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Panthers Fire Head Coach Gerard Gallant

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Panthers Fire Head Coach Gerard Gallant; GM Rowe To Serve As Interim Coach

After an 11-10-1 start to the 2016-2017 season, the Florida Panthers have fired head coach Gerard Gallant. Panthers general manager Tom Rowe will take over head coaching duties. The team made the announcement just minutes after a 3-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Panthers went 38-29-15, finishing 6th in the Atlantic Division and missing the playoffs in Gallant’s first season, but saw a lot of positives. First overall pick Aaron Ekblad won the Calder Memorial Trophy as the best rookie, and veteran additions Roberto Loungo and Jarmior Jagr both finished with successful campaigns. The team finished with 91 points, which in most seasons puts you in the playoffs.

In his second season, with offseason additions Keith Yandle and Jiri Hudler, as well as a full season of Jagr and the teams’ young stars, the Panthers went 47-26-9, finishing with 103 points and the winner of the Atlantic Division. The Panthers lost to the New York Islanders in the first round, but looked to only be heading up.

Despite being in the middle of the Atlantic Division pack, with an 11-10-1 record following their loss to the Hurricanes tonight, Rowe and the rest of the Panthers brass has decided that they need to move in a different direction.

While the move was not expected, looking deeper into the situation it should not come as a shock.

Before the season started, the Panthers removed the general manager title from Dale Tallon, promoting him to an executive position and handing the job to Rowe. While Rowe assured the media it was still Tallon’s team, making a change at general manager after the most successful season in franchise history seems more like a team heading in a new direction than a “promotion” for Tallon. The same situation seems to be happening with the firing of Gallant, who was hired by Tallon.

As for Rowe, he has spent most of his hockey career as a coach, mostly in the AHL, as well as an assistant with the Hurricanes. The Panthers hired him as the coach of their AHL team before promoting him to assistant GM last season. With no NHL coaching experience, and an underachieving Panthers team, only time will tell if firing Gallant, most likely to have their own man in charge, is the right move.