New Bench Boss Kevin Dineen. Photo Source: Lisa Meyer/Getty Images

Great Day For The Panthers. The Kevin Dineen Era Begins!

Today the Florida Panthers made the announcement official that Kevin Dineen is the next head coach of the team.  The 11th in team history, General Manager Dale Tallon quipped “This is a great day for Florida Panthers hockey”.  The much anticipated announcement comes on the day of the Stanley Cup Final opening match (trying to steal some thunder), as Dineen replaces the fired Peter DeBoer, who was “relieved” of his duties shortly after the season ended.

Dineen has been the head coach of the Portland Priates of the AHL for the past six seasons compiling a record of 266-155-59 for a .616 winning percentage.  From what I have read Dineen has a reputation of a tough, intelligent coach who pays attention to details.  He likes his teams to play a puck possession style, and wants his teams to play hard, skate fast and be physical.  Sounds like all the ingredients that have been missing from this team for quite some time, and for those reasons, Dale Tallon felt that Dineen made the most sense to guide what will be a rebuilt Florida Panthers club.

There were numerous candidates that were interviewed, but I have to say that Dineen’s name was one of the first that I heard the minute that DeBoer was let go.  He’s paid his dues in the minor leagues and is anxious to begin his new challenge here in Florida.  Mike Haviland an assistant in Chicago with the Blackhawks, and Atlanta Winnipeg assistant John Torchetti were among a number of candidates that went through the interview process.

Here’s a quote directly from Dale Tallon that should make all of you reading this feel good:

Our players are going to love playing for Kevin. We want our players to learn, we want our players to care and we want our players to play hard every shift of every game and no one personifies that more than the new head coach of the Florida Panthers, Kevin Dineen.

While the names Ken Hitchcock, Craig MacTavish, Bob Hartley and Marc Crawford had been tossed around, those are coaches that for some reason or another did not fit what the Panthers have in mind for the rebuild.  Many of us may have wanted a coach with more NHL experience, however I can see how this move makes sense.  Dineen’s reputuation is stellar not only as a coach, but as a former player.  He is one of only a handful of former NHL players to score over 350 goals and have over 2000 penalty minutes.  If the style he played can translate into this team with the roster that is built, we will be very pleased.  This team will work hard and be tenacious on the puck, and play a style that we will enjoy watching.  As Dave mentioned yesterday, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Bobby Ryan, Ryan Carter and Tim Kennedy are among some of the players that Dineen has coached.

I feel that this is a good choice as Dineen has been passed over a few times in the last couple of years.  I’m not too worried that he doesn’t have NHL coaching experience since he also played for many years at the NHL level in addition to his six years of AHL coaching.  Bruce Boudreau in Washington, Dan Bylsma in Pittsburgh, and Guy Boucher are three former AHL coaches that have experienced some success at the NHL level without previously coaching here.

It’s a tough league and things will move a lot faster at this level.  But Dineen knows that since he played .  If he can be given the tools to work with, which many people say DeBoer never had, we will see the Panthers finally emerge and make the playoffs and be a strong contender.  It now appears that we have a general manager in Dale Tallon who will be given the latitude to get rid of players that don’t fit, and a coach that will be given the players that will help make this team worth watching.

Thanks for reading.  We welcome your comments and opinions.

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Tags: Dale Tallon Florida Panthers Great Day For Panthers Hockey Ken Hitchcock Kevin Dineen New Head Coach Peter Deboer

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