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Horachek Gets Right To Work

Florida Panthers coach Peter Horachek ran his first practice Friday at the University of Ottawa prior to a game against the Senators.

Friday, 11.8.2013 / 8:56 PM ET / Features
By Sean Farrell  - NHL.com Correspondent
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Horachek Gets Right To Work
Interim head coach Peter Horachek oversaw his first practice Friday at Univeristy of Ottawa.

OTTAWA -- Peter Horachek got right to work in his new position as interim coach of the Florida Panthers. A busy weekend schedule left him little choice.

With Florida in town to play the Ottawa Senators on Saturday afternoon, Horachek ran his first Panthers practice Friday at the University of Ottawa.

Horachek was promoted from the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League by Florida general manager Dale Tallon, who fired coach Kevin Dineen and assistant coaches Gord Murphy and Craig Ramsay on Friday. The Panthers are in seventh place in the eight-team Atlantic Division with a 3-9-4 record.

"I had a heart-to-heart meeting with the team and explained to them what went on today, and the reasons for it and what my expectations were, and it was loud and clear," Tallon said. "Hopefully they get the message, because if they don't, they won't be here."

Horachek, who was advised of the coaching change Thursday, is in his first season in the Panthers organization after spending the previous 10 years with the Nashville Predators.

"We can't change the past now," the 53-year-old said. "We only can control what we do now, how we want to play. I think it's not going to probably change all in one day, but what we can change is our 60-minute consistent attitude and approach to the work ethic, and it all starts with your backbone and how you want to work and how you want to approach the game.

"Are we working hard going forward, are we working hard enough coming back, and when we do that, I think we'll become a better team and we become a real team."

The Panthers lost 4-1 to the Boston Bruins on Thursday in Dineen's last game behind the bench. Horachek and new assistant coaches Brian Skrudland and John Madden will make their debuts against the Senators.

"I don't think it needs to be an overhaul, but there's a certain way that I like to play so I'll adapt that and put that into it," Horachek said. "But obviously not having a number of practices and not having a lot of time to get into video sessions and coming in basically today is a difficult thing, so I think everybody's going to have to get have to get comfortable with each other and learn each other and what our expectations are."

Florida plays its third game in four days Sunday against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

"It's obviously hectic any time this happens, so it's disappointing for us as players," defenseman Brian Campbell said. "We definitely share or take most of the blame for what has gone on, but we're trying to look forward now, and it was a good practice for us today. Obviously, it's a little hectic implementing different things and everything, so we've got to get used to it, but we'll learn quick."

Horachek coached Panthers defenseman Mike Weaver when the Orlando Solar Bears of the International Hockey League won the Turner Cup in 2000-01.

"He's come in today the same as he was back then," Weaver said. "He's a coach that keeps it simple. He's pretty straight up with us. He wants energy, and it's a pretty good refresher. I think everybody's excited to move forward here."

Horachek goes over a drill at his first practice as interim head coach.

Center Jonathan Huberdeau said he expects the Panthers will come out flying this weekend.

"I think we're going to be a more aggressive team than we have been," Huberdeau said. "We were more passive and other teams were taking advantage of that. We need to have more intensity and be the aggressive team."

Dineen led the Panthers to the Southeast Division title and their first trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 12 years in 2011-12, his first season as an NHL coach.

After seeing the team fall back to a League-low 36 points in 48 games last season, Tallon decided to make the change with the Panthers in a 1-6-4 tailspin.

"Obviously this season hasn't gone the right way and changes needed to be made," defenseman Erik Gudbranson said. "Who knows who's safe and what not, but now it's just going out and playing the right way as a team, trying to win hockey games. That's what we need to do.

"We put ourselves behind the 8-ball early in this season, and the only way that we can get out of it is within our dressing room and going out there and playing hard and playing the right way."

Author: Sean Farrell | NHL.com Correspondent




1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54


J. Huberdeau 79 15 39 10 54
J. Jokinen 81 8 36 -2 44
N. Bjugstad 72 24 19 -7 43
A. Ekblad 81 12 27 12 39
B. Boyes 78 14 24 11 38
A. Barkov 71 16 20 -4 36
J. Hayes 72 19 16 -4 35
B. Campbell 82 3 24 4 27
B. Pirri 49 22 2 6 24
D. Bolland 53 6 17 4 23
R. Luongo 28 19 12 .921 2.35
A. Montoya 6 7 2 .892 3.01

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