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Florida turfs another head coach, fires Horachek

Apr 29, 2014, 11:31 AM EDT

PeterHorachekFlorida AP

Tough season for bench bosses in Sunrise.

The Florida Panthers fired their second head coach of the season and third in the last three years on Tuesday, relieving Peter Horachek from interim duties after he took over from Kevin Dineen, who was fired a month into the campaign.

“Peter worked very diligently since taking over as interim head coach in November, but at this time we feel that a fresh approach and a new direction is needed behind our bench,” Panthers GM Dale Tallon said in a statement.  “We will immediately begin an extensive search for a new and experienced coach for our franchise, who will guide the Panthers to future success.”

Horachek, who left his post with Florida’s AHL affiliate to take the Panthers gig, recorded a 26-36-4 mark over 66 games. While things started brightly for him — the Panthers went 10-8-1 following the Dineen dismissal — Tallon always remained non-committal about dropping Horachek’s interim tag, and the Panthers limped to a 6-14-1 record over their final 21 games of the year.

Horachek, 54, did make waves late in the season when he blasted ex-Panther Shawn Matthias, who went to Vancouver as part of the Roberto Luongo trade. Upon hearing Matthias’ complaints about his role in Florida, Horachek said the center needed to “get out of the victim role,” and “he went through four coaches, so nobody’s picking on him.”

That last quote is telling, as it gives insight into Florida’s coaching instability over the last few years. As mentioned above, the club has gone through three since 2011 — Horachek, Dineen and Peter DeBoer — and a fourth will soon be brought aboard, per Tallon.

  1. lowenni - Apr 29, 2014 at 11:50 AM

    I actually didn’t think Horachek was a bad coach, at least not for an awful team. Doubt the Panthers will be able to get Trotz or Laviolette to come to Florida so I don’t know what they have in mind. For a while Horachek actually made them a competitive team.

    • greatmiamisportsmind - Apr 29, 2014 at 1:10 PM

      They have nothing to lose by trying to land one of them. Maybe McLellan is let go if the Sharks lose again. There isn’t 30 teams trying to land one of the two coaches.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Apr 29, 2014 at 1:58 PM

      With any luck at all, Tortorella will become available and they can scoop him up before anyone else does. He’d be a hot commodity!!!

      • imleftcoast - Apr 29, 2014 at 3:41 PM

        Please engage in tampering and take Regular John. Shot blocking is the most important stat – said one coach ever.

      • greatmiamisportsmind - Apr 29, 2014 at 5:43 PM

        I’d rather have a second go around with Mike Keenan.

  2. stcrowe - Apr 29, 2014 at 11:51 AM

    So they ask the full-time head coach of their farm team to become the interim head coach of the big club, then they don’t offer a return to the farm team after they choose not to keep him with the big club? I just don’t find that classy at all. I hope he finds another job with a better organization soon.

    • greatmiamisportsmind - Apr 29, 2014 at 1:08 PM

      It’s not Horachek is the next Scotty Bowman. All Horachek did was have one decent stretch in December where they won 5 in a row.

  3. govtminion - Apr 29, 2014 at 11:54 AM

    On the bright side, if Panthers ownership fires two more coaches, they’ll earn a free sub on their stamp card.

    • buddysguys - Apr 29, 2014 at 12:12 PM


  4. freneticgarfieldfan - Apr 29, 2014 at 12:02 PM

    “…the Panthers limped to a 6-14-1 record over their final 27 games…” – um, what about the other 6???

    • Mike Halford - Apr 29, 2014 at 12:17 PM

      21. 1 and 7 look the same. My eyes, they bad.

  5. esracerx46 - Apr 29, 2014 at 12:15 PM

    Tallon is next. Horacheck did a good job with what he was given. It’s time to quit playing the blame game.

    • greatmiamisportsmind - Apr 29, 2014 at 1:07 PM

      It will be a long time before Tallon is fired. Don’t forget, he’s been handcuffed by ownership not wanting to spend money. New ownership has given him the green light to spend what he wants. It’s not like this team is totally talentless. Tallon has drafted Bjugstead, Huberdeau, Barkov, and Gudbranson. The way to build a competitive team is to bottom out like the ‘Hawks and Penguins have done.

      • esracerx46 - Apr 29, 2014 at 1:18 PM

        How long would you like them to bottom out? Seems like they’ve been at the bottom for a LONG time. Same can be said with the Oilers

      • greatmiamisportsmind - Apr 29, 2014 at 5:45 PM

        If you mean by bottoming out for a long time, did you miss the division championship 2 years ago and taking the Eastern conference Champions (New Jersey) to overtime in Game 7? If the owners would have let the Tallon spend money, they wouldn’t be as bad as they are today.

    • lovac2 - Apr 29, 2014 at 1:28 PM

      Hopefully, Blackhawks can get another sweet deal from Tallon before he gets fired. In his last deal, he unloaded Versteeg on us. We need Tallon to take him back.

      • greatmiamisportsmind - Apr 29, 2014 at 5:49 PM

        And the Panthers got Jimmy Hayes (who had 11 goals; tied for 5th on the team) and Dillon Olson.

  6. 19to77 - Apr 29, 2014 at 12:32 PM

    You know, maybe the revolving door of coaches isn’t the problem. Has Tallon considered that the team is just bad?

  7. dirt2013 - Apr 29, 2014 at 1:31 PM

    Panthers can be hockey’s version of the Browns if they just start firing their GM every 3 years or so.

  8. blomfeld - Apr 29, 2014 at 9:59 PM

    How’s that Loungo guy working out for ya ? :)

    • greatmiamisportsmind - Apr 30, 2014 at 1:46 AM

      Oh, you mean the guy that went 6-7-1 on the team that scores the fewest goals in the league. Just imagine if the Panthers ever start to score…

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