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Posts Tagged ‘Dale Tallon’

Which Veterans Will Be Left To Aid Tallon’s Young Guns?

April 14th, 2014 Comments off

In General Manager Dale Tallon‘s end of year press conference he concluded that the veterans on the team did not live up to expectations. Some veterans where traded at the deadline (Goc, Weaver), some demoted to the AHL (Whitney, Gilroy) and a couple remain on the active roster. At the same time Tallon was positively surprised by the contributions by some of the up-and-coming young stars on the team (Bjugstad, Barkov).

As the Panthers continue to expect growing pains, as youth is seasoned in to the sharp learning curve that is the NHL, the role of mentor of the veterans of the team becomes crucial. They need to set the example of hard work and professionalism, a mentality of “never say die” and “only winning is good enough” as well as little tidbits of wisdom and tricks of the trade that can be invaluable to a budding career.  The question then lends itself to be posed: “Who are these veterans that will bring all this to the table?”

Tallon did mention in his presser that he wants the addition of up to five veterans to next years line-up. If chosen carefully they could have a crucial role in Florida’s revival. However, it his hard speculating as to who these five players might be. More useful might be to look what we have and which we’d like to retain.

Starting with the Captain of the team Ed Jovanovski. Who better to personify perseverance, hockey wisdom and love of the game? To anchor the team and help in the development of youth, Jovocop must surely be essential – especially if you consider he still has a year left on his contract. However, Tallon did not seem convinced Jovanovski had overcome his injury woes and would be ready for another grueling season, stating: “There’s a lot to discuss there as far as his conditioning, his fitness and his health.” It could be that Ed is bought-out of his remaining year on the contract to make way for youth and the veteran signing Tallon wants to bring in on defense. Personally I think it would be a huge mistake. Better to keep Jovocop around for his last year as a 7th defenseman. He might get limited games but would still be useful in his role of guiding the young defensemen.

Another key defenseman and veteran head on the back-end is of course Brian Campbell, who had a good season – playing top-minutes with a solid production and good plus/minus to boot. Maybe not the most vocal leader, but he will continue to be a key performer and someone who can lead by example while his huge contract winds down. 

On the forward side Scott Gomes seems to fill a similar role as Jovanovski on the back end. The difference in my mind is Gomes’ lackluster point production and the fact that the Panthers are brimming with talented centermen that have proved to be better than the wily former Devil. Other veterans on the forward side have shown greater ability and could help fill the void with the possible aid from off-season acquisitions. Players such as Brad Boyes and Scottie Upshall have the potential to be key veterans on the team. I do see a need to add someone here that can perhaps bring the intangibles of a Scott Gomes to the locker-room but with greater production. Hopefully there is such a player available this summer that wouldn’t mind coming to Florida.

In goal, the return of Roberto Luongo gives some credibility to the franchise as well as much needed consistency between the pipes. Tallon hopes Luongo’s name and profile can help attract other big names to South Florida which will be key if the rebuild is yield any success in the near future. He will also be a good voice to have in the dressing room, even if there is no heir-apparent to groom in the system (with Jakob Markström having gone in the opposite direction to Vancouver).

While this low-down shows that there are veterans that can be instrumental in helping the promising youngsters of the Panthers to find their way into the big time. It also highlights the need to add a couple, especially if Ed Jovanovski and Scott Gomes head for the exits this summer. If so, we need veterans equal or better to aid the young guns at this critical time of transition. Tallon as much said so in the press conference when stating that the talented kids are the bright future of this franchise but “we also have to have people around them that are going to help them find their way”.

Without these savvy veterans there is a risk that the right mentality will not spread through the system and no matter of raw talent can trump experience and mental approach in the cutthroat competitive environment that is the NHL.

In Tallon We Trust

August 9th, 2012 Comments off

When Dale Tallon took over the General Manager role with the Panthers we all knew our luck was changing. After all that he had accomplished with the Chicago Blackhawks—taking them from the bottom and molding them into a Stanley Cup contenders (eventual winners)—Tallon seemed like a perfect fit with the floundering Floridians.

It seemed at the time of Tallon’s appointment that he would try and utilize the core of promising youngsters that the Panthers had collected over the years of high draft picks and busted expectations. As time would tell however, Tallon wanted to put his own stamp on the franchise and its playing staff. The change of direction began in earnest with the addition of his own draftees; starting with the 2010 entry draft.

While the 2010 draft was widely seen as a success by the Panthers, it would still take time to translate in to on-ice success. In fact, apart from 3rd overall pick, Erik Gudbranson, the true effects of this draft have yet to be felt on the NHL-level.

The subsequent 2010-2011 season also saw the all-too-familiar failures as the team again finished as the third worst team in the league. However, the following summer and up-coming season of 2011-2012 would change all of this…

 

Dale Tallon must have realized during his first season with the team that it simply was not good enough and needed to be blown up. This he did, gathered picks and prospects, and then went all-out in an overhaul that shook the league in its sheer audacity and scope.

