Thursday November 21st: Florida Panthers at Edmonton Oilers, 9:30 p.m. ET
|Record||Pts||Standings||Home||vs East||vs Atl|
The Panthers fired coach Kevin Dineen the morning after the Panthers lost 4-1 to the Boston Bruins but make no mistake it was the Panthers 4-3 OT loss at home to the Oilers two days earlier that really spelled the end for Dineen. Following that overtime loss, there was a meeting involving the heavy hitters in the organization (i.e. GM Dale Tallon, assistant GM Mike Santos, minority owner/vice-governer Doug Cifu etc) held ostensibly to discuss the future of the organization and its coaches. If the Panthers beat the Oilers that night, I do not think that meeting occurs and I do not think Dineen gets fired. Not that beating the Oilers would have ultimately changed anything, chances are it would have only served to delay the inevitable dismissal of Dineen.
The point is, the Panthers did lose to the Oilers and they looked very bad while doing so. Florida’s performance against the Oilers was the kind that you can see convincing an organization that changes need to be made. Now the Panthers are helmed by interim coach Peter Horachek and they will be looking to avenge their defeat. I am sure no one is saying it outright in the locker room but I think there could be an undercurrent of “let’s win this one for Dineen” going into the game in Edmonton. Dale Tallon made it clear that the players were as much to blame for the firing as the coaches were but like Tallon said, “Its easier to fire a coach than it is to fire 23 players”. The Panther players are aware of their accountability in the whole ordeal so I would not be surprised if the Panthers come out with a little extra juice in this one.
“Kevin-Dineen-revenge-game” for the Panthers? Maybe. If so I think the Cats could easily beat a struggling Oilers team.