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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

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 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 79 27 39 23 66
J. Jokinen 81 18 42 25 60
A. Barkov 66 28 31 18 59
J. Huberdeau 76 20 39 17 59
V. Trocheck 76 25 28 15 53
R. Smith 82 25 25 19 50
A. Ekblad 78 15 21 18 36
N. Bjugstad 67 15 19 -8 34
B. Campbell 82 6 25 31 31
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18

 
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