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Posted On Friday, 10.28.2011 / 12:24 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst / - Melrose Minute

Melrose Place: Should visors be mandatory?

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Posted On Friday, 10.28.2011 / 12:24 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst / - Melrose Minute

Melrose Place: Penguins impressing early on

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Posted On Thursday, 10.27.2011 / 3:58 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst / - Melrose Minute

Barry's Best: Phaneuf, Sedin Twins and Quick

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Posted On Thursday, 10.27.2011 / 1:24 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst / - Melrose Minute

Barry Melrose Mullet of the Week goes to...

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Posted On Friday, 10.21.2011 / 10:07 AM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst / - Melrose Minute

Barry's second 'Mullet of the Week' winner is ...

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Posted On Monday, 10.17.2011 / 11:00 AM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst / - Melrose Minute

The greatest sweaters in NHL history

Former NHL head coach and player Barry Melrose starts a new gig this season: He will be blogging for throughout the 2011-2012 season. 

When it comes to jerseys, I'm a traditionalist. I hate third jerseys. I love the history of our sport, I love the tradition of our sport, and you'll see that in my favorite sweaters. Today's jerseys are too busy. They're scared to be simple. Maybe that's what the kids want: the bells and whistles and all the stuff going on. People think different means more, but if you look at the jerseys I've picked you'll see they're very simple. I still think that makes the greatest jersey. Just look at the Green Bay Packers of the NFL. To me the simple jerseys are the best by far.

Here are the five greatest sweaters in NHL history:

5. Buffalo Sabres

I love the Buffalo Sabres jerseys, but I'm talking about the "French Connection" Buffalo Sabres of the early 70s. Gilbert Perreault, Rick Martin, Rene Robert -- the jerseys that Buffalo had when it came into the NHL. I just love the colors, and I love the striped socks, which are very similar to the Toronto Maple Leafs' striped socks. It was a different color than the old original six though. Very similar, but the colors popped and were sort of innovative for the time.

4. Boston Bruins

These are the Bobby Orr Boston Bruins of the 60s and 70s. They had the socks that were striped right from the bottom to the top, very simple, and I loved the black and yellow. When I played for the Cincinnati Stingers in the WHA, we basically had the same jerseys as the Boston Bruins. They were simple, the colors popped, and they had the yellow circle spoked "B" on their chest. Just a great jersey. I think I might love it so much because you used to see Bobby Orr skating around in it scoring all those goals and making all those great plays. Just a great look.

3. Toronto Maple Leafs

I played in Toronto in the late 70s and early 80s when they switched to the jerseys with lines down the shoulders. Awful. I waited my whole life to play for Toronto and I never got to wear the traditional Toronto jerseys from the 1960s, which I think are the third greatest sweater of all time. I was excited about playing for the Leafs. They were my team forever and I always dreamed of wearing the old jerseys from when they won three straight Stanley Cups with Dave Keon. The jerseys are so simple, the blue and the white, the simple small Maple Leaf embroidered on the front. It's just great. They're sort of going back to them now, but it was always a mistake to switch it in the late 1970s. Philly brought the shoulder colors all the way down and a lot of teams started doing it. I didn't like it then and I don't like it now.

2. Detroit Red Wings

The Red Wings have maybe the greatest crest in sports: The Winged Wheel. It's so simple, but it's just perfect. The wing symbolizes the speed of hockey. The wheel is Detroit, the car capital of the world. The embroidery on the red and white jersey, so simple on the front. A couple of red stripes here and there. Just a great jersey. The colors are good, but the crest is always what I thought set that uniform apart from everybody else. The Wings haven't even made minor changes in decades and there's a reason why. It'd be sacrilegious. That crest is so perfect. Other teams if you look at the TV quick you can't necessarily tell who it is, but if you just glance at the TV and you see the Red and white, you know it's the Detroit Red Wings.

1. Chicago Blackhawks

This is the greatest jersey in sports. No doubt about it. The colors are awesome, and even the third jersey I like the most is the black Blackhawks from a few years ago, but I still love the red. I love the color and everything about it: the great crest, the crossed tomahawks. It's just so eye-popping. The socks are great. The black pants are great, and you can still see Bobby Hull flying up the wing. It's just a great jersey -- the greatest jersey in sports, hands down.
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Posted On Sunday, 10.16.2011 / 7:00 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst / - Melrose Minute

Who are the greatest power forwards of all time?

