Awhile back I blogged about how the NHL’s television deal on Versus was a significant detriment to the league’s continued growth and success.
On the flip side, ESPN (the NHL’s former television carrier), was discretely stagnating its efforts in covering the NHL with no business incentive to cover the least popular of the the big 4 sports leagues.
Despite the exodus of NHL commentators and analysts to other networks, ESPN retained Barry Melrose who did his best to anchor and sustain ESPN NHL coverage.
But with no sight of the NHL returning to ESPN, Melrose decided to scratch his growing itch to return to coaching and is believed to be set to accept the Tampa Bay Lightning coaching vacancy tomorrow. Melrose has had success as a coach, and was most likely growing weary of ESPN’s half ass coverage of the NHL.
I’ll leave analysis of the effect of Melrose’s hiring to Tampa Bay up to the experts. However I will say with no live games, no nightly recap shows devoted to hockey (NHL 2night is gone), lesser coverage on Sportscenter, and now the loss of ESPN’s face of hockey coverage, “The Sports leader” should most likely add an asterisk to their byline excluding their diminishing NHL coverage from the ambitious statement.