At the end of a long year, one that ended with a 1-0 win against the Eastern Conference Washington Capitals, the Panthers have fired head coach Pete DeBoer.
Usually when a bottom team fires a coach, it's not entirely the coach's fault. For instance the other coach firing this weekend of Ottawa's Cory Clouston. Clouston's team was just as much to blame for their collapse this year as him. However it is always easier to get rid of the coach, than the team.
But I feel this is not the case in Sunrise this year. The Panthers were involved in 49 one goal games. A lot of these games were winnable, but the 3rd period system DeBoer had in place in close games did not cut it. DeBoer would have the Panthers sit back, almost scared of giving up a goal, rather than trying to get the tieing goal, or get the extra goal to relieve the pressure.
The Panthers are a team that does not, simply, have the talent to hold off teams constant pressure for a whole period. Their D is young, and while growing into their potential, can't handle it. But DeBoer, game after game, if it was close in the third would pull the troops back.
DeBoer's special teams were also atrocious. Not because of the talent (Florida can ice one strong PP unit and two good PK units) but, again, because of system. Too much running around on the penalty killing and not enough simplicity on the man advantage.
And then their was the line combinations. For the most part of the season, the offensive lines were confusing to say the least. Lines were not given enough time to form chemistry and when it looked like lines were starting to gel or have a good game or two, they would be broken up. DeBoer also would toss 3rd or 4th line players onto the top 6 and have a top 6 guy in the bottom 6.
At the end of the year, when it looks like the franchise is going to be turning over and making great strides in the right direction, it makes sense to bring in a new coach. One whose systems and decision making can guide a young team on the rise. I feel this is the right move for the Panthers.
What do you think?
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