Spoke to Alan Cohen after Thursday night's season ticket holder meeting and he confirmed to me that A) the Panthers are going to split their coaching and general manager duties, and B) Jacques Martin will not return as coach.
You can get all the details I could put together on deadline here New Coach in 2008-09 and get David J. Neal's take (he covered the team from Day 1 in 1993 until handing things over to me in 2004) right here David J. Likes IndyCars...
My take on things are this: Mr. Cohen told me the split was fairly amicable, both he and JM sitting down and deciding one man shouldn't do both jobs. I'm not so sure it went down like that, JM being a coach first and foremost. I wouldn't be surprised if JM was out looking for a coaching job right now.
But, I hope he stays. He still has the keys to the organization, and being the head of a professional hockey team ain't too bad a gig. Sure JM's assistants -- Guy, Pierre and Mike, find a better group of guys, I dare you -- hope he sticks around too.
The Panthers aren't far off. Problem is, people are tired of hearing that. There is plenty of work still to be done, and JM has his fingerprints all over what's here. There are a lot of people who would stand in line to interview for the GM job if JM turns it down, and for good reason. The franchise is headed in the right direction (although that light at the end of the tunnel hasn't changed much, being that the view comes from the Panthers being on a treadmill) and someone is going to soak in the glory when the Panthers finally break through.
Might as well be Jacques drinking it all in with a front row seat.
-- That said, who do you think the Panthers should go after. I threw out some names because that's what you have to do in situations like this, and the thought is the Panthers do a thorough search.
So, here are your options. Who do you WANT as the next coach of the Panthers, and who do you think the Panthers WILL hire? Comments can be left below.
And thanks for visiting as always...