Tom Rowe won’t be Florida Panthers coach next season

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Tom Rowe will not return as Florida Panthers coach next season, after having spent all but 21 games behind the bench on an interim basis this season.

Rowe, who is also currently the team’s general manager, took over after he fired Gerard Gallant on Nov. 28, 2016, a bizarre decision considering the Panthers were on the playoff bubble and coming off a year in which they won the Atlantic Division. But the Panthers’ front office was reorganized last summer, with GM Dale Tallon kicked upstairs and Rowe taking over as GM.

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We want to believe, in our hearts, that the catalyst for this news was the airplane banner that flew above the Florida Panthers’ loss against the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday night, demanding Rowe be fired and making a cheeky comment about Gerard Gallant leaving in a cab after he was fired. Please don’t tell us it wasn’t …

When Rowe took over the bench, the team’s player personnel duties fell to Tallon, assistant GM Eric Joyce and Steve Werier, who was the Panthers’ VP of legal and business affairs before being named assistant general manager.

From the Miami Herald, it’s apparently not a sure thing that Rowe will return to the general manager’s chair, either:

Rowe gave up his general manager responsibilities to Tallon, Steve Werier and Eric Joyce when he took over behind the bench although he retained the job title. With three years remaining and the trust and friendship of ownership, Rowe will be offered a position within the front office. It’s unclear who will take the general manager title; Tallon is Florida’s president of hockey operations now.

One assumes Joyce will have the inside track for the job, having been a leader in the cultural shift in management that saw Gallant turfed and Tallon promoted.

As for the coaching, Rowe has gone 22-26-10, a points percentage of .466. The Panthers have lost 16 of their last 21 games. Gallant, for the record, had an 11-9-1 record with a .548 points percentage when he was fired.

So the Panthers will have their sixth coach in nine years next season. Who will it be?

Geordie Kinnear is the current head coach in the AHL for the Panthers, under Joyce. Tallon obviously has ties to several people from his days in Chicago.

Here’s one for you: If the Florida Panthers are being run as an extension of the U.S. Army, why not try to hire a militaristic coach who is also a student of military history?

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In other words: Wouldn’t it be interesting to see what Ken Hitchcock could do with this roster?

Hey, coaching in Florida is sorta retirement, right?

Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

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