Panthers Announce Gerard Gallant as Head Coach

After countless months, days and hours, the Florida Panthers have finally narrowed their coaching search down to one man.

On Saturday afternoon, the Panthers announced Gerard Gallant as the franchise’s 13th head coach in almost 21 years.

Gallant, 50, has over 600 games of NHL experience as an assistant and head coach with Columbus Blue Jackets, as well as an assistant coach with the New York Islanders and Montreal Canadiens.

After his 3-year stint as a head coach with the Blue Jackets, Gallant took an opportunity with the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL, where he coached Jonathan Huberdeau and the Sea Dogs to three consecutive President Cup Final’s, and a Memorial Cup Final. After winning two President Cups and a Memorial Cup, Gallant was inducted into the QMJHL hall-of-fame.

Having worked with young kids for several years, Gallant is walking into a familiar situation as the Panthers have 10 players under 25 years old, as well as this year’s 1st overall pick in the NHL draft.

 

We welcome your comments and feedback!

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Florida Panthers and the Role of Leadership in the NHL

The leadership debate has been kicked into high gear recently in the hockey world and everyone who’s everyone is throwing in their two cents (5 cents if you’re from Canada). Leadership is a tricky notion in any realm to define and quantify, but in the sports world leadership is more like an omnipotent force than quantifiable trait. The inspiration for this piece comes from Steve (Dangle) Glynn, who debates the quantities/qualities of leadership in this video: http://theleafsnation.com/2014/4/7/leadership-in-hockey-what-s-that

Steve questions whether or not leadership is even real, if it’s tangible based on goals, hits, motivational speeches etc. It’s a great video; I’d check it out if I were you.

So what is it? What is leadership?

To re-hash and expand on what Steve said: Is leadership defined by production? Fighting? The notion of clutch-ness? (That’s a whole other can of worms)

Is it defined by being vocal in the locker room? On the bench? On the ice?

Is it by example? Putting your body on the line to help your team win? Attending charity events? Being available to the media no matter the situation?

Is it how you interact with your teammates? Patting them on the back when they do something right? Teaching them when they did something wrong? Calming them down when they’re making mistakes?

Is it just being old? How many cups you’ve won? How many years you’ve been in the league?

To me, leadership is a mixed bag. It’s a combination/selection of everything I listed above and more.

You can sense leadership in sport (and life, really) at any level, from the professional grade to the beer league. There are people who others gravitate to for inspiration, support, guidance or security. There are people who possess those unquantifiable quantifiable qualities that make people gravitate to them.

The term “Leadership” is used so often these days so it’s not insane to see why it’s been watered down and questioned as much as it is being. When a team wins or loses, part of that result was due to what we call leadership. Players cite their captains, alternates, goal scorers, grinders, goalies, coaches etc. as people who were impactful on the game’s outcome. Leaders come in all shapes and sizes and are defined by the many variations of leadership. There’s not just one answer, there’s not just one quality, leadership is an orchestra.

When it comes to a team’s captaincy group, I have no doubt that whoever makes the decision takes all of these qualities into account. Technically a team only has captains and alternates so that there is a designated group of people to talk to officials. Obviously that has evolved into what we have today. Being a captain or an alternate is seen as a prestigious honor.

We rank the best captains; we debate if a player should be captain, we even put more weight on a goal when it was scored by a captain or when captains fight! Obviously leadership matters in the NHL and whatever you quantify leadership as it has an impact on how you watch the game and how the game is played.

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Game Day Preview: Panthers VS Canadiens

FLORIDA PANTHERS: 27-39-8 (62 PTS.) vs. MONTREAL CANADIENS: 42-26-7 (91 PTS.)

GAME DAY SONG: Snowbird by Anne Murray

It’s game 75 for the Florida Panthers as they take on their Atlantic Division rival (that still sounds weird) Montreal Canadiens. The Panthers come in looking for a win to end their 3 game home stand on a high note after being blanked by the Hurricanes 3-0 in Sunrise on Thursday. On the opposite side of the coin the Habs, who are in the midst of a 4 game roadie, come to South Florida from Motown after just escaping the Wings with 2 points.

Where they’ve been

The Panthers returned home from their Western road trip looking for some positivity and got just that when they came back from two down to send the Senators home gaping at the dazzler that was Vincent Trocheck in the shootout. Against the Hurricanes, the Cats ran into the Kazak Krusher Anton Khudobin who turned aside all 35 shots (35!) he faced for the shutout to send the fans home with the burning desire to destroy their Borat DVDs. The Panthers are 3-6-1 in their last 10 and are continuing on their quest to end their season on a high note by spoiling the March break of thousands of visiting Montrealers.

