TAMPA, Fla. -- The primary investors in a group buying the Tampa Bay Lightning say they have no intentions of moving the team, will be "shockingly aggressive" in free agency this summer and are on the verge of naming a coach.
Oren Koules and Len Barrie said Monday that the team finished last in the NHL last season is not broken, but merely needs tweaking.
They hope the new coach, long rumored to be television analyst and former Los Angeles Kings coach Barry Melrose, is part of the fix.
Several hours after brushing aside questions about the coaching vacancy, the Lightning scheduled a Tuesday news conference to introduce a replacement for John Tortorella, who was fired on June 3.
"Not yet," Koules said Monday, when asked during a news conference if the ownership group had a coach.
"Tomorrow," Barrie blurted before backtracking and saying a decision still needed to be made.
"We're going to meet a bunch of guys today," Koules interjected, "and we'll let you know."
ESPN.com reported that Melrose, an ESPN analyst, was the choice.
|Is Barry Melrose the man Tampa Bay will hire? (Getty Images)|
Hollywood producer Mark Burg, attorney and investment banker Russell Belinsky, advertising executive Jordan Zimmerman, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard C. Lehman and Tampa Bay-area based business executives Irwin Novack and Craig Sher are the partners.
Last week, the NHL board of governors unanimously approved the sale to Koules' OK Hockey, which agreed to pay $206 million for team, the leasehold rights to the St. Pete Times Forum and about 5½ acres of land adjacent to the downtown arena.
The sale is expected to finalized by the end of the month.
The Lightning have been owned since 1999 by Palace Sports & Entertainment, a group led by Detroit Pistons owner Bill Davidson, which helped transform them from a last-place team into the 2004 Stanley Cup champion.