Florida turfs another head coach, fires Horachek


Tough season for bench bosses in Sunrise.

The Florida Panthers fired their second head coach of the season and third in the last three years on Tuesday, relieving Peter Horachek from interim duties after he took over from Kevin Dineen, who was fired a month into the campaign.

“Peter worked very diligently since taking over as interim head coach in November, but at this time we feel that a fresh approach and a new direction is needed behind our bench,” Panthers GM Dale Tallon said in a statement.  “We will immediately begin an extensive search for a new and experienced coach for our franchise, who will guide the Panthers to future success.”

Horachek, who left his post with Florida’s AHL affiliate to take the Panthers gig, recorded a 26-36-4 mark over 66 games. While things started brightly for him — the Panthers went 10-8-1 following the Dineen dismissal — Tallon always remained non-committal about dropping Horachek’s interim tag, and the Panthers limped to a 6-14-1 record over their final 21 games of the year.

Horachek, 54, did make waves late in the season when he blasted ex-Panther Shawn Matthias, who went to Vancouver as part of the Roberto Luongo trade. Upon hearing Matthias’ complaints about his role in Florida, Horachek said the center needed to “get out of the victim role,” and “he went through four coaches, so nobody’s picking on him.”

That last quote is telling, as it gives insight into Florida’s coaching instability over the last few years. As mentioned above, the club has gone through three since 2011 — Horachek, Dineen and Peter DeBoer — and a fourth will soon be brought aboard, per Tallon.

‘Yotes return Dylan Strome to OHL

Dylan Strome, Nikita Nikitin
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The Arizona Coyotes have returned Dylan Strome to the Erie Otters of the OHL.

Strome, 18, was the third overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft.

The 6’3, 185 pounder was hoping to stick with the Coyotes this season, but the team decided to take the conservative approach with their top prospect.

Strome will look to build off an incredible junior season that saw him score 45 goals and 129 points in 68 games.

Strome seems to be taking the demotion in stride.

The team also announced that they’ve assigned goaltender Louis Domingue and forward Matthias Plachta to their AHL affiliate in Springfield.

Domingue, 23, had a 1-2-1 record with a 2.73 goals-against-average and a .911 save percentage in seven games last season.

Plachta, a free agent signing, will begin his first pro season in North America. The 24-year-old had 14 goals and 35 points in the German League last season.


Detroit places Datsyuk and three others on I.R.

Pavel Datsyuk,
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The Red Wings have placed Pavel Datsyuk, Darren Helm, Danny DeKeyser and Alexey Marchenko on injured reserve.

Placing these players on I.R. opens up four more roster spots for Detroit.

The Red Wings have suffered an incredibe amount of injuries heading into the season.

Datsyuk (ankle) is expected to be out until November.

DeKeyser (foot) is going to miss three-to-four weeks, while Helm (concussion) and Marchenko (lower-body) are considered day-to-day.

The team also announced that they have reduced their training camp roster to 27 players on Sunday.

Top prospect Dylan Larkin remains in camp for now.

Coach Jeff Blashill told reporters that the 19-year-old has looked good, but a final decision hasn’t been made on where he will play this year.

As for Larkin, he’s just fed up of living in a hotel.

“There’s been so much speculation and so many questions, and no one really knows,” said Larkin. “Maybe the coaches know, but just to find out where I’ll be living or what’s happening — I’m kind of sick of the hotel. It would be nice to know what’s going on.”