On Friday, Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon announced that head coach Kevin Dineen and assistants Craig Ramsey and Gord Murphy have been relieved of their duties. This was first reported by George Richards of the Miami Herald. Dineen and company have been on the job for just over two seasons, taking the helm at the beginning of the 2011-2012 season after coaching the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League. Peter Horachek, who was the head coach of the Panthers AHL affiliate in San Antonio, has been promoted to coach the Panthers. Brian Skrudland and John Madden will be his assistants.
During a conference call with media, Tallon mentioned that “something just isn’t right” with this team after starting this season with a 3-9-4 record but that Dineen would be the first of many changes coming. He also mentioned that “we’re all responsible for this record” while also noting that firing Dineen was something that wasn’t taken lightly. Tallon also said that he will offer Dineen an opportunity to stay within the organization if he wants to.
While changes needed to be made in order to salvage Florida’s season, the real onus here is on Tallon for constructing the roster as he did. Starting goaltender Jacob Markstrom has played only 42 career NHL games and could’ve benefited from having a solid starting goaltender in front of him to help mentor his development, not career backup Scott Clemmensen and Tim Thomas, the loose cannon. Not everything is bad in Sunrise; Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov project to be core pieces of the Panthers’ puzzle for many years to come but still need time to adjust to the NHL game. However, this move comes across as Tallon trying to save his own skin and if things don’t turn around he may find himself in the same boat as Dineen.