It’s Dan Mount and I’m here with my Monday NHL column. My apologies last week for not having my Friday column, but I’ll have all my usual interesting video in this column. This article talks about the Florida Panthers firing Kevin Dineen and where they go from here. Also, we’ll talk about Edmonton signing the enigmatic Ilya Bryzgalov.
I also want to give a hearty shout out to our great veterans wherever you are. Thanks for serving. I’m also participating in Movember to raise money for men’s health causes. Visit my page if you want to donate. If you have any comments, please leave them below or tweet me @DanMountSports.
Panthers do in Dineen
The Florida Panthers were projected to be one of the worst teams in the league. There were a couple of people that were a little optimistic, but most had them finishing out of the playoffs. (I had the team finishing worse in last in the new Atlantic Division, which is worse than the Buffalo Sabres.) The Panthers had many question marks surrounding them.
The Panthers have gotten off to a poor start at 3-9-4 and fired their coach Kevin Dineen. San Antonio Rampage (the Panthers’ American Hockey League farm club) Peter Horachek was named interim head coach. The team only has 10 points and are tied with Edmonton for the second worst record in the league behind Buffalo.
Florida had been going in the right direction when it won the Southeast Division title in 2011-12. However, it was the worst team in the league as it only amassed 36 points. (Florida also had a league-worst 15 wins in regulation)
The team has plenty of holes on defense and is too inexperienced in certain places (forward lines) and a little too old and in other places (defense and goaltending). It also doesn’t help when you don't score a lot.
The management in Sunrise is trying to shake things up and firing the coach is usually the easier to get rid of, but plenty of experts think General Manager Dale Tallon is not seeing that the cupboard is more bare than he thinks it is. Tallon is relying on veterans who had career years at or near the tail end of their runs.
There is some promise for the future as the group is a very young group that is led by Calder Trophy winner Jonathan Huberdeau and a solid group of defensemen like Brian Campbell, Erik Gudbranson and Dmitry Kulikov. Florida also has a high-flying rookie in Aleksander Barkov, who has 4 goals and 4 assists in 18 games this season.
I also think the Dineen firing was really short-sighted. He’ll find work sooner rather than later. Also, Tallon may be looking over his shoulder if the team doesn’t pick it up. The Panthers have already dropped two in a row after losing 4-3 to the Rangers. I feel Florida will be in the mix when it comes to the top pick.
The Bryz never sleeps
It was only going to be a matter of time before someone took a flyer (sorry for the pun) on the "universally known" netminder. The Edmonton Oilers tried to address their leaky goaltending situation when they signed the Russian to a one-year deal.
It comes as no surprise as the Oilers have given up nearly four goals a game and have run out numerous people like Jason LaBarbera, Richard Bachman and Devan Dubnyk with no results. Bryzgalov went 19-17-3 with 2.79 GAA and .900 save percentage before Philadelphia bought him out in the offseason. He did try to latch on in the ECHL after a tryout, but was released.
Is Bryzgalov the solution to help a young team find its way with a load of offensive talent? I think the problems run deeper with this team that has a lot of defensive problems and is trying to get used to its hard-nosed new coach in Dallas Eakins. Whatever the case, Bryzgalov will be busy in a place he once compared to the North Pole.
Since I missed it Friday, I’ll give you a couple games to watch the next couple days. Thursday’s slate is loaded.
Tampay Bay at Montreal, 7:30 p.m. (RDS,SUN): The Lightning keep standing up to the test thrown at them.
Phoenix at St. Louis, 8 p.m. (NBCSN, TSN2): The Blues are 7-1-1 at home, but face a surprising Coyotes team.
Toronto at Minnesota, 7:30 p.m. (TSN, FS North +), 7:30 p.m.: Josh Harding of the Wild is unbeaten at home when he starts in goal.
And without further ado, here is the First star, Worst star and Who blew up the Death Star?
The Leafs' Phil Kessel celebrates Hall of Fame night with an HOF-like goal.
Florida Panthers forward Jesse Winchester’s elbow to Boston’s Chris Kelly.
Who blew up the Death Star?
Ottawa’s Mark Borowiecki gives Dallas a hand with the own goal.
That’s it for today. See you later in the week.
Dan Mount is an NHL and college football writer for TJRSports.com. He is based out of Watertown, N.Y.