Panthers Make the Right Decision in Hiring Joel Quenneville as team's new head coach
By Patrick Hoffman
For far too long, the Florida Panthers have been an irrelevant franchise.
Sure, the team has made the postseason a few times since joining the league in the 1993-94 season, but that's exactly what has been holding this club back for many years. This team's fans deserve to root for something every night in hopes that they'll get a crack at a Stanley Cup.
This is why on Monday, April 9, the team went out and made Joel Quenneville their new head coach. This is something that Panthers had to do and it could end up being something that changes the direction of this franchise as a whole.
Quenneville is exactly the kind of coach that this franchise needs. He has a winning pedigree, won three Cups as head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks, will eventually end up in the Hockey Hall of Fame, and simply put, he can flat out coach.
Just look at what he did while he was in Chicago. Quenneville missed the postseason just once in ten seasons in Chicago while winning three Cups and going to the Western Conference Finals five times. That's an unbelievable track record if you ask me.
Quenneville is also the second winningest bench boss of all-time with 890 career victories. Only Scotty Bowman stands in front of him with 1,248 victories.
When was the last time the Panthers had someone like this behind their bench? Doug McLean almost led the team to a Cup in 1996 until they were swept by the Colorado Avalanche, but other than him, no other head coach has been able to get this team within a sniff of hockey's Holy Grail.
Quenneville is someone who will instil a responsible style of play. He will allow his offensive stars to be creative while also making sure that they become better two-way hockey players.
Speaking of offense, Quenneville will have a ton of talent up front to work with. With players like Aleksander Barkov (96 points), Jonathan Huberdeau (92 points), Mike Hoffman (70 points), and Evgenni Dadonov (70 points) on this roster, this team should have no trouble putting the puck in the net on a consistent basis for Quenneville.
Where the team needs significant help is on defense. Quenneville will certainly implement a much better defensive system than what has been used in years past.
Not being able to keep the puck out of the net cost this team a shot at the playoffs this year. The team was not defensively responsible and also got inconsistent goaltending from both Roberto Luongo and James Reimer.
Luongo's future with the club is not yet known, but for the Panthers, it should not matter who is between the pipes. This team needs to do a much better job of protecting their goaltenders, not making mistakes with the puck, and being in better position to breakup plays. These things should happen with Quenneville behind the bench.
In order to get fans to come their home games, they need to start winning a lot more hockey games. On most nights, the BB&T center looked absolutely dead.
With Quenneville behind the bench, things should get better in a hurry and this team will start winning hockey games. Panthers' fans, you now have one of the best coaches of all-time behind your bench.
It's time to go out and get the job done.
Patrick covers the NHL for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave.
He has previously covered the league for WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.