Florida Panthers Fire Gerard Gallant

USATSI_9604787_154158418_lowresThe Florida Panthers have fired head coach Gerard Gallant.

The bench boss was canned on Sunday night after his team dropped a 3-2 decision to the Carolina Hurricanes. Gallant took a cab away from the PNC Arena, telling gathered reporters that he was let go.

For now, the Panthers will look to general manager Tom Rowe to coach the squad.

Florida’s not off to the start they want this season, obviously. They’re 11-10-1 in the third season of Gallant’s tenure.

Last season, the coach finished second in Jack Adams voting after helming the Panthers to their best season ever. They finished 2015-2016 with 47 wins and 103 points, working their way into the post-season only to lose to the New York Islanders in a gruelling six-game series.

The first-round loss didn’t sit well, but hopes were high for 2016-2017 – even if patience was, apparently, on the low side.

Gallant posted a 96-65-25 record in Florida after getting hired in June of 2014. He signed a two-year contract last January that was supposed to keep him with the Panthers through the 2018-2019 season, but we all know how that’s turned out.

In truth, Gallant was and is an old-school coach and the Panthers aren’t an old-school team. Tensions have been roiling under the surface for some time in Florida and close observers have seen this one coming, regardless of any past success attributed to Gallant’s push. He was, after all, a Dale Tallon hire.

And the Panthers are a Tom Rowe team.

The 60-year-old GM has never held a coaching position, but he’s behind the bench now and that’s all that matters. The Panthers, like many other NHL teams, are branching out into that hot “analytics” brand of things and the team’s ownership group is geared toward filling the front office with like-minded individuals.

Despite his success behind the bench, a philosophical divide is harder to bear and the Panthers are moving on. How their future will look remains to be seen, as a new coach could be brought aboard shortly to comport with the analytics inclination.

On the other hand, it’s also possible Rowe runs the show for a while and lets others in the front office juggle the particulars.

Regardless, the times are changing in Florida once again.

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