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Panthers Make Coaching Changes

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

Friday, 11.08.2013 / 11:45 AM / 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 MTL 62 41 16 5 171 135 87
2 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
3 NYR 61 38 17 6 192 152 82
4 TBL 64 38 20 6 210 171 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 64 34 20 10 188 159 78
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 63 28 22 13 154 178 69
10 PHI 63 27 25 11 168 183 65
11 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 62 26 32 4 160 196 56
14 CAR 61 24 30 7 142 162 55
15 TOR 63 25 33 5 170 193 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 63 22 16 -8 38
J. Huberdeau 60 9 27 4 36
J. Jokinen 62 6 28 0 34
A. Ekblad 63 10 23 8 33
B. Boyes 61 11 21 9 32
J. Jagr 59 12 19 -9 31
J. Hayes 54 17 10 -5 27
B. Campbell 63 3 20 3 23
A. Barkov 52 10 12 -4 22
T. Fleischmann 52 7 14 12 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 23 16 11 .920 2.40
A. Montoya 5 6 2 .891 2.98
 
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