Panthers management had a late night meeting following Tuesday's 4-3 overtime loss to Edmonton at the BB&T Center with GM Dale Tallon telling the Miami Herald the team would not be making a coaching change at this time.
"There will be changes though,'' Tallon said outside the arena. "I don't make rash decisions. None of us are happy. I have to fix this and I will. We're better than this.''
Doug Cifu, the team's new minority owner and alternate governor, has been around the team the past few days and was part of the meeting. Cifu left the arena around 11:30 p.m. with Tallon, assistant GM Mike Santos and hockey operations director Mike Dixon following suit around 10 minutes later.
Tallon was visibly upset -- as he usually is after a loss -- after Tuesday's loss to an Edmonton team that had not only lost five straight coming in, but were shutout by a 9-0 score to Detroit and Toronto over the weekend. The Oilers hadn't scored in almost three hours of play, yet put in two during a 30-second span during the second period to take a 3-1 lead.
Florida got two goals from Scottie Upshall -- his first two tallies of the season -- to at least force OT. Upshall took a tripping penalty, however, and the Panthers lost their sixth straight. Florida has a point in four of those six defeats with three coming in a shootout.
The Panthers have been let down by a number of their highest paid players this year with Brian Campbell and Tomas Kopecky ($10.1 million between them) yet to score a goal. Tomas Fleischmann and Kris Versteeg ($8.9 million combined) have five goals between them. Upshall has eight goals in two seasons and makes $3.5 mil.
Florida's leading goal scorer is Brad Boyes -- who signed a $1 million deal after a tryout during training camp. Boyes was playing on Florida's fourth line on Tuesday and has five goals so far.
The Panthers currently have the fourth-lowest salary cap number in the league with almost $12 million to reach the cap ceiling according to capgeek.com.
Dineen and the rest of his coaching staff are working on the final year of their contracts. Gord Murphy preceeded Dineen as he was on Pete DeBoer's staff in his final season; Craig Ramsay signed on soon after Dineen was hired by Tallon to replace DeBoer.
Tallon has made it clear in the past that Dineen and his staff isn't solely to blame for the teams struggles although some within the organization don't share that thought and figure a change at the top probably needs to be made.
Tallon likes Dineen and respects him as a person and coach; Tallon knows something is wrong with the team as it stands, however, he is apparently giving Dineen -- a former captain who spent close to 20 years playing in the NHL and comes from a respect line of hockey people in his family -- room to work this thing out.
Dineen has appeared frustrated the past few weeks and although he says there isn't any panic, things are getting salty around the team.
Florida will play eight of the next nine on the road with three coming this week with stops in Boston (Thursday), Ottawa (Saturday afternoon) and New York (Sunday). The Panthers return home to face Anaheim next Tuesday before embarking on a rough five-game trip to Minnesota, Colorado, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary.
PHOTO: JOE RIMKUS JR./Miami Herald Staff