Dec 5, 2013; Sunrise, FL, USA; Florida Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau (11) shoot the puck on Winnipeg Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec (31) while being defended by defenseman Dustin Byfuglien (33) center Mark Scheifele (55) right wing Matt Halischuk (15) and defenseman Tobias Enstrom (39) in the first period at BB&T Center. Robert Mayer: USA TODAY Sports

Florida Panthers Morning Nips: 12/18/13

Are we having fun yet! The Florida Panthers extended their winning streak to four games last night when they topped the Maple Leafs 3-1 in Toronto. Florida has now won six of eight games in December and the team is 10-8-1 since Peter Horachek took over as head coach. The Panthers have played themselves back into the playoff hunt and for once this season the team’s outlook is starting to mirror the sunny South Florida weather.

Here is the latest from around the Panthers-verse:

  • Former Panthers head coach, Kevin Dineen, has taken on a new job as head coach of the Canadian women’s olympic team. Dineen, who was fired by the Panthers in November, was given this opportunity after Canada’s previous coach, Dan Church, unexpectedly resigned last week. Here is Dineen on the new job:

I am a product of Hockey Canada. I’ve had the opportunity to represent my country on the international stage. I may have a little unfinished business from my Olympic experience.

As a player, Dineen participated in the 1984 Sarajevo Olympic Games where Canada finished fourth. The women’s team he takes over is aiming to win their fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal.

  • Last summer the Panthers were quiet in the free-agent market mainly because GM Dale Tallon was handcuffed by an internal budget. In late September, the Panthers were sold to New York businessman Vincent Viola and now it looks like Florida will have much deeper pockets moving forward.

That news should put a smile on the faces of Panther fans who have grown tired of seeing the team scrape along the salary cap floor on a yearly basis. Tallon also said,

Its nice to see that Tallon is aware of the perils of throwing money at high priced free agents and it seems like the Panthers will continue to take a smart approach that emphasizes longevity over instant success.

  • Not necessarily Panther-related, but here is the latest 30 Thoughts from Elliotte Friedman.
  • According to George Richards, Jonathan Huberdeau should be back Thursday against the Ottawa Senators.

Thats all for now, share your thoughts in the comments section below and follow The Rat Trick on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest.

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