New Florida Panthers owner Vinnie Viola sat down with the Sun-Sentinel this week for a wide-ranging Q&A about a variety of topics, including the most important meal of the day.
How do you feel new coach Peter Horachek has done so far?
It’s a process. We’re doing things now that I think are going to sow the seeds of cohesion and camaraderie to create this culture of excellence. On practice days, the team has breakfast together now. I think that’s important for guys to get to know each other outside of the confines of the ice and outside the confines of the normal to and fro of a hockey life.
It’s worth noting that, under Horachek, the Panthers haven’t been that bad. They’re 7-8-1 through 16 games — a .469 winning percentage — which is significantly better than the 3-9-4 mark the club posted in the same amount of games under Kevin Dineen (a .313 winning percentage).
What’s more, the club is playing some of the best hockey at the moment, possibly due to the collective sharing of Eggs Benedict. The Panthers have won three of their last four, including a pair of victories over the Detroit Red Wings.
Viola says the season has been hectic thus far, but expects more positive results as things progress.
“We have been learning an awful lot,” he explained. “It’s kind of like drinking out of a fire hose.
“We’re more committed now to the principles that we believe in that produce long-term excellence in organizations. The team is, I think, starting to understand that everyone must work and everyone has to be absolutely committed to excellence. We’re not going to tolerate anything but 100 percent dedication to the culture of the team first.”