About 12 hours after finishing their third consecutive season missing the playoffs and 16th in the last 18 NHL seasons, the Florida Panthers fired head coach Bob Boughner on Sunday morning.
And indicated the next coaching hire won’t have just experience but a Stanley Cup on his coaching resume. That points to Joel Quenneville, who coached Chicago to three Stanley Cups after being hired by current Panthers general manager Dale Tallon in 2008.
“We made a tough decision today and have relieved Bob Boughner of his duties as head coach,” Tallon said in a release.
“We didn’t meet expectations this season and share responsibility for that fact,” he said. “After careful evaluation, we have determined that this is a necessary first step for our young team and we will seek to identify a transformative, experienced head coach with Stanley Cup pedigree to lead our team going forward.”
They Panthers fired Boughner from his first NHL head coaching job after two playoff-free seasons. This stands in stark contrast to the last time the Panthers fired a head coach, when they sacked Gerard Gallant Nov. 27, 2016, 21 games into the season after the Panthers’ last playoff appearance while the team had an 11-9-1 record.
Gallant coached Las Vegas to last season’s Stanley Cup Final in the franchise’s initial season, breaking the Panthers’ NHL records for wins and points by a first-year franchise along the way.
The Panthers also dumped assistant coach Paul McFarland.
Despite a roster generally considered among the most offensively talented in the NHL, both years under Boughner, the Panthers continued the long-established trend of failure: slow start, midseason scramble to get back into the playoff race, falling short. Horrid defensive lapses, too-often pourous goaltending and blown leads marked the 2018-19 failure.
This wasted captain Aleksander Barkov’s 96 points breaking Pavel Bure’s franchise record for points in a season and linemate Jonathan Huberdeau’s 62 assists setting a new single-season standard in that category.