A new era. A new beginning. A cleaning of the house if you will. Dale Tallon has been nothing but a man of his word so far as the new General manager of the Florida Panthers. Out with the old and in with the new.
Starting with the trading of Nathan Horton to the Boston Bruins, Tallon is making his prescence known to the fans in this city. Like the moves or not, changes are coming, and they’re coming fast.
In case you missed it, Randy Sexton has taken a position with the Pittsburgh Penguins in their scouting department. God bless ‘em. Not the greatest judge of talent based on what he did here, and maybe he can take two things with him. That mess of a contract and player Ville Koistenen, and those god awful third jersey’s. What the hell, they look like Pitsburgh’s anyway.
Former Panther and the first ever captain of the Panther’s, Brian Skrudland will be returning in a player development capacity. Either director of personnel or player development. It is hoped that Skrudland will be able to instill his dedicated work ethic to our youngsters. A former Stanley Cup Champion with the Montreal Canadiens, Skrudland was the Captain of the Panthers from their inception and through their Cup run in the ’95-’96 season. Known and respected as a professional in the hockey world, this is a good move.
Lastly, as expected, Mike Kitchen will not be returning to Florida as assistant coach. Kitchen who is a holdover from the Jacques Martin coaching staff was primarily responsible for the teams penalty killing and defence. Yea, and we all know what that has looked like the past three seasons! While the penalty killing at times was average, for the most part it ranked middle of the pack or lower. It needed to be better since over the last few seasons we’ve had players with bricks for heads taking too many stupid penalties. Also, some of these penalties were the result of players being out of position. Meaning defensively unaware! In addition to that, I’ve grown tired, as I’m sure so have you, of counting to seven, which is the amount of passes it takes for the Panthers to get our of their zone for the past umpteen seasons. Hopefully the chipping it off the glass panic move is overwith for now.
To take Kitchen’s place will be another former Panther, defenceman Gord Murphy. Murphy played for the Cats for six seasons and was also on the Cup run team. Murphy most recently held the same position with the Columbus Blue Jackets until new head coach Scott Arniel came in and decided to start with a new staff. The official announcement of Murphy being named will be today.
Murphy and Skrudland will both bring some class to the organEYEzation and will also attempt to instill the hard work ethic that was once a staple of this franchise. These two guys weren’t flashy, nor were they game breakers. Just solid citizens and known for pushing themselves hard as well as their teammates. Leadership and toughness were attributes that they both displayed as well. Intangibles that have been sorely missed from this team in recent years.
Players, take notice. It’s changing right before your eyes.
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