an individual basis and privately asked them about the situation. Lawton didn’t like what he heard, gave it a chance to work itself out on the road trip and when it didn’t, went to ownership - likely Oren Koules since he has been around quite frequently of late, but probably did have conversations with Len Barrie, who joined the team in New York and Philadelphia last week - and informed then of what he thought had to be done.

Now, a report on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada Hotstove segment suggested that Lecavalier is the one who went to ownership and told them a change had to be made. Vinny said it just didn’t happen.

“I didn’t do it, I don’t think anybody else did it,’’ Lecavalier said. “They went to another show after [the Hot Stove segment] and said they talked to me and that it wasn’t true, and after that I didn’t really think about it after that.’‘

A report in the Globe and Mail said Lecavalier will tell his side of the story during this week’s broadcast of Hockey Night in Canada, but Lecavalier said he’s not concerned with whatever perceptions might linger from the report, which is seen by millions each weekend during hockey season.

He said what he had to say and he went with what he thought. They weren’t facts, he just went with something he thought happened, but Oren Koules said it wasn’t true, Brian Lawton said it wasn’t true, so I’m not mad,” Lecavalier said.

Now, in my estimation, it’s time to move past this. Melrose is no longer the coach, that won’t change. And while we may never get the full story or clear picture of the actual events that took place, there’s enough information to piece together a close facsimile to the actual truth, and that may be the closest we ever get.

Here is the Hockey Night report by Al Strachan, while below is Melrose’s interview with Ron MacLean on Hockey Night’s pregame show, which if you look can tell was taped outside the WTVT, Channel 13 studios on Kennedy Blvd.


Reader Comments

Por (Matt) on November 19, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I think that is a crock in as far as Vinny is concerned.  Too many sources cannot be all wrong.  And all these sources breathe and die hockey.  This is Vinny’s team and for all intents and purposes, he is failing to live up to the standards and expectations of a leader.  He’s not able to step up, cannot lead by example and not able to rally the team behind him.  This team goes as Vinny goes.  Some blogger said to strip him off the C and give it to Recchi or Roberts.  I couldn’t agree more.

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Por (Matt) on November 19, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I believe that for the first time in his career he is not only being held accountable to score and play but also being held to lead.  I do think that he was failing to do so and decided to point the finger on the coach.  Always the easy thing todo especially if you are the face of the team.  Vinny is a very good player.  But in this point, he is not a great player that cannot be mentioned in the same breath as a Yaerman, Limeiux, Gretzky, Messier or even a Crosby, Kovalchuk, Neidermayer, etc.

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Por (Chris C) on November 19, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Well I’m sick of all this so I can’t imagine how the team is. This new ownership has done nothing but bring in distractions since they got here.
I’m glad you said it was the Channel 13 studios, I saw the video and was wondering where that was..!

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Por (Natalie) on November 19, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Wow, bloggers pretty quick to throw Vinny under the bus. The simple truth is Melrose was not the right coach and the owners made a big mistake by bringing him in. He came in without a plan thinking he could just be the team cheerleader. I don’t think it works that way and people around him quickly realized that. I am pretty sure Vinny was held way more accountable under Torts. You think Torts just let him go out for a skate? I for one will take Erik’s word as he spends a bit more time with this team than we ever will.

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Por (Geografer) on November 19, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I watched this last weekend and was disgusted. This man is an absolute moron and I can’t believe that anyone continues to cover this and give him any press. This is all he is after to try to feed his overinflated ego and make himself feel better. I think Vinny would say if he had done this - he wouldn’t lie about it. Melrose needs to man up and take some responsibility for his own screw-up’s. You don’t publically call out the team that you just took over and don’t even have the trust of yet 2 games into the season. You don’t throw your team under the bus so soon. Melrose was a moron who never should have been brought back behind the bench to begin with.

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Por (Geografer) on November 19, 2008 (Suggest removal)

It was clear he couldn’t keep up with the “new” NHL and had no concept of ice time for any player. You also don’t claim the players thought you were too in your face and not soft enough when you are replacing Torts. You can’t begin to approach what he did. This just shows that he had no idea of what went on with this team before even though he thinks he was the know it all analyst. He only coached 3 years before being gone for 13. Heck - Stamkos was 5 the last time he coached in the NHL. He was unprepared and incapable of being a coach and now is using this to try not to make himself look so bad. This needs to go away and he needs to disappear for good.

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Por (BillSmith) on November 20, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Melrose’s spin allows him to believe it was not his fault but the players who are not scoring. Goaltending is THE only reason we have had any chance of competing this sesaon. Its not the defense. Carle has already been traded. The enrire defensive lineup has been altered since Praque.

There does appear to be less structure on the ice than under Torts. Vinny looks like he has reverted to playing like he wants to, no defense and and cherry pick. But that is a coaching problem.

This is a non story until proven otherwise.

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Por (Matt) on November 20, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Bill, I did not get the spin that you were refering to.  I am not throwing Vinny under the bus.  All I am saying is the leaders in the team needs to step up and have accountability.  Recchi has said it.  Marty has in his own way.  Never heard nor read Vinny saying I have to play better, I am the leader of this team and I need to live up to it.  I just believe that in order for the team to get better, no matter who the coach is, they have to live up to their skills and play the way they are paid.

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Por (Disk encryption software) on February 28, 2009 (Suggest removal)

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