TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -Barry Melrose is returning to the NHL after 12 years as a television analyst, becoming coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
He replaces John Tortorella and the hiring Tuesday ends weeks of speculation that the former Los Angeles Kings coach was the choice by the Lightning's new owners.
Tortorella was fired June 3, four years after leading Tampa Bay to its only Stanley Cup championship. The Lightning missed the playoffs this spring for the first time since 2002, finishing with the league's worst record.
Melrose coached Los Angeles from 1992 to 1995. He helped the Wayne Gretzky-led Kings to the Stanley Cup finals in his first season. He joined ESPN as an analyst in 1996.
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