Kukla's Korner Hockey
NEW YORK (Dec. 19, 2016) – The National Hockey League today released the following statement regarding the nomination of Florida Panthers chairman, owner and governor Vincent Viola as Secretary of the Army:
“We proudly congratulate Vincent Viola on his nomination to this important position – which, pending Senate approval, obviously will require his full-time attention. The Club has assured us that the day-to-day operations of the Panthers’ franchise will not be affected by this development, and we will certainly work closely with the Club to ensure that is the case. Mr. Viola and team ownership have further advised that they remain completely committed to South Florida and to the Panthers’ fans.”
from Damien Cox of Sportsnet,
... Oh, the fun we’ll have as Viola, only moderately successful as an NHL owner so far, attempts to take his rightful place alongside Linda McMahon, Kanye West and Rex Tillerson as the Trump administration nuzzles up to Vladimir Putin and expansionist Russia.
Seriously, you couldn’t make this stuff up.
We’ve been in uncharted territory for a while now as The Great Orange Fog prepares to assume power, and now the NHL gets to join in the festivities. Roberto Luongo should be able to snag great tickets for next month’s inauguration.
Viola, who bought the Panthers in 2013 and this year gave the team’s logo more of a military-style look, graduated from West Point in 1977, became a billionaire through electronic trading and helped fund the Combating Terrorism Centre after 9/11. In other words, he has the money required to join Trump’s billionaire-boys cabinet, plus a serious military background that makes him a qualified candidate for this office.
Indeed, as evidence mounts that Putin-inspired hacking helped nudge Trump towards the U.S. presidency, it’s fascinating that Viola has for some time been a proponent of America becoming much more proficient and aggressive in the world of cyber warfare.
Remind me not to log into the Panthers' website.
from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,
Tallon and owner Vinny Viola met Wednesday, the morning after an ugly 5-1 loss in Minnesota that dropped Florida to 2-6 since Gerard Gallant was fired. Hours later, there was a report Tallon resumed control of the franchise’s day-to-day operations.
A few sources backed the information, indicating they were under the impression Tallon received increased responsibility. That included both agents and executives from other NHL teams. (Tallon himself could not be reached for comment.) However, owner Vinny Viola, reached Wednesday night, indicated nothing has changed.
“As far as I am concerned, Dale has always had final say over hockey decisions,” Viola said by telephone. “What we had done is bifurcate Dale from some things he didn’t need to worry about anymore [negotiating contracts, for example]. But, in terms of player decisions, it is his call.”
Viola’s comments were met with skepticism, since, for example, Tallon would not have supported Gallant’s firing or Erik Gudbranson’s trade. I’ve heard the same rumours as everyone else — about Tallon being pushed aside and losing power in the hockey department.
It’s weird. What I don’t understand is why there would be any report of a change if nothing was different.
via Michael Russo of the StarTribune,
The Wild got goals from its top three lines against Roberto Luongo, who fell to 3-12-3 at Xcel Energy Center and was pulled for the fourth time in seven visits (0-6-1) after allowing five goals on 17 shots.
Tom Rowe after the 5-1 loss, includes what Rowe considered a stupid question about Luongo...
from Dave Hyde of the SunSentinel,
The names keep changing. The roles keep shifting. The primary question stays the same:
Do the Panthers know what they're doing?
With Sunday night's firing of coach Gerard Gallant, the purge is nearly complete of the smart hockey lifers that gold-fingered general manager Dale Tallon assembled before being kicked upstairs last spring.
The old-school hockey minds have given way to hockey analytics almost completely now. Maybe this team wins now. Maybe it gets healthy and shakes off a slow start. Probably in the short term, as Tallon assembled so much talent it can't be completely screwed up no matter who's in charge.
That brings up the question: Who is in charge? To announce Gallant's firing Monday, four Panthers officials were needed on the teleconference with media. Four. One more and they'd have a starting lineup Tuesday night in Chicago for the first game of their next chapter.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The response I got to Gallant's firing from team executives and coaches around the league was a universal shaking of the head. A coach who was nominated for the Jack Adams Award last season is gone just 22 games into the 2016-17 campaign -- while his team is over .500 and has battled key injuries since the get-go.
The fact that photos surfaced of Gallant having to hail his own cab in Raleigh, N.C., after being told he was fired -- well, that just adds to the level of outrage for many.
I suspect that Gallant knew from the moment former GM Dale Tallon was "promoted'' to president of hockey operations last spring that he was on the clock. Gallant had been Tallon's coach. And now Tallon had been punted from the day-to-day hockey decision-making.
You can't fire a coach right after he's been nominated for coach of the year, can you? But the Panthers canned Gallant. For no justifiable reason.
SUNRISE, Fla. - Florida Panthers President of Hockey Operations Dale Tallon announced today that Panthers General Manager Tom Rowe has been named interim head coach for the remainder of the 2016-17 season.
Rowe replaces Gerard Gallant, who was relieved of his duties yesterday.
Assistant coach Mike Kelly was also relieved of his duties.
from Harvey Fialkov of the Sun Sentinel at Miami Herald,
The Florida Panthers fired coach Gerard Gallant on Sunday night and general manager Tom Rowe will assume the coaching duties, according to a source.
The move was made Sunday night after the Panthers' 3-2 loss at Carolina. The Panthers fell to 11-10-1 through 22 games, good for only 10th in the Eastern Conference, but just two points out of a wild-card playoff berth.
Gallant confirmed via text that he and longtime friend and assistant coach Mike Kelly had been fired.
Phone calls to Rowe, assistant co-general manager Steve Werier and president of hockey operations Dale Tallon haven't been returned. Bill Torrey, the Panthers special advisor to Rowe and alternate governor, was unaware of the changes as he was tending to a personal matter.
from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
You said you don't want to let negative feelings creep in. Is that an issue for you this season? Is that a challenge you're trying to overcome now?
"Always. There's always negative feelings, but to stay positive is really important. That's not a big part of my day, worrying about little things that happen here and there. It's there and in the back of your mind, but I'm a positive, confident person creeping on the edge of cocky. I feel that's where I need to be."
What are you learning about trying to come together after so much changeover in the defense corps this past offseason?
"Of course it takes time. It's chemistry, right? We played two full years with those other guys. Now that they're gone, we're learning and we're going to play six years with the new guys, maybe more. It's been just over one month. To let things fall too heavily on all of our shoulders, it's not worth it. It's more focusing on positive things that happen every day, lifting each other up rather than worrying about, with all due respect, what you would say or anybody else?
"I feel we've definitely been turning a corner since we got Juice back, Jussi Jokinen. As Nick Bjugstad comes back, and once [Petrovic] gets better and [Huberdeau], we're going to be a great team. We know we're already a great team. We have the structure. We have the personnel to do it on the power play, on the penalty kill, at 5-on-5. We know we can. That's the kind of confidence and swagger that we have."
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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