So Barry Melrose is the new coach of Tampa Bay and he's a bit of an eccentric, walks to his own beat, etc. You know this. What you might not have known is that the locals down in Tampa are STILL pissed at him for things he may or may not have said four years ago.
SN: What was the reaction in Tampa from fans when you were hired?
Melrose: A lot of people there were still mad at me for 2004. Supposedly, I made derogatory remarks about Tampa Bay. If people remember you saying it, it doesn't matter if you said it. That was fun. We were doing autograph sessions and stuff and people said, "Barry I hated what you said in 2004." It's really funny these people think it was personal, what I say on TV is personal. All in all, I think it's been very favorable, but it's a wait and see. They're waiting to see the ownership, but (they) liked what they did. It's wait and see; the last few years have been tough on them.
SN: So what did you supposedly say in 2004 that has fans in Tampa so riled up?
Melrose: That Tampa didn't have a chance (in the Stanley Cup final), not nearly as good as Calgary. That was nuts -- I picked Tampa Bay. I don't know what was going on. If they think you said it, you said it.
Ah, it's still August and the natives are already restless. Barry, when in Florida always remember to carry garlic, pepper spray and extra hairspray. Hairspray for the humidity, garlic for the elderly vampires that come out for the early bird specials at Red Lobster and pepper spray for the fans that already hate your guts. It also can be used to fend off drunk spring breakers.
Florida is a wild place that still needs to be tamed. Trend carefully Senor Melrose. Out in the wilderness, your next move could be your last.