More of the Same Q Thoughts & Some New Ones
I joined my friends on a hockey podcast yesterday to talk a bit about the Panthers and Q.
It's a good group of guys guys who like to chat about the Blackhawks and everything hockey, so it was nice of them to extend the invite.
In preparation for the chat, I had written down a bunch of notes/thoughts, with examples and so forth, that I wanted to touch on during our discussion.
Then I dialed into the call...and it all went out the window. Haha. I forgot the points and felt like what I said lacked depth.
Regardless, I had a lot of fun talking with the guys and am looking to go back on in the future (better prepared, haha). Heck, if the Panthers have an active summer like Tallon is hinting at, it could be sooner than we think!
What I Was Trying to Say
The nice thing about chatting with the guys is that it got the juices really flowing for this blog - a lot of it is touching on the same things I wrote before regarding Q, but being on the podcast got me pumped to talk about it again.
You know...first and foremost, I believe the signing sends a direct message to the league and fans that the Panthers are serious, not only about winning, but it also shows a tremendous amount of growth in relation to the organization's philosophy and mindset.
We all know that the marketing overhaul, Gallant firing, switch to "money ball" and analytics approach with a 'yes man' (Rowe) behind the bench was an effort to move the team in a direction they thought would lead to success. In their defense, a lot of teams (in all major sports for that matter), are moving towards the numbers game to build towards the success they feel they can achieve via that means.
Only, it didn't work...
Like I've said before, while there's obviously a place for the numbers/stats in sports, they should never overtake the game. I believe it's important to have a balance of said numbers and "gut feeling" when it comes to finding success in sports.
Not to keep delving into the past, but there's no question that the Gallant firing put in motion the tailspin and subsequent non-playoff purgatory this organization currently finds itself in. I think Florida hired Bouhgner in an attempt to right the ship and acknowledge the fact that the analytics-first approach didn't work. Here was a former-player who seemed like he'd have a hard-nosed approach to coaching - someone to really get this team moving in the direction they needed to be. But it just didn't quite translate and the Panthers remained the same frustrating (knowing they should be so much better than what they are) team.
A man with an impressive pedigree. As I said earlier, the hiring not only sends a message to the fans that they're serious about winning, but it also shows the league, too. What's most impressive is that the announcement came immediately after firing Bouhgner.
This was huge in my opinion because it backed up Tallon's comments that they would be aggressive in the offseason. This is clearly the start (and a good one at that). Too many times do we see teams wait forever to sign a coach. This move spoke volumes.
It also proves something else to me...
One of the knocks on Q from his time in Chicago was his apparent reluctance to play young guys, instead leaning on and trusting veterans.
You can argue the Panthers are majority a young team, and as such, how will this work/play out?
I have two answers for that:
1. If Q truly didn't want to play/work/mentor young guys, he wouldn't have taken the job in Florida.
2. This is the more important point of the two... Listening to Q's interviews since being hired, there is a common theme that he kept expressing. He remarked a number of times that being away from coaching allotted him the time to watch a lot of hockey. He spent time watching games now with a different perspective. He said he didn't pay attention to schemes and systems, but rather, he watched and observed players and their talent.
Now think about that. Q was likely the most sought after coach to be hired, and as such, could have probably wrote his ticket to be behind the bench of any team searching for a new coach. Yet, he chose Florida, citing that the talent this young group really impressed him and he wanted to be a part of it.
I'd say that's pretty good indication that this guy is excited and more than ready to coach this young squad.
It also feels like the Panthers brass were willing to give up some (if not a lot) of control to Q (and Tallon) to mold this team to what it needs to be. To me, that's the right move and how it should be. Let him come in and work with Tallon to do what they think needs to be done. I'm guessing this has never really happened before for this organization and I think it's another great example of their willingness to change their mindset and do what's best to find success. I think this is another example of the organization taking a big step forward.
Describing what Q has is tough. He's one of those guys that just has "it." The second most winningest coach in NHL history, Q brings a confidence that can take over a room. His accomplishments put him in a position that make people take notice and listen to what he has to say when he speaks. After all, he's been there and done that. If you need any proof of this, look no further than his official press conference and watch how the players hang on his every word. Listen to them speak about him and what the signing means for the Panthers when they're being interviewed by the media.
This extends beyond the Panthers locker room, too. As Tallon pointed out, the hiring will bring a lot of interest to Florida from free agents and players around the league. It's likely a position they've never been in before.
It's amazing what one guy can do.
Who Are These Guys?
There's no doubt that this team has been without an identity for a long time. They're just kind of there. That leader presence (from a coaching perspective) has been pretty nonexistent.
This is where Q makes his mark.
This is a team that's begging for discipline and someone to step in and say, "This is who we are. This is where we're going. This is how we'll get there."
Q already set the tone when he addressed the players and told them that, come this time next year, he expects them to be coming off the ice after practicing and gearing up for their first playoff series.
This is what you want to hear and it lays the groundwork for what this team will eventually become.
To Be Continued..
This blog is getting a bit too long and I apologize for that. I'm just excited (like we all are) thinking about what the future holds.
It's really fun to think about what Q and Tallon will do in the offseason as they begin the process of creating what will be a playoff caliber team (we hope).
Who gets signed, who gets moved, etc., etc...
As such, I'm going to get that column out later this week (that I mentioned before) that will look at the current roster and pick out who I think might be "Q guys" and who might not be come this summer.
Thanks again and stay tuned.