What we have been waiting to happen has finally happened, the Florida Panthers have made their decision on interim head coach Peter Horachek. General Manager Dale Tallon decided yesterday not to retain Horachek, and look in a new direction.
It was almost a ‘when’ more than an ‘if’ for Horachek, as this move as been expected to come since the end of the season.
In his first NHL coaching opportunity, Horachek carried a young Panthers team to a lifeless record of 26-36-4. Florida would finish with the worst power play AND penalty kill and ended up with the first overall pick after winning this year’s draft lottery.
With the coaching search under way, with Tallon’s want for an experienced coach it narrows it down to a few candidates – with former Nashville Predators’ bench boss Barry Trotz at the top of the list. I talked about the idea of Trotz coming to Florida before, and still believe he is the best man for the job.
All though you can’t read too much into a four word quote, Tallon called Trotz ‘One hell of a coach’ and with his desire for a coach with NHL experience, you won’t find many coaches with much more than him.
Peter Laviolette was another coach that was brought up in the press conference, but Tallon wouldn’t budge at tipping his hand.
Whoever becomes the new head coach will have an uphill climb on their hands, and in the process will have to deal with a group of very young, and even more promising young players that have the potential to make the Panthers contenders year in and year out.