Friday, November 08, 2013

Sunset for Dineen and staff at Sunrise

With sixteen games in the books for the 2013-14 season, Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon came to the decision on Friday morning that he didn't like the direction that the Panthers were heading.

With the team apparently not living up to the perceived potential that Tallon and Panther owner Vinnie Viola believed that they should be achieving, the GM informed his coach and his assistants that the Panthers were going in a different direction.

And with that, Kevin Dineen, Craig Ramsay and Gord Murphy were relieved of their duties, following in the ice chips of Peter Laviolette, the Flyers coach who was dismissed one month ago.

Tallon's decision comes amidst a horrendous skid for the Panthers, who currently have a record of 3-9-4, leaving them but three points away from the worst record in the NHL. With only Buffalo and the Flyers, between the Panthers and the bottom.

Taking over the head coaching position, on an interim basis for now, is Peter Horachek,  who brings his ten years of  experience from  Nashville with him and who most recently, was the coach of the Panthers AHL affiliate in San Antonio, Texas.

Joining him behind the bench with Florida will be Brian Skrudland who for the moment will leave behind his duties as Director of Player Development, John Madden rounds out the new trio.

Horachek and his new staff take to their duties with 66 games remaining on the schedule and with the bold declaration of owner Vinnie Viola, that the expectation is for the Panthers to be competing for a place in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

 If that's his belief, one has to wonder if Mr. Viola has seen many of his team's games this year.

While it's always easy to exile the coaching staff, the simple fact of the Panthers this year is that they seemingly can't score on the opposition and have had troubles keeping the other teams from putting pucks in their net.

So far in their sixteen games, Florida has scored but 32 goals, while allowing 57, a plus minus record of -25, the worst in the NHL.

That perhaps is an indication that current roster may not be quite up to the lofty challenges that the GM and his owner seem to have put down in their diaries before the season started.

Tallon is promising that more change is on the way, but part of the decision may stem from the fact that Horachek is familiar with the Panther's young players in the AHL as well as some of the current roster players on the Panthers.
How he fares in the remainder of the season, will go a long way in determining whether the Florida job will be a long term prospect, or just a stop over.

The historical roulette wheel of coaching in Florida however, would suggest that he not purchase any Florida real estate just yet, in their 20 years of NHL existence, the Panther's have had 12 coaches, many of them rather familiar names to NHL observers.

It perhaps is  safe to say, that stability is not one of the stronger points of life in South Florida.

As for the departed coaches, considering the volatility in the coaching ranks of the NHL, one imagines that Dineen and his assistants will be actively sought out, wherever struggling NHL teams are looking for some experience.

Especially when you consider that Dineen is but one season removed from a division title and returning the Panthers to the playoffs for the first time in ten seasons. But hey, what has done for them lately...

With their Florida experience soon to be behind them, it most likely won't be too long before we hear their names bounced around for rumoured or actual openings that may soon come up.

The details of today's announcement can be found here.

The media review of the Florida developments can be found below.

Miami Herald-- Florida Panthers fire Kevin Dineen, name Peter Horachek interim coach
Miami Herald-- Firing Kevin Dineen was tough but needed
Miami Herald-- Kevin Dineen Out, Peter Horacheck
Miami Sun Sentinel-- Florida Panthers fire head coach Kevin Dineen
SI-- Florida Panthers fire coach Kevin Dineen, Peter Horachek steps in
USA Today-- Panthers fire coach Kevin Dineen, two assistants
Yahoo Sports-- Kevin Dineen fired by Florida Panthers, AHL coach Peter Horachek takes over
CBC-- Kevin Dineen fired as head coach of Panthers
National Post-- Florida Panthers fire head coach Kevin Dineen after poor start to season
Globe and Mail-- Florida Panthers fire head coach Kevin Dineen
Ottawa Sun-- Florida Panthers fire head coach Kevin Dineen, assistants
Toronto Sun-- Florida Panthers fire head coach Kevin Dineen
Sportsnet-- Panthers fire coach Dineen, hire Horachek
NHL on NBC-- Falling Panthers Fire Head Coach Kevin Dineen

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