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Going Back in Time: Panthers Hire 96ers Murphy and Skrudland


By bringing back two original member of their franchise on Tuesday, the Panthers dipped into their past in hopes for a brighter future.

General manager Dale Tallon and coach Pete DeBoer announced that original Panthers Gord Murphy and Brian Skrudland were hired by the team in different capacities.

Murphy, a defenseman who played six seasons in Florida, will be DeBoer's new assistant coach joining Jim Hulton and Robb Tallas.

Skrudland Skrudland, the Panthers original captain, will become the team's director of player development and will be involved in helping mold the team's prospects on and off the ice.

Tallon added that it was important for the current batch of Panthers to realize things always haven't been bleak as far as hockey goes in South Florida.

Although the Panthers haven't made it to the playoffs in an NHL record-tying nine consecutive seasons, the team advanced to the playoffs in two of its first four seasons in the league and made an improbable run to the 1996 Stanley Cup playoffs with Skrudland and Murphy – both chosen by the Panthers in the 1993 expansion draft.

“I wanted to bring back some of the alumni, bring a sense of family and winning tradition from the early Panthers days,'' said Tallon. “Their passion, dedication .-.-. they have history. They know what it takes to be successful down here. We want to build the a tradition, a culture of winning. Paying the price to win. These guys exemplified that.''

Murphy, who was an alternate captain in Florida, has been an assistant coach the past seven seasons in Columbus and said he had hoped to someday return to South Florida.

With Mike Kitchen leaving DeBoer's staff, the two spoke over the course of the past few weeks and Murphy was able to do some early scouting of the young defensive core he will inherit. Like Kitchen, Murphy will Murphy coach the defense as well as the penalty kill.

“We started the franchise there, my daughter was born there it was a great six years,'' Murphy said. “That's a place my wife and I still hold very near to our hearts. I've followed the franchise ever since I left and that crest on the jersey really means a lot to me. I'm excited about this.''

DeBoer said Murphy didn't get the job because he played for the Panthers when they were good, but that was a nice bonus. DeBoer said if Kitchen wasn't to return – DeBoer added he hoped he would – he wanted an assistant coach who had not only played in the league, but worked under strong coaches, had a “strong hockey IQ,” work ethic and strong character.

“He fit all that and happens to be a former Panther,'' DeBoer said from Canada. “That's great. He's going to be working with our young defensemen .-.-. For me, that's the most important job in the franchise going forward. .-.-. We're going to play a team game, have depth. That's how the '96 team won and that has to be our formula. To have guys like Gord and Skrudland, who believe and know first hand that it can be accomplished and isn't a pipe dream, is critical.''

Rats2 Skrudland had been an assistant coach in Calgary from 2000-03 before coaching in youth hockey the past few years. Skrudland was a guest of the team when it opened the new Den of Honor last season and he spoke of bringing the pride of the franchise back. On Tuesday, he reiterated those remarks.

“I can't tell you how thrilled I am to be back in the game and to be back involved with this team, one I have a place in my heart for,'' said Skrudland, who played in Florida from 1993-97. “When you get to draft as high as Florida has, it's no surprise you end with high charter guys. We have players here who are the full package. It won't take nine more years for this drought to end, I can tell you that.''


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Gord Murphy is a good choice. Frankly, he should have had the job awhile ago.

The ship is slowly making its turn. This is great news. If only we could see Potvin back too!

Very nice signing on both of these. Get too guys that have good hockey roots and Panthers roots too.

Let's hope Gord can get all of these Dmen to play hard nosed.

two people that are respected around the league that know what it takes to win.

It is great to see a plan in action as this is the first plan in 10 years that wasn't concerned with short term goals of trying to make the playoffs.

Class has returned to the panthers and the clubhouse attitude of the players is about to end.

Keep cleaning house Mr. Tallon as hockey operations is beginning to look like an NHL organization instead of the mickey mouse organization we had to live with for 10 years.

If nothing else, the culture that was promised to change will. I applaud the moves so far. While not big in nature, they certainly are the right ones.
Tallon will have his stamp on this team. Mark my words, if DeBoer doesn't get this team playing consistently and at least performing nightly, he'll be outta here too.

Remember Tallon fired Denis Savard four games into the season two years ago in Chicago. Don't put anything past him.

Coach should be on no more than a 20 game trial. less than 23 points in thatperiod, dont let the door hit you on the way out.

It's good to see Murph and Skruy back with the team, and hopefully they can explain to the younger guys what "Panther Hockey" was really all about. There was a time when this franchise was admired for it's grit, determination, attitude, and selflessness. They didn't have the biggest, they didn't have the strongest, they didn't have the fastest, but all they did was check the ego at the door and dare you to out "effort" them....That was Panther Hockey....It could be again.

You think it was a good PR move to sell tix?

I don't believe these are pr moves to sell tickets
I do believe these are moves to change the country club culture to a team with character and heart

just keep cleaning house

George, keep us up to date on what players are in town early getting ready to gear up and go and who's playing golf right up to the start of a much too short training camp.

$$$Money idea for Yormark-Get the City of Sunrise to allow a tailgate area, charge $10.00 a car to enter the tailgate lot. Saturday and Sunday games work for me.

Nikolai Zherdev wants to return to the NHL!

Tallon please sign this guy!!

He is a winger with the potential to fill horton's skates on the right side, and could ignite an offense in dire need of scoring talent.
Sure the guys an enigma, but the risk is worth the return we could get!? our top six would look formidable!!!

booth - weiss - zherdev
higgins - frolik - grabner
stillman - reinprecht - bernier
olesz - matthias - dvorak

p.s we drafted frolik as a center, its about time he started playing there . . .

Tallon won't sign Zherdev - he's a euro who's work ethic doesn't match the talent. Although he'd immediately be our go to scorer, he just doesn't fit the "Tallon mold" of player.

Let's face it, it's only going to be stop-gap signings until the players drafted by this team grow up & are ready for the bigs.

Agreed. Unless a #1 type C comes onto the market, or The Cats get Crosby/Ovie/Stamkos/Kane-type luck in next years draft, your not going to see any significant years(or money) going to any player(s) that does't fit the Tallon & Co. way. And lets face it, if the guy couldn't do anything better than 57 points with Scott Gomez(a notorious pass-first player) as his center in NY, then what makes you think he'd do any better with Weiss?

All you'd be getting is Nate Horton-light. Nates best season points-wise was 62 in 06-07 and again in 07-08. Similar in points, with less goals, who thinks he should be getting 2-3 million a year for being mediocre.

So, in closing, all you'd be getting with Zherdev is a smaller Nate Horton who would be constantly holding The KHL over your head, IMO....No thanks, commrade.

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