[Ed.'s Note: We're going to miss Barry Melrose. He fills more roles at TWWL than Rich Little in a Branson review: former player, former coach, snarky commentator, dry commentator, Canadian and, most importantly, purveyor of that prince of hairstyles: the mullet. So, as we send him and his Saskatchewan waterfall back into the fray, we must offer praise, advice and some perspective.]
Let's face it, it wasn't Gretzky, but the Samsonian power of your 'do that brought the LA Kings their first and only Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 1993. We can only hope you'll continue to use that power for good, even if it may inspire evil elsewhere. You've got quite the task before you.
Tampa Bay had a mere 71 points last season and finished last in the East. To nurse this team into contention, you'll have to be something of a MacGyver, creating a semblance of a forecheck out of five toothpicks, an apple core, three nine-volt batteries and a damp copy of Good Housekeeping. (Could it be any shock that MacGyver, too, was a business-in-front-party-in-back kind of guy? We think not.)
Take one look at your roster, and you'll see this team needs more than just smart coaching: They need to look in the mirror. On day one of training camp, you should make it known that the most intimidating move in hockey is shoving a greasy black comb into the back pocket of your stonewashed Wranglers. You can thank us later after the Bolts' 20-point jump next year.
Our encyclopedia tells us that the first known literary reference to the hairstyle currently known as the mullet occurs in Homer's Iliad:
"The sprinting Abantes followed hard at his heels,
their forelocks cropped, hair grown long in the back,
troops nerved to lunge with their tough ashen spears
and slash the enemies' breastplates round their chests."
(Book 2: lines 632-635; translated by Robert Fagles)
"Slash their enemies breastplates round their chests"? How could anyone argue that you, the last bastion of the "Canadian Passport", could possibly be on this earth for any reason other than teaching hockey? Well, other than one day owning this dog?
But, we must warn you. Not everyone shares our affection for your follicular proclivities.
The Beastie Boys famously lampooned your coif in 1994's "Mullet Head", and Tom Sawyer once said of his Aunt and Uncle, "They're so confiding and mullet-headed they don't take notice of nothing at all." Well, Mark Twain was overrated (he couldn't even use his own name!) and the Beasties, well, what have they done lately?
So forget about your critics and continue to do what you do best:
Live long (in back) and prosper.