The writing had been on the wall since the departure of assistant general manager Mike Santos from the Panthers organization earlier in April, and the Cats finally pulled the trigger today, dismissing "interim" head coach Peter Horachek. After taking over as bench boss for the Panthers in early November, Horachek turned the team around for a bit, solving much of the defensive gaffes and scoring woes that plagued the Panthers early in the season. That would not continue, however, and the team fell to second last in the entire NHL, only one spot better than last season's showing. Horachek likely took much of the fall for the team's abysmal special teams statistics as the club finished at the bottom of the league in both power play and penalty kill percentages. There was no mention if the Panthers will retain assistants Brian Skrudland and John Madden, but it's likely they'll return to their former positions within the organization as the new head coach will likely want his own selection of compadres behind the bench.
What was already going to be a busy and meaningful offseason for GM Dale Tallon and the Panthers organization is now even more packed, as the search for a new head coach begins. Horachek really wasn't given a whole lot to work with; this was much more akin to the final year of the Peter DeBoer era, as the man behind the bench basically had an AHL team to ice against an NHL club every game. Many felt that Horachek should have been given a chance to succeed with a more talented and deep lineup with less call-ups and rookies, but the reality is that whoever is behind the Panthers bench needs to learn how to cope with just that, as there really shouldn't be a whole lot of free agency help or trade assets coming in the 2014-2015 season.
Chime in with your opinions using the poll below and/or play the role of devil's advocate in the comments. Also, check out the official statement from the Panthers as well. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to see if Scotty Bowman will answer my phone calls.