Report: Melrose returning to coach Lightning Staff

5/30/2008 12:46:02 PM

The Toronto Star reports that ESPN hockey analyst and former Los Angeles Kings head coach Barry Melrose is set to return behind the bench for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Melrose, who coached the Kings to the 1993 Stanley Cup Final, would replace John Tortorella, who still holds the post.

According to the Star, incoming team owner Oren Koules has pushed for the hiring of Melrose in an effort to further sell the team and the sport in Florida. His group is awaiting approval from the NHL's Board Of Governors to take over the team, with the vote set to take place on June 18.

The Lightning, which won the Stanley Cup in 2004, missed the playoffs this year and won the first overall pick in the lottery last month for the June entry draft.

Melrose, who has worked at ESPN and ABC Sports since 1996, began his coaching career in 1987 when he led the Medicine Hat Tigers to the Memorial Cup. He also coached the Seattle Thunderbirds for the 1988-89 season and the Adirondack Red Wings of the American Hockey League for three seasons (1989-92). Melrose guided the Red Wings to the Calder Cup championship in 1991 and also served as the team's General Manager during his final two seasons.

During his 11 years as a player, Melrose played 335 career games as a defenceman in the NHL with Winnipeg, Toronto and Detroit (1979-86). He also played three seasons with Cincinnati in the WHA (1976-79).