Where Does Barry Melrose Go Next?

Wyshynski has great analysis of the Barry Melrose/Ron MacLean piece you see above.  Melrose showed off – in about six minutes – why he is so much better when he’s talking to you on TV than to players in the locker room.  He’s as good an interview as he is an analyst, even when he’s going off in complete nonsense about how his offense top-heavy team wouldn’t, for some reason, willingly play a stifling defensive system.

The point being, Melrose is perhaps now the most desirable TV free agent in NHL history, at least until Jeremy Roenick hangs ‘em up.  He was already one of hockey’s most recognizable figures before leaving to coach the Lightning.  He was the casual ESPN viewer’s guide to the league and, for better or worse, was who the non-puckhead associated with the sport for quite some time.  Now, with ESPN’s analyst position filled, he can go to a variety of places.  Let’s explore all the possibilities, and the likelihood of each.

NBC: I see NBC as the likeliest destination for Melrose’s musings.  He probably doesn’t want to have too heavy a workload after putting himself through coaching the past few months, and NBC’s schedule provides that.  However, it gives an opportunity to ramp it up next year by adding another network.  It also gives him a chance to work the Olympics in Vancouver next year.  Where would they put him?  Either replace Olczyk with Barry in the booth, or have him duke it out with Milbury in the studio.  

VERSUS: I would love to see Barry become VERSUS’ #1 analyst.  He has better hair and better TV skills than Eddie Olczyk.  Nothing against Eddie O., but he’s a little bland compared to John Davidson, but then again, everyone except Melrose – and perhaps Daryl Reaugh – is bland compared to ol’ JD.  That, and you could put him in the studio as well to beef up VERSUS’ dull, lifeless “Hockey Central”.

NHL Network: The league’s cable network has become a dumping ground for analysts who want to work, but not all the time, like Bill Clement.  Melrose could do a night or two of “On the Fly” each week, and perhaps do one of the network’s originally produced games this season.

CBC: This is an interesting one.  First of all, what would matter the most is where you could fit him in.  There really isn’t any more room for another analyst on CBC at this point.  But Milbury looks lost and manages to be even more unlikable than Strachan on “Hotstove”, and Barry seems like he’d be more the type to banter with him and Pierre.

TSN: Probably not gonna happen.  While seeing Barry Melrose and John Tortorella at the same desk would be hilarious and “Office”-style cringe-inducing, there are already too many cooks in the kitchen at TSN.

ESPN: It’s probably not going to happen, but if ESPN nails down the NHL package they’ve been rumored to have been after since forever, Melrose is probably first up in their address book.  For now though, I think the network wants to stick with Matthew Barnaby and give him some time.  Unless they decide to go all Koules-Barrie on him.

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About stevelepore
Steve Lepore is the Managing Editor of Puck the Media. His work has been featured in The Hockey News. Feel free to contact him at stevemlepore@gmail.com

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