Across the rink, the Habs are quite hot posting a 7-3 record in their last 10, winning 7 of their last 8 and have won 4 in a row. It’s not all roses as the Habs stole one in Detroit after hanging on for a 5-4 win over the decimated Wings.

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Panther Parkway Post-Game: Panthers vs. Devils

Stars of the game

1st: Brad Boyes (1G-1A-2P)

2nd: Scottie Upshall (1G-0A-1P)

3rd: Jonathan Huberdeau (0G-2A-2P)

Goals (Panthers 5 , Devils 3)

FLA: Brian Campbell (7) Assists: Jonathan Huberdeau, Jimmy Hayes

NJD: Jaromir Jagr (22) (Powerplay) Assists: Damien Brunner, Travis Zajac

NJD: Bryce Salvador (1) Assists: Patrik Elias, Ryan Clowe

NJD: Patrik Elias (15) Assists: Damien Brunner, Andy Greene

FLA: Quinton Howden (2) Assists: Scott Gomez, Jonathan Huberdeau

FLA: Brad Boyes (18) Assists: Unassisted

FLA: Scottie Upshall (13) Assists: Brad Boyes 

FLA: Vincent Trocheck (1) (Empty Net) Assists: Brian Campbell

Highlight

With another goal recorded tonight, RW Quinton Howden has scored 2 goals in 2 games since his recall from the San Antonio Rampage! C Vincent Trocheck also notched his first NHL goal with an empty-netter to make it a 5-3 final!

Quote of the game

Tweet of the game

Next Up

The Florida Panthers take on the Vancouver Canucks at the BB&T Center, on Sunday at 3:00 p.m.

Tune into FOX Sports Florida to catch all of the action!

Thanks for reading and we welcome your thoughts in the comments section below!

Follow Paige on Twitter @PaigeLewisFL

For All Your Florida Panthers’ Updates Follow Panther Parkway on Facebook

Follow Panther Parkway on Instagram @ PantherParkway

From the Outside Looking In

What do you call a Snowbird that just never goes back up north? Smart?

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, a “Snowbird” is someone from a cold climate that migrates south for the winter only returning home when the weather gets bearable again.

As a born and raised Montrealer, every winter I would do what pretty much everyone else on the island does: Go to Florida for Winter Vacation. And so I did, for 25 consecutive years. I’d hop on the snowbird express and spend 2 weeks in South Florida. As the years went on and when I was able to plan the trip myself and not conform to my parents’ itinerary, I thought it would be pretty cool to see the Montreal Canadiens take on the Florida Panthers in Sunrise.  So, for many years I would join my fellow Montrealers from Surfside, Bal Harbor, Sunny Isles, Hallandale, Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale, Boca, and Deerfield, and venture West away from the beach for an evening of Habs hockey.

We’d come in, be obnoxious, chant “Olé Olé Olé” and make Panthers fans wish we got stopped at the border.

This isn’t going to be a piece about Habs fans or a piece about the Habs, actually this is probably the last you’ll hear about the Habs from me on this site.

This is going to be a piece about what a Montrealer, who is a frequent flyer to South Florida, has learned about the Florida Panthers and where they’ve been, who they are and where they’re going.

On top of coming down every Winter, I’d also be in Florida 5-6 times per year so I know what it’s like down here. I know the market, I know the fan base, and I know the intricacies and complications that the Panthers face on a day-to-day basis because I lived on the opposite side of the fence my entire life.

The biggest thing that I took away from my frequent visits to Sunrise was that while the Panthers fan base isn’t large by definition, it is proud and passionate. Very passionate.

So before we get into this, a tip of the hat to the Cat fans out there who bleed red and show up when everyone expects you not to.

Now onto the Panthers.

Pleading for patience is something that I’m sure you all have heard countless times. Patient is probably the last thing you want to be as Panthers fans. You have been patient for years. You’ve been waiting for a stable contender since the Stanley Cup run of 96, and who is to blame you for wanting to win?

I’m sure you’ve heard the “this time it will be different” line before, but this time, THIS time will actually be different.

Why will it be different this time?

