Sports Analyst: Brendan Taylor via: http://southfloridasportspulse.blogspot.com/
May 17th 2010 is a day that will go down as a monumental day in Panther’s history. On this day the panthers hired Dale Talon the Chicago Blackhawks GM to make the tough decisions in sunrise. Dale is responsible for constructing the current Blackhawks team that features Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toes and won a Stanley cup. From day 1 this man has had what he calls a “blueprint”, he wanted to find guys who wanted to be a part of the Florida Panthers. So not to long after he was hired he calls in the 2 biggest players at the time on the panthers roster (Nathan Horton, Stephen Weiss). Weiss decided to stay Horton on the other hand was shipped to Boston where he would win a Stanley cup with the Bruins the following year. Talon had begun looking for character guys to play for his club during the latter stages of the 2011 season he made a trade with his old team sending winger Michael Frolik for Jack Skille. After a 71 point season for the cats they immediately fired Coach Peter Deboer. The Tallon era had begun.
Nobody knew what the future held for the Panthers, but 1 thing was apparent Tallon was going to change the culture of the team. On July 1st 2011 Tallon hired Kevin Dineen as the new head coach of The Florida Panthers. Dineen coached the ahl’s Portland pirates where he won over 250 games and had 2 eastern conference appearances. Dineen was a hardnosed no non sense player when he was dawning a sweater for the defunct Hartford whalers. He was a good hockey player who could score but wouldn’t back down to anybody and brought his A-game every single night. Tallon certainly saw qualities in Dineen he wanted for the Panthers. Now that he had his head coach it was time to retool the roster,now that Tallon got his guy it was time for NHL free agency to begin on July 1st 2011.
Before that even took place he made a splash on June 24th and landing playmaking Stanley cup champion defensemen Brian Campbell for Rostaslav Olez a. They also acquired sniper and Stanley cup champion Tomas Kopecky June 27th. On July 1st the Florida Panthers signed Jose Theodore, Marcel Goc, Ed Jovonaski, Scottie Upshall, Thomas Fleishmann, Sean Bergenheim, and Kris Versteeg. The next day the Panthers were at it again signing the tough guy Matt Bradley. All of these guys had playoff and Stanley cup experience to bring to the team. The experts criticized the Panthers saying they overspent on guys who are either past their prime or won’t make much of a difference. So as the season rolled around and experts made their predictions the panthers were picked to finish near the bottom of the east. The Panthers have pretty much silenced critics threw 41 games with them leading their division most of the season.
This Panther team has been very fun to watch because they don’t quit or give up. That’s a trait a lot of the previous teams never had. They don’t even back down to the big bad Boston Bruins who they scored a road win over in December 2-1. You can also make an argument that the panthers have 2 or 3 all-stars on the team and that’s encouraging for a team who’s struggled for so long. For the 1st time in a long time Panthers fans have a team they can be proud of. With 41 games left in the season the Panthers are decimated with injuries and the critics are talking again, but never doubt the heart of a champion. This feels like something special around this team. There’s a buzz in the air when you go to the bank Atlantic center these day. Hopefully 2012 is a season to remember for panther fans everywhere.