Friday, April 11, 2008

Panthers coach fired... finally

Jacques Martin has been fired by the Florida Panthers. He has, however, been give the opportunity to keep his GM position. This is a team that hasn't won a playoff series since 1996, hasn't won a playoff game since 1997, and hasn't qualified for the playoffs since 2000. Martin joined the Panthers in May, 20004, and assumed the General Manager duties after Mike Keenan was fired September 3, 2006.

The team seemed filled with potential the last 2 seasons. Both young guns and veterans were brought in, a #1 goaltender was signed, and the signs were there that this team should compete. Yet, again, the Panthers failed to make the playoffs. Yes, a nice March gave them a sniff at the postseason (it helped that 9 of 10 were at home, and the one road game was cross-state in Tampa), but blowing 3 consecutive 2-goal, 3rd period leads in February put them too far back.

Keeping Martin on as GM might be a smart thing to do. The players he has been able to sign are quality guys, the right guys I feel. Maybe some were too young to count on, but nothing I saw this season made me think that Martin was the guy who could get them over the hump. It will be interesting to see who the Cats are going to bring in. I think they need to look young, someone who can push the young guys into a lead role and get the vets to fill a nice solid foundation.

For no reason other than complete speculation, I think someone like Pat Burns might fit in nicely in South Florida. He has been out of coaching since '04 battling colon cancer, but he has recently been named as an assistant coach for Team Canada in the upcoming World Championships. He clearly wants to get back into coaching, and a young team like Florida, with little pressure from its sparse fan base might give him a good opportunity to turn a team and his career around. That said, who knows if Burns has any interest at all in the Panthers, or vice versa.

With a fresh start, I'm looking forward to '08-'09 already.

1 comment:

ASponge said...

I always liked Jacques Martin, but you make a very convincing argument.

It hurts to fire him when the team made such a great run at the end, but maybe it's what's needed.