Monday, May 24, 2004

Sunset at Sunrise: Dudley turned into Cat Chow!

Rick Dudley’s tenure as GM of the Florida Panther is done, the former Ottawa Senators and Tampa Bay Lightning GM, who ran the show in Miami the last few years is now on the extinct list. Having missed the playoffs for the fourth year in a row, the Panthers decided Monday to begin the search for then next Ice General. And apparently the search won’t take too long; a press conference is planned for Wednesday when a new Coach and GM will be announced.

Rumours out of Sunrise, Florida the Panther’s home base have Jacques Martin as a likely candidate for the coaching job, having been interviewed since his dismissal from the Senators. It’s not known if his will be a dual position or if the two posts will be split up.

Dudley has been offered another position in the organization, though it has not been announced just what that position might be.

The Panthers have chewed through coaches like a cat through cat chow, with nine coaches in their twelve seasons, three last year alone. Stability apparently is not a working concept with the team that was a Stanley Cup finalist not too many years ago. 1996 saw them challenging the Colorado Avalanche for Lord Stanley’s mug, the plucky little team which had astounded the experts in the playoffs, bowed out four straight to the powerhouse Avalanche of the day.

After that successful season the Panthers gutted their team, starting all over again basically with draft picks some of which have finally started to pay off. Disappointing veterans however would frustrate the team over the next few years. Now with Roberto Luongo almost in his prime in the nets, it’s time for the Swampland Cats to start to get it together, Wednesday’s announcement will tell which direction they are going in Florida.

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