Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 11/08/13 at 04:58 PM ET
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
Dale Tallon will tell you the rebuild began when he got there, so this would be year three. After three wins in 16 games this season, the GM fired all of his coaches, then got on a conference call with reporters and spoke words that long-suffering Panthers fans have surely heard before. “This is just the beginning,” Tallon warned. “If our players don’t respond to this then they won’t be Panthers for very long. We want people that want to be Panthers, and if they don’t want to be, we’ll accommodate them.”
The Panthers are finding out exactly what the Oilers are learning: That you can’t win when your best players are all in their early 20s. That you need commensurate veteran leadership around those young players to carry them through their inevitable runs of inconsistency, and teach them how the NHL game is played. You also need stellar goaltending, because breakdowns occur more and the chances allowed tend to be of a higher quality.
The problem is, when you are Florida there is never enough money to attack the free agent market in search of those veterans. And when you are in the early stages of a rebuild, you can only entice second-tier UFAs, or oldsters on the comeback like Tim Thomas. Because the good free agents all want to chase a Stanley Cup....
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