By relieving Peter DeBoer of his duties as head coach of The Florida Panthers with one year remaining on his contract, you get the feeling that Dale Tallon is going to do this his way. In prior years, DeBoer might have been allowed to stay so that Florida didn’t end up paying a coach who wasn’t part of the organEYEzation. You also get the feeling that DeBoer was given one year to see what he could do, and it became obvious that somewhere after the trade deadline, his future was cast.
Now the attention will turn to remaking the Florida Panthers for the upcoming season(s) via the draft, free agency and trades. Tallon will acquire the pieces, and the next coach will put the puzzle together. Tallon feels that Florida will be a destination that not only players want to come to, but it should be an attractive place for head coaches as well. Time will tell on both of those ends if that’s true.
What kind of coach will Tallon hire? Well he indicated throughout the year that he doesn’t like the “dump and chase” style of play. That also means that a “trapping” type coach most likely won’t be brought on as well. Good thing. We’ve watched enough paint dry on the ice for the last six years to last me a lifetime. Time for some uptempo style if you want my opinion. Dale being a former defenceman in the NHL is not a defensive minded person. He wants goals, physical play, and likes his players to have some creativity, yet still be responsible. He’s also said that the Panthers will take their time in their search. No hurry to rush into anything, but it would be nice to have the right person in place by the draft in June. He’s also big on experience. All these factors will play into the process. Here’s a list of names that are being talked about, with some brief comments from me.
Ken Hitchcock: While I think his arse kicking style is needed, he’s not the right fit yet. If we were a team that was falling short of a championship…maybe. Plus if he’s hired Stephen Weiss will run for the hills. On second thought……
Michel Therrien: A disciplinarian. He’s also very rigid and not a players coach. Reminds me of an ogre. Had a job where he coached Sid and Geno….and blew it cause of his refusal to have an open mind.
Jacques Lemaire: I actually could see it. I just don’t think he’d come here. His trap days seem to be behind him, but depending on the makeup of the roster, that style could rear it’s ugly head.
Bruce Boudreau: I know he still has a job, but if the Caps get knocked out many think he’s gone. His f-bomb rants would be difficult to take seriously, and don’t do much to motivate. Hell, I can drop some f-bombs…..and for a lot less money.
Craig MacTavish: Not necessarily a bad choice. A bit defensive minded, but pays attention to detail and likes to play it a bit rough. I could see him as a front runner.
Craig Hartsburgh: Coached the Hawks and the Senators. Defensive minded and not a guy I view as a solution.
Bob Hartley: Won a cup in Colorado, plays uptempo and is a taskmaster. Emotional as well. Hmmmm.
Mike Keenan: Just kidding. Even though I like him very much.
Mike Haviland: Assistant in Chicago. Has ties to Dale. Could be ready for a head coaching job.
Kirk Muller: Stuck in “The System” of Uncle Jack in Montreal… lots of teams want this guy. Why not us? He’s paid his dues and he’s ready.
Paul MacLean: Long time assistant with Detroit. Likes offense and is responsible for their power play. He’s been with Mike Babcock for a long time as well, so his training is excellent.
Kevin Dineen: A hard nosed player during his day, has been getting rave reviews for what he’s doing in the AHL.
Gord Murphy: Current an assistant for the Panthers. Doubtful, but could be retained since he did such a great job with the defence this season. My guess is that he remains as an assistant.
John Torchetti: Coached the Panthers briefly before the lockout. Current assistant in Atlanta, and has ties to Dale as well from his Chicago days.
A long list, but most likely the one that Dale is working from. If I had to narrow it down to five, I’d say Harltey, Haviland, Dineen, Muller and MacLean. With MacTavish as a dark horse. I’d be happy with any one of these.
The change is/was needed whether the roster was stripped at the deadline or not. The next boss will have his work cut out for him, but he’ll most likely be someone that has had success at the NHL level either as a head or assistant coach….with potentially some success in at least the AHL. Dale wants a winner. Hard to listen to, or believe in a guy who hasn’t won in the big show.
What are your thoughts?
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