EDMONTON, CANADA - OCTOBER 10: Peter DeBoer of the Florida Panthers skates against the Edmonton Oilers on October 10, 2010 at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The Oilers won 3-2. (Photo by Dale MacMillan/Getty Images)
After a season in which they finished last in the Eastern Division for (surprisingly) the first time in history, the Florida Panthers fired head coach Pete DeBoer Sunday morning.
The disappointing 30-40-12 season marked the 10th consecutive year Florida have missed the NHL playoffs. (Considering it might require neutering, who can blame them?)
DeBoer, who told media he had "never been fired before" and it was a "strange" feeling, will withhold further comments until Monday.
The Panthers, meanwhile, will add a new coaching staff to their already considerable rebuilding plans. For each of the three years he did serve on his four-year contract, DeBoer was forced to deal with the departure of a cornerstone Panther: Olli Jokinen, Jay Bouwmeester, and Nathan Horton, respectively.
This season, the Cats lingered several spots above their projected finish of 14th or 15th in the East before a trade deadline cull sent them spiraling to the basement.
"These decisons are always tough to make, but we felt strongly that it was the right time to make a change," General Manager Dale Tallon said in an announcement on the team's website. "We need to go in a new direction with a fresh approach and philosophy as it relates to our head coaching position. The entire Panthers organization would like to thank Peter for his hard work and service to this franchise and wish him the best in the future."
In February of last year, new managing partners Cliff Viner and Stu Siegel promised a "quick and efficient" purifying firestorm of trades and firings in order to "reshape this franchise on a much more solid foundation."
Clearly, a coach with an overall record of 103-107-36 would have trouble surviving such a mission.