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Dale Tallon, Pete DeBoer and Panthers Not Giving Up Hope Going into Second Half

Tallon3 Dale Tallon is in a tough spot, one most around hockey knew he would eventually find himself in this season.

On one hand, the Panthers general manager likes the way his team plays. With few exceptions this season, the Panthers have come out and given a strong effort and are in games until the end almost every night.

Yet with the midway point of the season approaching, Tallon is aware that on some nights, even the best of efforts isn't going to cut it. On nights like Saturday, when the Panthers are playing a team with a lot more talent, no matter how good they play, they aren't going to come away with a win. To get more talent, Tallon might have to start breaking things up.

“We're not getting rewarded for our play and that's the one thing that is frustrating, whether it's a call go against us or our power play has been the difference,'' Tallon said.

“The majority of our games, we've been up to snuff. We just have to believe in each other and get some confidence. They have stayed true to form. I can't complain, we're just not getting results. I'm looking at this as the glass is half-full. They're buying in and giving us what we want, giving their all.''

Florida plays its 41st game of the season on Tuesday against the same Washington Capitals that beat the Panthers 3-2 on Saturday night. The Panthers couldn't have played much better against the Caps, only Washington's star-studded lineup came through in the end. All-Star defenseman Mike Green gave Washington its first lead of the night in the third period before All-World winger Alex Ovechkin won it with an acrobatic goal.

The Panthers have shown in the first half of the season that they are a good team, a sum of their parts. They don't have the stars other teams do, and if not for the unwritten rule that the league wants at least one representative from each team, Florida would not have a single player in the upcoming All-Star Game. 

Tallon knows the Panthers have to get more talent. Playing hard every night isn't going to cut it week in and week out. Tallon has a pocket full of expiring contracts at his disposal, chips he can use at the trading deadline to bolster the Panthers immediate bottom line as well as hopefully reap future rewards.

“We have a good month ahead of us,'' Tallon said, referencing the trade deadline. “We have lots of time to see where we're at. There is no need to panic. We're going to keep getting better every day. We have a plan in place and we're sticking to it.''

Said coach Pete DeBoer: “It's a good pressure because those decisions haven't been made. We're still in the hunt.''

The Panthers go into Tuesday's midway point riding a three-game losing streak. All three of those losses came to divisional rivals, two of which coming to teams the Panthers are realistically fighting for a playoff spot with. Coming into Sunday's games, the Panthers sit tied for 11th in the Eastern Conference, eight points behind Montreal for the eighth and final playoff spot.

The teams in front of the Panthers look at the playoffs as an opportunity to be in the chase for the ultimate prize, the Stanley Cup. For Florida, just making the postseason would be a start. Florida has not been to the playoffs since 2000, and another year out of the dance – which seems very realistic – gives them an NHL record the franchise wants no part of.

No NHL franchise has ever missed the Stanley Cup playoffs for 10 straight seasons. Florida is already the only franchise to miss for nine while staying in the same market.

Yet with a handful of home games coming up in the coming days – Florida kicks off a six-game Sunrise stand on Tuesday – Tallon and coach Pete DeBoer are optimistic that their team can get some wins. And get back into the race.

“We're in the pack and when you think where everyone told us we would be, guys have taken some pride in proving people wrong,'' DeBoer said. “We're not one of the two worst teams in the league. We have our warts as a team and that's obvious. Some we could fix as coaches, some are personnel issues. No one is happy where we're at, from Dale Tallon on down. We're all trying to fix it on a daily basis. It may not look pretty each night, but that's the kind of team we are.''


-- The Panthers have found some gems in Mike Santorelli (discarded from Tennessee), rookie Evgeny Dadonov (10 points in 14 games) and defensive pest Mike Weaver. Florida has also gotten good seasons from newcomers Dennis Wideman, Marty Reasoner and Chris Higgins.

-- Florida has been pretty good away from home, winning in tough climates like Montreal, Washington and Carolina. Good goaltending from Tomas Vokoun and Scott Clemmensen – as well as a penalty kill ranked in the top 10 most of the season – has been a big help.

-- Overtime hasn't been Florida's strong suit in past years, but the Panthers have won four of their six overtime games and are 2-1 in the shootout.


-- The Panthers power play is not only bad statistically, but it could be bad historically. Florida comes into Tuesday's game with a league-low 12 power play goals. The franchise record for fewest such goals came in 1994-95 when Florida scored 29 in a strike-shortened, 44 game season. This team is on pace to score 25 -- in 82 games.

-- Florida doesn't have much front-end talent, so it relies heavily on what it does. Stephen Weiss, David Booth and Michael Frolik struggled early in the season, but all three have shown signs of life lately. Weiss leads the team in goals, with Booth and Frolik (who leads the team with 26 points) are the team's top three scorers.

