Panthers hire new head coach

After missing the playoffs for the 10th straight season, the Florida Panthers decided that they would take a new route as they announced the hiring of new head coach, Kevin Dineen.

Dineen was officially introduced Wednesday as the franchise’s 11th head coach. He will take over for Pete Deboer after he was fired back on April 10th, a day after the Panthers missed the playoffs once again - the third time under his ruling. Details were not released regarding the terms of the contract as per club policy.

Just like Deboer, this will be Dineen’s first year as an NHL head coach.

Dineen has spent the last six seasons as the head coach of the Portland Pirates of the AHL. He had a record of 266-155-59 over that time as he lead his Pirates to the playoffs in five of the six seasons. He had a winning percentage of .616, the best in the club’s history. He has managed to win at least 40 games in four of the six season, he also has won two division titles, and made it to he Eastern Conference Finals twice.

In the 2005-06 season, Dineen guided the Pirates to a 53-18-8 record. For this he won the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the AHL’s most outstanding coach.

Clearly, the figures speak for themselves as Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon is confident that he has made the right decision.

“We talked to a lot of people about our opening and the minute I met Kevin, I knew he was the guy“, says Talon. “You look into his eyes, you can see the passion, you can see the caring, compassion, integrity, class, dignity, all those things that we want our players to be like.” Talon then added ,”This is the right man for the job. I’m excited about our future now.

The 47-year old, Quebec City native, Dineen spent 19 seasons playing in the NHL, he scored 355 goals and had 760 points spending time with Hartford/Carolina, Philadelphia, Ottawa and Columbus. He served as team captain while playing for Philadelphia, Hartford and Carolina.

Kevin comes from a hockey orientated family. His father, Bill was both an NHL coach and a player. His brothers Gord and Peter were NHL players. His other brother, Shawn, is now a scout for the Nashville Predators.

Dineen has his work cut out for him as he takes over a team that is coming off a 72-point season and a last place finish in the Eastern Conference, also the club has finished 3rd last overall in the league for the second straight year.

“I like to think outside the box and take risks … this is not a risk,” said Tallon on Dineen. “I’m really charged up that Kevin has accepted the challenge to come here and help us win a Stanley Cup.”

Adam Reid
adam_mapleleafs@hotmail.com

3 Comments

George Prax's picture

Not sure Dineen is good enough to make up the difference to finally make the playoffs, but he'll be a good coach. That said, it's starting to get to the point of no return for the Panthers, if they can't make it in this year, with cities likely having a renewed confidence with the whole Winnipeg situation panning out, the Panthers are going to have a huge target on their backs from people wanting to make it eight and such.

Adam Reid's picture

No doubt Dineen is a good coach, but for this season, and maybe next, hes just filling a hole. This team is not built strongly enough, and they aren't at a competitive level to compete with the powerhouse teams. But, with this 10-year playoff drought, no doubt they have targets on their back, the issue is trying to be kept as down low as possible.

George Prax's picture

Remember last year when Quebec fans crashed Isles vs. Thrashers games? Don't be surprised to see that happen to you guys a few times next season in Florida or more likely somewhere closer to QC.