Former NHL head coach and player Barry Melrose starts a new gig this season: He will be blogging for throughout the 2011-2012 campaign. 

There is a certain criteria a player has to fulfill to meet my definition of a great power forward. He has to be a frontline player, he has to be very physical and he has to fight. A power forward to me is not just a big guy who scores goals. He is a big, mean, nasty, physical, tough guy to play against as well as being a very good hockey player.

My guys will have a lot of penalty minutes, they have a lot of goals, but they were also the type of guy the other team didn't like to play against. Here are my five best power forwards to ever play in the NHL:

5. Wendel Clark

Wendel Clark played 793 NHL games for the Maple Leafs, Nordiques, Islanders, Lightning, Red Wings, and Blackhawks, racking up 330 goals and 1,690 PIMs. (Photo: Getty Images)
During the early 1990s, Wendel was probably one of the three toughest forwards in the NHL. He was scoring 40 goals a year, he was one of the best fighters in the League -- he was just a real physical presence out there. If you look at his numbers he played 793 games, he's got over 300 goals and he's got close to 1,700 penalty minutes. He could hit, he could fight and he could score goals.

I coached against him in 1993 when I was with L.A. and Wendel was with Toronto and Wendel was their best player. We stopped Doug Gilmour, we stopped Dave Andreychuk, but we just couldn't stop Wendel. It seemed like he scored every game against us. Gilmour got a lot of ink, Andreychuk scored a lot of goals, but to me, Wendel was the heart and soul of that team. I will always remember late in Game 1 of our playoff series against the Leafs in 1993 when Gilmour came across the middle and Marty McSorely hit him with a great check. Wendel came in and he and Marty had what I think was the last great fight in the playoffs. It was late in the game, they already had it won, but here's Wendel still sticking up for his teammates fighting one of the toughest guys in the NHL.
4. Clark Gillies

Wendel's got more goals than Clark, but Clark's got the Stanley Cups. I think that means something. Look at his numbers: close to 1,000 games, over 300 goals, close to 400 assists and over 1,000 penalty minutes. If anyone knows the 80s and followed that Islanders team -- they had Bossy and they had Trottier and they had Potvin, but they were playing against those Philly teams and most nights Clark Gillies would have been the MVP. He was big, he was tough, he was good enough to play with Bossy and Trottier and he could fight anyone in the NHL to a standstill. Because he has more Cups than Wendel, I have him at No. 4.

Back then we said he "kept the flies off Bossy and Trottier". Opponents knew that if anybody did something to them they'd have to answer to Clark and that's what a power forward does. He's a deterrent. He was as tough as anyone in the NHL, but he was also an excellent hockey player. It's not just enough to be a tough guy. You have to be an excellent hockey player, too. Clark Gilles certainly was.
3. Cam Neely

Obviously Cam's numbers aren't as high is they normally would be because he was struck down by injuries, but he played over 700 games, he's got 395 goals, 299 assists and more than 1,200 penalty minutes. For a few years he was arguably one of the best players in the NHL. He was scoring 50 goals a year, he was maybe the toughest guy in the NHL, he had a rocket of a shot, and he might have been the best fighter in the NHL for the period of time he was in the NHL. Just a great, great hockey player. Without a doubt, he was one of the scariest guys in that era to play against.

If he stayed healthy his numbers, and the Bruins' would have been even more impressive. Don't forget, of the 726 games he played, he was probably on one leg for half of those. He was hurt and he was not 100 percent for most of his career. He still scored more than a goal every two games. If you put him at 1,000 games, he's got 600 goals. This guy was a great goal scorer, and on the list I have, he was probably the best fighter. If these five guys fought, I would have to say Cam Neely would probably be at the top of it.
2. Brendan Shanahan

Brendan Shanahan is a member of the Triple Gold Club, having won a Stanley Cup (1997, 1998, 2002), World Championship (1994), and Olympic gold medal (2002). (Getty Images)
In more than 1,500 games, he was durable, he scored 656 goals, had 698 assists and almost 2,500 penalty minutes. This guy did it over a long period of time. He fought everybody, his numbers are fantastic, he won Stanley Cups -- just a complete, complete player. He might not have been as tough as Neely, but he may have been a better goal scorer. He was also a great passer, tallying more assists than he did goals. What's more is that he came in as an 18-year-old, and he did it from Day 1.

