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Panthers move on from Peter Horachek, look to hire franchise's 13th head coach

Sean Leahy
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Peter Horachek took over as Florida Panthers head coach in November when the club fired Kevin Dineen after a 3-9-4 start. He was given the interim tag and posted a 26-36-4 record, but it wasn't good enough to convince general manager Dale Tallon or new owner Vincent Viola to bring him back.

On Tuesday, the Panthers announced they had relieved Horachek of his duties.

From the Panthers:

"Peter worked very diligently since taking over as interim head coach in November, but at this time we feel that a fresh approach and a new direction is needed behind our bench,” said Tallon.  “We will immediately begin an extensive search for a new and experienced coach for our franchise, who will guide the Panthers to future success.  We once again thank Peter for all of his hard work and service and wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

Last month, Tallon dismissed assistant GM Mike Santos, who worked with Horachek in Nashville. Santos had hired Horachek last summer as head coach of the Panthers' AHL affiliate in San Antonio.

It's another new direction for the Panthers organization. Whoever the next head coach will be the franchise's 13th in its 21-year history.

Viola bought the team in September and has given Tallon the green light to spend to the salary cap ceiling this summer. Bringing in Roberto Luongo was a nice first move; and with around $40 million currently committed to 14 players for next season, that gives the GM plenty of room to overpay some free agents to come to South Florida.

Last time Tallon was given an open checkbook the Panthers made the playoffs the following season. So maybe that's not such a bad idea?

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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