Sean Leahy

Do the Florida Panthers need a 'Monster' as general manager?

Sean Leahy
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When we last discussed Pierre McGuire's candidacy to become a National Hockey League general manager it was in response to a blog post by the Denver Post's Adrian Dater.

Since then, the TSN and NBC analyst has stated interest in entering the management sector, even interviewing for the Minnesota job before being eventually passed over for Chuck Fletcher.

With the Florida Panthers as the only NHL team without a GM, is it time that franchise moves in an alternative direction?

After having Bill Torrey, Rick Dudley, Mike Keenan, and Jacques Martin leading the team this decade to zero playoff appearances, it's obvious that retreads aren't making progress in South Florida. A year ago, Florida brought in a successful junior hockey coach Peter DeBoer (whom a source told me is very close to McGuire), and the Panthers improved, coming within a tiebreaker advantage of making the playoffs for the first time since the 1999-00 season.

They took a chance on an unproven guy at the professional ranks behind the bench -- why not at GM?

Since Jacques Martin bolted to coach the Montreal Canadiens, assistant GM Randy Sexton has been running the show while Bill Torrey, current Alternate Governor for the Panthers and legendary GM when the New York Islanders were winning Stanley Cup's in the 1980's, is leading the search party for a new GM.

Donny from Litter Box Cats, isn't all too enamored with the prospect of the TSN analyst running the team:

Having been an ardent observer of McGuire during his first - and last - stint as a head coach (Hartford, 1993-94), I'm reluctant to throw my support his way. I don't personally dislike him, mind you, simply that he doesn't strike me as the man to take Florida to the next level. I'm aware of his years as a (successful) assistant coach, and no, he's not applying for an on-ice position, which is a very different animal. But he's never run anything.

Maybe he'll give a bang-up, take-no-prisoners interview with Bill Torrey and impress the bowtie off of him, but I'm wary of opening the door to guys who've been away from the nuts-and-bolts of the game - much less organizational aspect - for so long. Call it a Melrose Hangover, but if McGuire's qualifications are enough for consideration, why not kowtow to the lunatic-fringe wing of the fan base and hire Denis Potvin?

Casting McGuire in the same light as the Barry Melrose disaster in Tampa is a bit unfair, even if that stigma might have scared the Minnesota Wild a bit before they decided on Chuck Fletcher to replace Doug Risebrough as GM.

McGuire is ice level for the games he broadcasts and talks to players and coaches on a consistent basis. Melrose sat back in Bristol, Connecticut for 15 years watching hockey on a television.

Much like Jim Balsillie owning a National Hockey League franchise, eventually McGuire will land himself a management job. He has connections all over the NHL to make it happen and there's plenty of owners around the League who would be willing to have a fresh mind make the personnel decisions for their club.

If that day should come for the Florida Panthers, their combination of DeBoer and McGuire could be one that finally gets the team over the brick wall that's been in front of the franchise for a decade.

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