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Panthers Make Coaching Changes

Horachek, Skrudland and Madden come in to replace Dineen, Murphy and Ramsay.

Friday, 11.8.2013 / 11:45 AM ET / News
Associated Press
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Panthers Make Coaching Changes
Horachek, Skrudland and Madden come in to replace Dineen, Murphy and Ramsay.

In Kevin Dineen's first season with the Florida Panthers, the team won its first division title and ended a playoff skid that had lasted more than a decade. A year and a half removed from one of the franchise's highest points, Dineen was fired as coach.

The Panthers dismissed him Friday, with the team off to a start that mirrored last season when Florida finished at the bottom of the NHL. The move comes one day after a 4-1 loss at Boston extended the Panthers' losing streak to seven games and left them 14th in the 16-team Eastern Conference.

General manager Dale Tallon called it the "first of many changes," adding "it's easier to fire a coach than it is to fire 23 players."

Tallon also said he has not given up hope for the team to make a playoff run this season.

"It was clear that our team needed a change in philosophy and direction," Tallon said. "We have not met the expectations that we set forth at training camp and it is my responsibility to make the necessary changes to ensure that our club performs at its maximum potential."

Tallon said Dineen worked hard, but that the coaching staff's message was not getting through to players -- and for that, he blamed those in the locker room.

"Our better players have to start playing better or we will get better players," said Tallon, who has been actively trying to reshape Florida's roster through trades in recent weeks, to no avail.

When the Panthers play at Ottawa on Saturday, it will be Peter Horachek -- the former coach of the team's AHL affiliate in San Antonio -- behind the bench. Former players Brian Skrudland and John Madden will serve as Horachek's assistant coaches.

"He's a no-nonsense guy," Tallon said of Horachek, who was told of the move Thursday night.

Skrudland and Madden will replace Dineen's assistants, Gord Murphy and Craig Ramsay, who were also fired.

Tallon said he's been considering making a change "for a long time" and that the decision was not easy, emphasizing that the blame hardly falls entirely on Dineen. Florida has only three wins in 16 games. Already this season, 11 teams have at least 10 wins.

"It's embarrassing," Panthers forward Shawn Matthias said after Thursday's loss in Boston. "I can't remember the last time we won. There are no positives right now."

Florida has lost 10 of its past 11 games and is on its longest skid (0-3-4) since a 10-game slide in April 2011. The Panthers are 3-9-4 this season and have allowed the most goals in the Eastern Conference with 57.

"Unacceptable," Panthers defenseman Brian Campbell said Thursday night, describing the way the team is playing.

Dineen was 56-62-28 in parts of three seasons, leading the Panthers to the 2012 Southeast Division title and guiding the team into the playoffs for the first time since 2000. Tallon said Dineen was emotional and upset when told of his dismissal.

"He's been offered an opportunity to stay with our organization," Tallon said.

Dineen comes from a storied hockey family -- his father, Bill Dineen, played and coached in the NHL, and his brothers Gord and Peter also were NHL players. Kevin Dineen scored 355 goals in parts of 19 seasons with the Hartford/Carolina franchise, Philadelphia, Ottawa and Columbus. The Florida job was his first as an NHL head coach.

It's already been an eventful year for the Panthers, who made a splashy signing by adding goaltender Tim Thomas, and also have gone through an ownership change with Vincent Viola paying $250 million to buy the franchise in September.

Viola demands excellence, Tallon said, and he's clearly not getting it yet.

"If players don't respond to this, they won't be Panthers for very long," Tallon said.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 76 47 21 8 200 169 102
2 x - NYR 75 47 21 7 228 177 101
3 TBL 76 46 23 7 244 198 99
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 DET 75 40 23 12 220 206 92
7 WSH 76 41 25 10 223 188 92
8 BOS 76 38 25 13 201 196 89
9 OTT 75 37 26 12 218 203 86
10 FLA 76 35 26 15 190 207 85
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 76 31 33 12 168 194 74
14 CAR 75 28 36 11 174 204 67
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 75 20 47 8 144 254 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Huberdeau 73 13 36 9 49
N. Bjugstad 72 24 19 -7 43
J. Jagr 71 15 26 -2 41
J. Jokinen 75 8 33 -2 41
B. Boyes 73 12 23 10 35
A. Ekblad 75 11 24 11 35
J. Hayes 66 18 13 -5 31
A. Barkov 65 14 17 -1 31
B. Campbell 76 3 22 2 25
B. Pirri 43 20 2 5 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 26 17 12 .921 2.33
A. Montoya 5 7 2 .888 3.08
 
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