As for his current job as the League's disciplinarian, I think how he played and what he went through on the ice give him a better understanding of what is going on on the ice with fighting and hitting. He's been there. He's done it. He knows what's going through the minds of tough guys and why they're fighting at that point of the game. He can tell when a fight is done on purpose or when it's done as a tool by the coach. I think Brendan, his career and what he went through as a player and how he played will make him better qualified for that job than a lot of people would have been.
1. Gordie Howe

This may be a surprise, but I think this guy was the first great power forward. More than 1,700 games, 801 goals, over 1,000 assists, but I don't know if people realize that he's got close to 1,700 penalty minutes. And he was big. In Gordie's era when he first came in, hockey players weren't very big. They'd be 5'7", 5'8", 5'9" ... Gordie was 6'2". I played against Gordie when he was in his 50s in Houston. The first thing that struck me when I saw Gordie on the ice was how big he was. He was still nasty and shifty. I can't imagine what he was like in his 20s. He was big, he was mean, he would fight, obviously he was one of the greatest goal scorers we've got in our sport and he was a great passer. If you look at power forward in the dictionary, there's probably a photo of Gordie Howe next to it.

You watch film of back in those days and he towered above guys. You see him going to the net and the D can't handle him because he's so big, so powerful and had a rocket of a wrist shot. I played against Gordie and I know. You knew where he was at all times -- and you did that because it was for your own safety.
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Posted On Friday, 10.14.2011 / 12:34 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst / - Melrose Minute

Melrose breaks down the best players at each position

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Posted On Thursday, 10.13.2011 / 8:56 AM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst / - Melrose Minute

Barry's first 'Mullet of the Week' winner

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Posted On Monday, 10.10.2011 / 12:10 AM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst / - Melrose Minute

Dynamic Duos: Who's better than Datsyuk-Zetterberg?

Former NHL head coach and player Barry Melrose starts a new gig this season: He will be blogging for throughout the 2011-2012 season. Plus, Melrose will be appearing as an analyst for NHL Network during every League-wide NHL event, starting with today's 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic announcement at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.

To start off each week, look for "Melrose Monday" on Melrose will look ahead at the biggest days on the NHL calendar that week. "Melrose Monday" starts today with Barry's unique take on the Winter Classic between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers Jan. 2

Let's take a look at the best five forward pairs in the League for this Monday's blog entry. We'll count down my picks:

5. Steve Stamkos and Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning

Marty St. Louis and Steven Stamkos combined for 76 goals and 190 points for the Lightning in the 2010-11 season. (Photo: Getty Images)
Their games are perfect for the new rules in the NHL. Both of them can fly. One is a right-handed shot and other is a left-handed shot. That doesn't happen too often.

Both Stamkos and St. Louis have great vision on the ice — which is even more difficult to defend when they move at such great speed. I think St. Louis might be the most underrated player in the entire League.

It's tough for young players to come into the League and play at a high level early. Some elite players are great at 19, but it took Steven a little while to get going. It was about a half-year of adjustment for him. I will tell you this: Playing with and learning from St. Louis is the best thing that has happened to Stamkos.

St. Louis is such a warrior. Things have never come easy for him. He was placed on waivers by Calgary and cleared. He has made himself into a great player. He is what hockey is all about. People have told him he is not good enough for the NHL and he has proved them wrong.
4. Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings

I know what you are thinking: If these two are No. 4, let's see who is 3-2-1. Probably the only reason Zetterberg and Datsyuk rank only No. 4 is their age. They both are getting hurt a little bit more.

But this is an unbelievable pair when they are healthy and on the ice. They are best defensive pair of the top 5, with Datsyuk winning multiple Selke awards as the League's best defensive forward. They are amazing stickhandlers and they have won Cups. They are ultimate professionals.

Datsyuk has the best hands in the NHL and both Datsyuk and Zetterberg play a physical style of play.
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Quote of the Day

I don't know how he does it. I don't know how he gets his body parallel with the player and pulls it through his legs like that. I know he's tried it a couple times in practice and it's never worked, so how he does it in a game, it's incredible.

— Capitals defenseman Mike Green on teammate Alex Ovechkin's highlight-reel goal against the Devils on Saturday