Because of Vincent Viola. For as long as I can remember the Panthers have separated Hockey and Business. For some reason the two couldn’t coincide. They’d ice the team and put on the promotions and try to fill the rink however they could. With Viola, I think the Panthers’ brass know that Hockey IS the business. Viola is letting his Hockey Operations department spend to the cap. This alone makes all the difference. You have to give yourself the best chance to win, and using finance to do that is part of playing in the NHL.

Viola understands that if you build it, they will come and he’s letting his team…build it.

I’ll ask again: Why will it be different this time?

Because of Dale Tallon. In the off-season of 2011 he went on a signing spree and inked players who are now part of the Panthers core. Players like Bergenheim, Fleischmann, Kopecky, Upshall and Campbell are cemented in the “We See Red” movement and are ideal pieces in putting a winning team together. Fast forward to this year’s free agency, he brought in Brad Boyes and steal of the season Tom Gilbert, who are the players you want on your team if you’re going to build a winner.

Oh and then there’s the recent acquisition of one Roberto Luongo.

Luongo is the first time Tallon employed the combination of business and Hockey in a transaction since the start of the new regime. It didn’t take long. What I alluded to earlier is exemplified perfectly in Roberto Luongo. He’s a fan favourite, he’ll bring fans in, and he’ll help the team win. Business and Hockey.

Luongo is an elite NHL goaltender who will give his team a chance to win every night. That is the bare minimum for a goalie and that (and more) is what he’s going bring to the table for the next few years.

The Panthers are in more than capable hands with Tallon, that much is clear. He has a plan and is sticking to it and isn’t afraid to be patient in order to achieve his goal. He’s building his team the right way.

So again: Why will it be different this time?

Because of Peter Horachek. Horachek spent 10 seasons in Nashville under Barry Trotz, the model of consistency in the NHL. If there’s one thing you want from a Panthers’ coach its consistency. Horachek brought in his philosophy of hard work, discipline, responsibility and skill to his team that has undoubtedly benefitted from this mantra. The team went from 3-9-4 or 3-13 before Horachek to 21-23-3 when he was brought in. The basic record alone shows a massive improvement in play.

Beyond the record, you can tell that by watching the games the Panthers are a “never say die” team. They don’t coast, they don’t watch, they play to the whistle and to the final buzzer. Its cliché, but it’s true. Horachek learned in Nashville that stability, strong team defense and team perseverance can go a long way to making waves in the league. Add a roster with more raw talent than he had in Nashville, and watch the sparks fly.

One more time: Why will it be different this time?

Because of the youth.

Oh boy, the youth.

The core. Barkov, Huberdeau, Kulikov, Gudbranson and Bjugstad. All players with off the charts high-end talent. All players who are growing and will continue to grow with the Panthers as the team joins the league’s elite.

Outside of that core? A crop of supremely talented, unheralded young players who you’ll fall in love with quickly. Brandon Pirri, Vincent Trocheck, Dylan Olsen, Drew Shore, Quinton Howden, Colby Robak and my personal favorite, Jimmy Hayes. This group may not have the high-end talent possessed by a Huberdeau or a Barkov, but they’re young, learning and will surprise us all.

On top of all of this? The players who aren’t pros. Among many, Ian McCoshen, Rocco Grimaldi and Mike Matheson will play NHL Hockey and lucky us they’ll be doing it with the Panthers.

These players will grow together, not just as players but as people, as professionals. That’s how a team wins and that’s how a team keeps winning.

It’s a slow burn but the train is on the right set of tracks. It just needs time to gain momentum.

So that’s what I’ve learned, from the outside looking in as a transplant Floridian with a passion for Hockey.

The Florida Panthers aren’t there yet.

But that’s a big, big “yet.”

Go Cats Go

Thanks for reading and we welcome your thoughts in the comments section below!

Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeObrand

For All Your Florida Panthers’ Updates Follow Panther Parkway on Facebook

Follow Panther Parkway on Instagram @ PantherParkway

Panther Parkway Post-Game: Panthers vs. Maple Leafs

1st: Brian Campbell (0G-2A-2P)

2nd: Shawn Matthias (1G-0A-1P)

3rd: Tom Gilbert (1G-0A-1P)

Goals (Panthers 4, Maple Leafs 1)

FLA: Tom Gilbert (3) (Powerplay) Assists: Brian Campbell, Jonathan Huberdeau

FLA: Jesse Winchester (8) Assists: Brian Campbell, Scott Gomez

TOR: David Clarkson (4) Assists: Nazem Kadri

FLA: Shawn Matthias (6) Assists: Unassisted

FLA: Marcel Goc (10) (Empty Net) Assists: Tomas Kopecky, Mike Weaver

Highlight

Jonathan Huberdeau fought Jake Gardiner for his first NHL fight, as well as recorded an assist, only one goal shy of the Gordie Howe Hat Trick.