-- The Panthers haven't played as well on home ice as they would have hoped, getting zero points out of a three game stand during Thanksgiving week and most recently won just one of five.


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Georgie tell me if i am right ? this team lacks success because of money?
we are around 10 million dollars under the cap but wont spend money to get a proven goal scorer (superstar)? its not hard to the common hockey eye that we need scoring and it has been like this for years!
George do you think from being around tallon and working in the paper, he will resign any of the guys mccabe stillman dvorak ? i hope not! and do you think he will put on a swagger and slam some star talent into the lineup via trade deadline and free agency trades at the end of the year ?? thanks
you would no more than anyone!!

We have seen this story before. They are not making the playoffs unless they add some weapons. Trade Vokoun to a team in need of a top goaltender, such as the Sharks who have plenty of talent to send back the other way and offset salaries. The Panthers are the NHL's Groundhog Day, every year it is the same story only to miss out. Yawn.

like the post puck! what else is new lots of free agents we will actually see if tallon gets some talent here in the next couple monthes or tha franchise will be looking for a new city pretty quick

There's no need to spend to the cap limit unless you have legit talent worth paying.. The Panthers don't so spending $$$ isn't the easy answer... Especially when you don't draw and create revenue... So until we have legit talent, we're just wasting $$..

Bottom-line is we may be $10 mill under the cap, but we're also probably spending $10 mill on the wrong guys, so until we develop some of our own draftees, we'll probably always be playing handicapped... Since this is a weeding out year, let's see how well they can attract free agents without overspending... No team is giving up top talent for nothing, so we'll have to develop and maybe get lucky to find another Santorelli...

Building a core group takes time. Once you do that you build some credibility, and legit free agents will consider playing here... Spending big $$ this off-season on a guy like Semin would only set this team back more into the future.. Take a look at the Kovy signing. It along with the Parise injury have hampered the team.. Now they're stuck. Langenbrunner's gone and I bet they never find the chemistry the Devils have had over the last couple decades...

I would be surprised if Parise even wants to return to the Devils after this year's fiasco.

Tallon is playing smart, no need to rush into any trades until the deadline.

Good to hear that Vokoun has considered staying...I doubt that he will get that much in the free agent market in the summer compared to a deal with the Panthers....Just look at what happened to Nabakov!

I agree, no reason to spend money right now. Who can forget the Bure experiment? He was an AWESOME scorer, who had absolutely no support on the team. There was nobody to even skate as fast as he did. We need talent in multiples of players. I say bring everyone from the farm and put them on ice. Can't be worse than now, but we may find a gem! Still going down to see the game Tuesday, hoping for a game..... :-)

I think the management has fallen into the same trap that all other GM's have fallen into over the last few years. Playing to make the playoffs at any cost instead of playing to develop which eventually will get you to the playoffs and hopefully deep into them.
They should be giving the young up and coming players decent minutes and playing key roles whether we win or lose. Use these down times as teaching times and that will payoff in the future. I really get fed up hearing the coach refer to the young players as depth players or secondary scoring or our best players have to be our best players. Hate to break it to you Pete but your perceived best have not been your best players most nights.
I think a team like Edmonton are doing the right things with their young players. They are letting them play. Giving them big minutes to develop. Then they work with them in a positive way to correct mistakes.
Look at the PP for example. Putting the same players out on the PP every game and expecting different results. How about trying something new. Play the young guys on the PP. Can't be any worse right. The last few games he's put our checking line out for the last 30seconds of every PP. The checking line??? What are we trying to do ensure the other team does not score on our PP!!!
This team needs a major change and I don't think it's the players that need changing.
That's my 2 cents.

we have to realize that we are an AHL caliber team playing in the NHL.

Hard work pays off once in a while but if something goes wrong this group collapses, been that way for 10 years.

Tallon says he has a plan, Sexton says he had a plan, JM the GM had a plan, Keenan had a plan, Dudley had a plan, management's plan is to fill the dates until that changes it doesn't matter what the plan is because we will be selling off the assets when they become too expensive.

we need to spend money in scouting and development unitl that changes long term nothing is going to change, we will draft the wrong players, trade for the wrong players and sign the wrong free agent.

Word is that Tallon is offering Vokoun an extension, this tells me that Tallon realizes that he is still 3-4 years away from building the panthers into a contender for the cup.

The starting salary rate for goaltenders has dropped. The salary cap does not help. I think the problem is that no one has the salary cap money available to trade for Vokoun. Too many top teams are too close to the cap to trade for Vokoun...(unless you are the leafs!trading first rounders for no reason) I see the Panthers having to trade his negotiating rights in the summer if he does not sign a contract extension.

