Saturday, April 12, 2008

Decision time for Jacques

Florida Panther GM and coach Jacques Martin has had one of his twin positions removed from his resume as of Friday.

Panthers owner Alan Cohen, reportedly met with Martin this week to discuss his future with the club, having offered him the option to continue on as the teams General Manager and begin the search for his coaching replacement as soon as possible. Cohen told season ticket holders of his plans at reception on Thursday night, advising them that Florida would not have a dual position heading into the 2008-09 season.

His dismissal of Martin as the bench boss comes amid reports of a rift between Martin and Panthers star Ollie Jokinen, who apparently feels rather constrained under Martin's heavily defensive outlook on the game of hockey.

Martin inherited the GM's job back in 2006 when Mike Keenan decided that the Florida lifestyle as far as hockey went wasn't to his liking and left the team, though not before trading Florida favourite Roberto Luongo after a long and sometimes bitter contract negotiation.

It was a move that has never seemed to fit in well with the Florida fans, who only found a replacement to their liking this season when Martin picked up Tomas Vokoun from the Nashville Predators. While the goal position was now well taken care of, scoring has proven to be an issue with little help coming along for Jokinen, who apparently remained frustrated for the bulk of the season.

The word of Martin's removal as coach came as reports emerged that Joe Nieuwendyk, who was hired as special assistant to the general manager last summer had tendered his resignation, with some suggesting that he was not happy with the direction the Panthers were heading in.

With the Panthers missing the playoffs again this year, the move from Cohen is seen as one of sending a message to the fans that the Panthers will do more in the coming season to make some movement up the Eastern division standings.

South Florida Sun Sentinel-- Jacques Martin out as Panthers coach
South Florida Sun Sentinel-- Should this GM be picking next coach?
Miami Herald-- Panthers are better off with Martin not coaching

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