As promised, Panthers general manager Dale Tallon continues to reinvigorate a notoriously stoic and bland organization with an infusion of talent from not only a fresh, aggressive new philosophy employed at the recent Entry Draft, but grabbing some of the best hockey minds from the most successful period of its history.
Former Florida captain Brian Skrudland and defenseman Gord Murphy - both "original" Panthers from the inaugural season of 1993-94 - have been hired by the club; an official announcement is forthcoming.
Skrudland, 46, one of the finer defensive forwards of his period, spent four years with the Cats; he won two Stanley Cups (MON '86, DAL '99) in a 16-season career. He'll be Tallon's new Director of Player Development; i.e. providing oversight of and assistance to younger players as they progress to the NHL.
Murphy, 43, played six years for Florida in a 14-season career. Tabbed as Peter DeBoer's assistant coach (defence), he'll join Jim Hulton on the bench, replacing the departed Mike Kitchen. Murphy has spent the past seven years as an AC in Columbus.
Neither former player has had any involvement with the organization over the past decade, so they're off the hook for the usual, deserved groans about this club's lack of postseason involvement. Long before Martin and Keenan and Taticek and Murray, hockey was indeed a hot topic in SoFLA, and these two gentlemen were each an integral piece of it.
UPDATE: Official release here. Conference calls with Tallon, DeBoer, Murphy, and Skrudland are now included. The last two of which are of the Must-Listen variety.