Quote of the game

“They tried to get into Bergenheim’s kitchen a little bit, he’s unfazed…you’re not going to intimidate him.” Horachek on Bergenheim leading the team with 5 hits.

Tweet of the game

https://twitter.com/lanirod44/status/430905339530448896

Next Up

The Florida Panthers will take on the Detroit Red Wings at the BB&T Center, on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

Tune into FOX Sports Florida to catch all of the action!

Thanks for reading and we welcome your thoughts in the comments section below!

Follow Paige on Twitter @PaigeLewisFL

For All Your Florida Panthers’ Updates Follow Panther Parkway on Facebook

Follow Panther Parkway on Instagram @ PantherParkway

Video: Jonathan Huberdeau Beats Up Jake Gardiner (No, Seriously)

With tough-guy Krys Barch a healthy scratch against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Florida Panthers saw the emergence of a brand new brawler in their lineup … Jonathan Huberdeau?

Yes, you read that right, the 2013 Calder Trophy winner Jonathan Huberdeau went looking for a fight on Tuesday night and found one in Maple Leafs’ defenseman, Jake Gardiner.

It may have taken 102 games for Huberdeau to record his first brawl, but boy did he make it count.

Video courtesy of Hockeyfights.com

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Video: Brad Boyes’ Wacky Shootout Goal Leads Panthers to Victory Over Sabres

On a night that included several controversial calls, multiple goals waived off and countless shots ringing off the posts, it’s only fitting that the Florida Panthers’ Thursday night match-up against the Buffalo Sabres would end in an abnormal fashion.

With a chance to win the game in a shootout, Panthers’ forward Brad Boyes – whose game-winning goal had previously been waived off in the 3rd period – finally got a bounce off the post to go his way as his shot would ricochet off both the post and Sabres’ goaltender, Jhonas Enroth, into the net.

So the game is over right? Wrong.

Amazingly, just had they had done on Panthers’ forward Johnathan Huberdeau’s attempt in the previous round, one official signaled a good goal while the other skated in waiving it off. However, unlike Huberdeau’s attempt, the officials would let this call stand as the Cats would go on to escaped Buffalo with a much needed 2-1 shootout victory.

As you can imagine, my description of this series of events does no justice to the actual incident so please enjoy the video of Florida’s wild ending below.

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Panther Parkway Radio: Game Recap & Preview, Olympic Chatter, Game Show, NHL News, & More!

Tune in to tonight’s show while we discuss the recent happenings of the Florida Panthers, game recaps and reviews, AHL call-ups, Jimmy Howard and Team USA, and more… Happy New Year!

Host: Paige Lewis

Guests: Frank Rekas, Dave Lasseter, and Jameson Cooper

Topics

  • Game recap
  • Alex Petrovic and Dylan Olsen pairing
  • Is Huberdeau in a sophomore slump?
  • Why on Earth did Jimmy Howard make Team USA?
  • Nazem Kadri and Jason Spezza on the trade block?
  • Who would you rather? (Game show)
  • “Woof” of the week (Game Show)
  • Game preview

Click the link below for today’s podcast!

http://www.spreaker.com/user/pantherparkwayradio/pp-radio-recap-olympics-game-show

We welcome and encourage comments and feedback!

Follow the Panther Parkway crew on Twitter: Frank Rekas @FrankRekas, David Lasseter @davidlasseter , Paige Lewis @PaigeLewisFL, Jameson Cooper @JamesonCoop, and Amanda Land @HockeyGirl2530.  Also, please join our FaceBook Fan Page and hit the like button, send us photos, and tell us what’s on your mind.

Panthers Make The Most Of Effort Against Short-Handed Wings

Too many times this season, the Florida Panthers have had nights where they dominated possession and peppered opposing goalies for a disproportionate number of shots, only to find themselves on the wrong on end of the result. Saturday night in Detroit, the Cats were able to flip that script as they took advantage of a Red Wings team (playing without Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk) in a 2-1 win. Florida enjoyed a huge disparity in shots on goal (37-23), especially over the final two periods (28-14).
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