TAMPA, Fla. (AP) When the Tampa Bay Lightning called, Barry Melrose was eager to listen.
Out of coaching for 13 years, he missed the passion and competition of the NHL. Countless hours of watching games as a television analyst intensified his desire to return to the bench, and it didn't hurt that he'd be able to work with talent like Vincent Lecavalier and Steve Stamkos.
"They approached me. I couldn't wait to say yes," Melrose said Tuesday after the Lightning's new owners made the league's worst-kept secret official: The former Los Angeles Kings coach was the choice to replace John Tortorella.
"Watching successful teams, and watching teams that work and watching teams that don't work, it just reinforced what I believe in and how I coached, and the way we're going to play here. You don't win by accident. You don't lose by accident. There are reasons certain teams win all the time, and there's a reason certain teams lose all the time."
Melrose estimates he watched about 90 percent of Tampa Bay's games on TV last season. What he saw was a team that lost its zest under the hard-driving Tortorella, who led the club to its only Stanley Cup title four years ago.