June 1, 2011: Sunrise, FL, USA; Florida Panthers new head coach Kevin Dineen (left) and executive vice president

Florida Panthers Chalk Talk Part 1

In our continuing series of getting reacquainted with teams around the NHL, today we visit with the home of Scottie Upshall, Peter Meuller, and Ed Jovanovski, The Florida Panthers. Writer Lauren Burg of The Rat Trick answered a few questions I had regarding the Florida Panthers and their playoff run, what the next season holds, and hockey in a non-traditional market.

HH The Panthers made the playoffs last year. Tell us about the vibe and feel the Panthers were generating around Sunrise during the end of the season and their playoff run.
TRT The Panthers had many people buying in last season. The end of the season, from what I’ve heard, was magical and many local businesses, etc were supporting the Panthers in their playoff push. I can also say that when the Panthers came to Tampa for the final meeting at our arena they brought a large fan contingent. It was amazing to see so many people travel more than three to four hours to watch their team. There were even some that, though the team lost that game, saw the team bus off as it left the arena in Tampa. It was just really great to see!
HH Dale Tallon came to Florida with a fresh credit card. He spent not just on the blue line but also brought in veteran front liners. Tell us about how he changed the face and attitude of the organization.
TRT Tallon was, and is still, trying to do what Steve Yzerman up in Tampa Bay did the year prior. Of course, he had more areas to address but the team still had some great talent. Honestly, I think Florida needed a few fresh faces. They’d had their struggles and Tallon was only a year or two removed from managing a team that won the Stanley Cup in the Chicago Blackhawks. Using a similar blueprint he took a team that for years disappointed and made them a legitimate contender. I mean, winning the Southeast Division is nothing to sneeze at!

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