Monday, May 24, 2004


Panthers Fire GM Dudley - The Reign of Darkness Begins reports that the Florida Panthers have fired GM Rick Dudley and will likely hire Herr Mike Keenan to the role of GM.

Jacques "La grande choque" Martin is rumoured to take over as head coach, which would mean 5 coaches and 3 new GM's in 3 years.

The owner, Alan Cohen, has an obvious love affair with Mike Keenan, which culminated in Keenan being offered a lucrative contract extension through 2007-08 when he was coach of the Panthers. This extension was signed 2 years before Keenan's current contract at that time was to expire.

Any Canucks or Blues fan can attest that hiring Mike Keenan as a GM is a disaster waiting to happen.

Sure, the initial results might be good, but you'll be left with a financial and organizational mess to clean up. It took Pleau a few years to be able to clear Keenan's messy veteran contracts from the books, and it took Brian Burke a lot of work in Vancouver to turn the Canucks around. Under Keenan's regime, the Canucks were non-competitive and GM Place routinely had crowds of about 13,000 on a nightly basis. I recall going to a few games during that period, and having nearly an entire row in the upper section to myself.

The Panthers have a lot of great young talent, and surely Keenan will end up trading a lot of it for overpriced veteran 'proven' players that he loves so much. Keenan does not trust the young guys, and will rip apart the foundation that Dudley had built. For a team like Florida, a guy like Keenan is the worst choice for GM next to Phil Esposito.

Dudley appeared to have won the power struggle when Keenan was fired last November, but Cohen's infatuation with Keenan and obvious distrust of Torchetti as a viable coach led to a lack of trust in Dudley's regime from the get-go.

Dudley may have not wanted Martin as a coach, which could have been the nail in the coffin. Cohen saw that well-coached teams succeed, and Torchetti is far from a proven commodity.

Let the reign of darkness begin...

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