Jacques Martin was recently named as the new head coach for the Montreal Canadiens. That leaves the Florida Panthers without a general manager, at least for the time being. The question is, will anyone notice a difference in South Florida when the GM is gone? As an outsider looking in, Martin never really impressed. He did a great job hiring promising coach Peter DeBoer, but unlike during his successful days in Ottawa, he failed to make enough positive personnel moves to push the Panthers into the playoff mix.
Most importantly, he failed to deal or re-sign soon to be free agent, Jay Bouwmeester. One must wonder if anyone in Florida is trying to get the superstar defenseman under contract at the present time? Or is it a forgone conclusion that he will move on?
Here's an interesting question. Would the Panthers have some kind of collusion case if "Jay-Bo" ends up signing with the Canadiens on July 1st?
Believe it or not, this is not the most important hockey news coming from Florida. There are reports that a sale of the franchise is imminent. Can the Panthers handle anymore change in one offseason? Hopefully, the new ownership group was made aware of this "playoff guarantee" by previous management. At least fans will get a few free games next season when all the dust settles.
Will the Panthers follow NHL conventional wisdom and hire an ex-goalie for the job? I hear that Eddie Belfour is available.
Between this turmoil and the circus in Tampa, it is very interesting down in Florida right now and it certainly bears watching.
Sorry about the infrequency of my articles over the past few days. I'm taking some vacation and visiting family nearby the pristine shores of Lake Ontario. Hockey news in Carolina seems a bit slow right now, but Jim Rutherford should be in Detroit meeting with franchise owner Peter Karmanos this week. The GM will be actively working on contract issues shortly after that. Things won't stay quiet for long, and we will have updates as soon the news breaks.