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Friedman: Ownership ‘very confident’ about Panthers’ shake-up

24 APR 2016: A dejected Florida Panthers bench after losing in the second overtime period of Game 6 of the 2016 NHL Playoffs between the New York Islanders and the Florida Panthers played at the Braclays Center in Brooklyn,NY. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)
(Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)

Elliotte Friedman was on Calgary’s Sportsnet 960 on Tuesday morning.

On how coming off one of their most successful seasons in a long time, the Florida Panthers have completely overhauled their front office, with the latest being the firing of well-respected Scott Luce:

“Yes. Basically the way we found out was Scott Luce was supposed to go to the Memorial Cup apparently, and on I think it was Sunday Tom Rowe, who’s the new GM, went out there too, met with him and let him go. And it quickly got out. With half the league there at the Memorial Cup, there was no way it was going to be kept a secret.

“I think there’s been more. I think it was James Mirtle who reported that Hal Gill was fired yesterday. He was one of the player development guys. I think three of their scouts either have been let go or will be let go in the last 24 hours or the next 24 hours. So there’s more coming.

“It’s a crazy story. I wrote about it last week in 30 Thoughts, about how they’re changing their draft model a bit and using more of an analytics-based system called the PCS model. Luce ran their draft.

“There’s been a lot of talk that Dale Tallon’s still in charge. I don’t think you can believe that anymore. There’s no way Tallon would have done that.

“So you’re right. It’s been a hugely successful season. They’re making a lot of changes. Internally their ownership feels very confident about what they’re doing. They really believe that this is the future and the way to go. I see it. Viola, the owner, in his business he’s an analytics-based guy. So you can sell that to him. And I think that’s kind of how this has worked.

“But there’s no question that their fan base is nervous. It’s one of those things where you do it, and you believe you’re right; but until you can prove it, it’s very difficult to say, ‘This is going to work.’ And there’s a lot of people who are nervous about their futures there.

“The other thing too is they’ve got an assistant coach opening now. John Madden was fired. They’re bringing in one, maybe two more coaches. I think the question we’re all kind of wondering is, is Gerard Gallant going to be hiring these coaches or is ownership going to be hiring these coaches – or the GM, Tom Rowe. If it turns out it’s not people that Gallant is comfortable with, I think that could bring another layer of discomfort there.”

Source: Sportsnet 960/ Transcript: Nichols

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