To begin with Head Coach Peter Deboer was let go and replaced with AHL coach Kevin Dineen. While Deboer, it could be claimed, was not alone to be blamed for the results of the lackluster Panthers during his reign; after all he had very little in the way of top-end talent to work with (and he’s done pretty well with the Devils after landing there). It could, however, perhaps be claimed that his voice was becoming stale in the dressing room and was possibly also on the verge of losing the respect of players; most notably goalie Tomas Vokoun (who was later let go to free agency after snubbing the best contract offer he was to get that summer) and forward Shawn Matthias. Who knows how many other, less vocal, players he had rubbed the wrong way?

Either way, a new voice was needed, and Kevin Dineen was Tallon’s choice for the role. Somehow the league managed to overlook Dineen’s fantastic season with the Panthers this summer, but his inexplicable Jack Adams snub does in no way detract from what he achieved here last season. It was nothing but a miracle he accomplished in taking Florida to the playoffs for the first time in 10 years!

Next Tallon added his number two Mike Santos and let him take over the responsibility for the Panthers new/old/ AHL affiliate—the San Antonio Rampage. Again this turned out to be a masterstroke as Santos was able to retool the affiliates and make them competitive. The Rampage made it to the second round in the playoffs for the first time last season and gave its budding Panthers prospects some much needed playoff experience.

The most notable, and bold, move was however to go out on a free agency shopping spree that echoed around the league. Few believed that such a drastic retool of the Panthers could give immediate effect, but under the inspired guidance of Dineen they managed the impossible in not only making the playoffs with a virtually new team, but also pressuring the eventual Eastern Conference winners New Jersey all the way to the buzzer—losing only in a heartbreaking game 7.

Tallon always claimed he had a blueprint he was following all along. At first he was doubted, perhaps even scorned by cynical fans and critics around the league, but he has proved them all wrong.

Whatever happens this coming season, just in taking the Panthers to the playoffs—he has done what everyone else failed in doing during the previous decade, and has thus earned our trust.

Blackhawks to Bust or Boom? – Dale Tallon Removed as GM

July 14th, 2009 Comments off

According to ESPN and TFP, the Chicago Blackhawks have fired General Manager Dale Tallon. A statement will be made later today to announce the fact, together with the promotion of Assistant GM Stan Bowman as the new GM.

Update! It is now being reported that Tallon has been reassigned to be a senior advisory of hockey operations instead.

Dale Tallon was appointed General Manager on the 21st of June 2005 and oversaw the drafting of young talents such as Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, whilst also making expensive plunges on the free agent market; acquiring players such as Nicholai Khabibulin, Brian Campbell and Cristobal Huet.

He was also the one responsible for steering the Blackhawks away from the doldrums. When he arrived in town, Chicago only managed 65 points over the course of his first season in charge, whilst in his last campaign, the club totaled 104. Moreover, the team progressed as far as to the Western Conference finals; where the Hawks were finally stopped by rivals Detroit.

Tallon was then surrounded in controversy this summer, when making the high profile signing of Martin Havlat from Detroit and tying the star winger to a massive 12-year contract. Whilst this would normally be a reason for celebrations, Dale received criticism for placing the clubs future in jeopardy. The reason being that star players such as Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith are all to become restricted free agents next summer – and question is if the Hawks will have the Cap space to resign them all. That is, unless someone would be willing to take on the massive contracts of Cristobal Huet or Brian Campbell, which many analysts seriously question.

A second reason for controversy was the failure to notify pending restricted free agents of qualifying offers before the deadline. Dale sent the offers out in mail, which however is not the proper way to handle affairs. The players association filed grievances against the club, but everything was finally resolved as the Blackhawks re-signed all the players in question; including Kris Versteeg and Cam Barker.

According to TFP sources, this embarrassment was the "clinching blow". ESPN meanwhile doesn’t agree: "It may have had little to do with Tallon’s firing" they state and think an ulterior motive was to rid the franchise of a GM that was appointed prior to the current President John McDonough; and Dale simply wasn’t part of the plans for the revamped organization. If this latter explanation holds up, it is possible that Dale Tallons number has been up for some while and the saga of failing to notifying agents simply was the excuse to fire/reassign him from the GM position.

Last summer’s appointment of legendary coach Scotty Bowman, certainly was a sign of new things to come and speculation was rife back then that Dale would soon be shown the door, so that Scotty’s son, and long-time assistant GM – Stan Bowman, could take over the reins. It seems that today that scenario has finally come to fruition.

Stan Bowman has for the last 10 years been at the club as an Assistant GM and has primarily handled contract negotiations, collective bargaining agreement issues and free agency. Considering these are the areas of contention, currently within the franchise and in the media, questions must be raised as to the wisdom of this selection.

Certainly, Stan will have his hands full this coming season – one that could shape the long-time future and stability of the club. Success or failure – bust or boom – we shall soon see….