Kevin Dineen chuckled when asked about a post-loss meeting Tuesday after which Panthers general manager Dale Tallon told The Herald Dineen’s coaching job was safe for now.
Dineen didn’t just come in off the prairie.
The Panthers have one win in their last 10 games and that came via the shootout against Minnesota. The franchise also has new owners. Minority owner Doug Cifu was in the Tuesday postgame meeting with Tallon, hockey operations director Mike Dixon and assistant general manager Mike Santos.
“The truth of the matter is we have new ownership here,” Dineen said. “When you’re spending whatever the figure is on something and you’re in a personnel based business, you’re evaluating everything on every single day at every level. Whether it’s management side, the players’ side, the coaches’ side. Those meetings are happening every day right now.”
And the Panthers start a Boston-Ottawa-Rangers road trip Thursday.
The progress curve for last year’s NHL Rookie of the Year Jonathan Huberdeau, at least as far as offensive production, looks like a Bugs Bunny path after he missed that left turn at Albequerque.
Huberdeau picked up an assist in each of the last two games after going pointless in five games. With three goals and four assists in 15 games, he’s well behind last year’s lockout-shortened season pace of 14 goals and 17 assists in 48 games. Wednesday, Huberdeau insisted the hip on which he had surgery during the offseason wasn’t an issue.
“I lost some confidence from last year,” Huberdeau said. “I didn’t play for three months. It’s hard to come back. I don’t feel I’m playing [up to] my level right now. I’ve got to be better. But there’s no effect from my hip. It’s not a reason why [he’s not playing better].”
This and that
Goalie Tim Thomas took several pucks off the mask from goalie coach Rob Tallas’ light wristers during the mess around period after Wednesday’s practice. Though still on injured reserve, Thomas went through Wednesday’s practice and even got the best of a goal mouth collision with Scott Upshall. Dineen didn’t say when Thomas would be off injured reserve and back on the roster, but expects it “sooner rather than later” if Thomas’ progress continues.• Forward Sean Bergenheim was given what Dineen called “a maintenance day” and will be back on the ice for Thursday’s morning skate in Boston, after which his status for Thursday night will be decided.