Nov 5, 2013; Sunrise, FL, USA; Florida Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen reacts in the third period of a game against the Edmonton Oilers at BB&T Center. Robert Mayer USA TODAY Sports
Florida Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen has to be feeling the heat. Last night after the Panthers 4-3 OT loss to the Edmonton Oilers, Panthers management held a meeting at the BB&T Center, according to the Miami Herald.
General manager Dale Tallon told the Miami Herald that the organization will not be making a head coaching change at this time but he warned that changes could be coming soon.
“”There will be changes though,” Tallon said, “I don’t make rash decisions. None of us are happy. I have to fix this and I will. We’re better than this.”
In attendance at the meeting was Tallon, Doug Cifu, the team’s minority owner and vice governor, assistant GM Mike Santos and hockey operations director Mike Dixon.
Kevin Dineen has seen his job security diminish as the Panthers have struggled all season. After a meeting of minds like last night, I think it is safe to say that Dineen in officially on the hot seat.
Dineen, in the final year of his contract, got off to a hot start when he took the reigns of the team prior to the 2011-12 season. In his first year as an NHL head coach, he led the 11-12 Panthers to an improbable 38-26-18 record to go along with the Southeast Division title. Since then things have been downhill. The Panthers were awful in last year’s lockout shortened season going 15-27-6 and finishing dead last in the NHL. Despite the poor performance, Dineen remained relatively unscathed as most attributed the struggles to injures, bad goaltending and a team that consisted mostly of minor leaguers by the end of the season.
One bad season as an NHL head coach and you may still have a job but if the struggles continue then there are not many franchises that will keep you around. No one expected total dominance from this year’s Panthers team but most expected better than a 3-8-4 record through 15 games. With a healthy squad that has simply underperformed and has consistently made the same mistakes, folks around the Panthers have started to ask themselves if Kevin Dineen is the right guy to lead the team.
With their late night meeting, Panthers management made it clear that they are not happy with the direction of the team. Usually in these types of situations, the head coach is the guy that takes the fall. I suspect that with each Panther loss moving forward, the voices calling for the firing of Dineen will get louder and louder. Things are certainly getting interesting in South Florida.
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