I dont mind the Panthers playing the veterans if it is to trade them at the deadline. Plus, the Panthers are already making moves with their veterans...Sending Rhino to germany is a step in the right direction..

Let's do the math. The least # of points to make the playoffs out of the East has been 88, & this year you're probably looking at around 92 points as the cut off. The panthers have 38 points. That means they would have to go 25-17 (.600) to get 88 points or 27-15 (.640) to get 92 points. Does anybody seriously think that a team that can't play .500 hockey is suddenly going to do that?

The Panthers aren't making the playoffs this year, & it wouldn't be surprising if they don't make it naxt year. Unfortuatley, the business end of the organization can't sell "we're going to be a good team in 2012-13". So it will continue to offer tickets at steep discounts, or just give them away, thereby diluting the value of season tickets, since someone with a free seat will still buy beer. They will also keep shilling the fact that they are oh soo close to the playoffs as they begin their annual STH renewal push. No doubt the deadline for renewing will be before the trading deadline, as the Panthers play out the string in Feb-March. Of course, it works from a business standpoint, since they will have the STH money in Feb, 2011 for games that won't be played until 2012. Plus, they get to sell tickets for games that otherwise would go unwatched (honestly, how many STH would be going to that exciting Nashville game this Thursday if they weren't already stuck with the tickets?).

Welcome to Groundhog Day: The NHL Edition.

i'm usually super pessimistic when it comes to the panthers. but i like the fact that a ton of money will be coming off the books and we can replace that with picks and so on. and yes before we drafted and nobody developed or turned out anywhere near what we wanted.

but honestly the kids drafted the past few seasons look like they could be legitimate hockey players. and possibly very good players.

and we aren't going to sign a guy like semin or richards. becuz frankly both will want to be with a team that either is already dominate or a big market team. we can offer them much more but it doesnt mean they'll sign here. the day the panthers make the big splash will be when they are competitive and the better team on the ice most nights.

hossa probably would have never signed with chicago if they weren't knocking on the stanley cup doorstep.

we have to be patient and let the kids develop and hope we can make trades that better us.

For us to think that Semin would come here is retarded. He is going to resign in Washington where we he belongs. Then again, if he can't move past that 18 goal mark, maybe not so much. Green is not coming here either!

We could throw millions more at these guy than any other team would dream of giving them and they still won't come to South Florida! They might have brawn, but they are brains enough to know that this team is not the place where a superstar would willing come.

We have to trade for one with time left on this contract (maybe a year or two) or draft one.

STHSDO-- Talent is very limited, but they've made the most out of what they have for a first year rebuild.. They're changing the mind-set by demanding better effort, and they've actually shown some consistency in that dept.. So as Tallon says, there's only a few nights they've failed to provide effort. Every team has a few of those, so no complaints there, just waiting on more talent...

Tallon claims they are now spending more in scouting and development. The last draft shows more promise than we've seen in quite a while, so it is hopefully just a matter of time and more promising drafting and development..

Unless somebody makes a great offer for T-vo, then re-signing him is probably the best option. As long as his demands aren't out of the norm, it's still the best play to keep us from tanking over the next couple years.. I'm sure the team can't admit it's 2-4 years before they can legtitimately compete and develop, but that's a logical time-line.. It's tough to sell seats admitting it will take this long, but that's reality..

Green is overrated, look who he has played with usually on the PP ....aka Ovi and Semin. Semin is very overrated, while Backstrom is the real deal. This is why Backstrom got a sick multi year deal while Semin just got a "one" extension. Besides, who wants any of those overrated over compensated guys in Washington, they certainly did not look like a real team, no one talking to each other during the HBO series. Any Penguin player is worth two caps players (unless it is Ovi).

Parise or Lagenbrunner are two guys that the Panthers should have on their free agent list. They can bring instant leadership to this team. Ignlia, if the Panthers can get him cheap would also work.

A good wish would be the Panthers trying to make a trade for Setoguchi or Couture with the Sharks. Won't happen though, since one is restricted and the other is signed for a long term deal. But either one would bring instant firepower to this team.

what does it say abouvokum wanting to stay? Please tell me what top notvh goalie would want to stay with a non-playoff team another few years? Got me.

I think that at some point it becomes about his family and where he would want to retire.

With Marty slumping up in Jersey and Parise coming to the end of his contract, I agree with same old panther that Tallon should do everything in his power to land Parise as our franchiseplayer. Vokoun being the keyfactor in a multiplayer deal.

This is not a a team that's one player away from contending for the cup, it's a team that's got to keep building. What I'm wondering is how it went so quickly from a team that started the year by putting shots on goal to the team of the last few years that's suddenly afraid to shoot.

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