Heard a rumor about this way back in January but that was before FSN re-upped with the team.
Billy Lindsay is moving up to the television booth with Steve Goldstein.
Randy Moller will be back on radio and flying solo.
So the Panthers go from four broadcasters to three. But Michael Yormark says this had nothing to do with finances. Denis does not agree. Nor do I. Michael Yormark says believe what you want.
''I'm not in the job to make sure people believe me,'' he said on a conference call with myself, Barry Jackson, Steve Gorten and Brian Biggane.
"I've always been truthful and up front with our fans. I have a blog like you do. I tell the good, bad indifferent. I respond to every email. The reality, based on financial relationship with Fox is there really is no difference whether we have three, five, one or 10 in the booth. It's not a financial decision. We make decisions that are best for the franchise. I believe in time people will look at this as another good decision. And that's not a slap at Denis. He's a great analyst. We're looking for something different, something that's in the right direction of the franchise.''
Denis: ''I wasn't prepared for it. They had talked about reorganizing, renegotiating a lower rate. We never got to that. It's all about the economy. Now I'm looking for new opportunities. This is new to me. I've never been fired. I'm not done, not by a long shot.''
More Denis: ''It's been exciting, a good run. Florida has become our home, our kids have grown up here. But their minds were made up. This isn't like the old days. Once you're somewhere for so long, you think you're a lifer. Things are different now. I have a lot of good memories. But once they told me I was done, I walked out.''
Michael Yormark said the fact that Denis spends his summers in Quebec had a lot to do with his not being retained. The Panthers have a new three-year deal with FSN, and will be handling a lot of the ads and all that. So, read into that what you will. Sounds to me like games are going to become one big infomercial. And the team wants its broadcasters to sell the team, sell tickets, sell sponsorships during the offseason.
Steve Goldstein, Bill Lindsay and Randy Moller all live local and spend a good majority of their summers here. So they can go to Panther cookouts and come into the office and call season ticket holders. Denis, being up north, could not. And probably would not.
The Panthers obviously want more from their broadcasters than them just being, you know, professional broadcasters. And that's fine. And it seems the other three are cool with taking on more of that -- especially Randy since he's part of the team's front office.
''That was a factor,'' Yormark said. ''We want our broadcasters here, help market the franchise, meet with season ticket holders. That's very important.''
Michael Yormark on Denis:
''The last conversation Dennis had was last summer. He asked what was going to happen with Fox and he wanted a long-term deal, said he wanted to be here long term. Denis did not contact us after the season. We brought him in today. We spent a lot of time on this. It was a collaborative decision from within. Not an easy decision. He's a wonderful analyst, been here a long time. We just want to go in a different direction.
Yormark on the new broadcast combos:
''After our new three year deal with Fox, things are structured a little differently. We'll be a little more involved, control the ad inventory. This was the right time to change the look and feel through our talent.
''Bill really progressed on radio was involved in TV on every telecast. He's more comfortable on TV. He has good chemistry with Goldie and is probably one of the most popular players in our history. You see him walking down thre street, he's recognizable.
''We want our broadcasters here 12 months a year, be part of our marketing initiatives. We use Randy aggressively, Goldie, Billie. We're going to move forward. I like the feel of this. And the move does give Randy a chance to expand his role on radio. This year, he had a breakout year. He's arguably one of the best color guys in the NHL, he has the experience. He's going to blossom further by being the only guy in the booth. Every team in our division has one guy in the radio booth*. Randy will continue to prosper.
''We feel comfortable with Goldie and Billy on the air. They'll work hard all summer together so when they get on the air, they'll be ready.''
(*) Washington Capitals: Steve Kolbe and Ken Sabourin; Tampa Bay: Dave Mishkin and Phil Esposito (home only). Carolina and Atlanta have one radio voice.