On Wednesday, TSN’s Darren Dreger posted a series of tweets about Dale Tallon taking the reins again as GM, while Tom Rowe was coaching. This caught the eye of Sun Sentinel Panthers beat writer Harvey Fialkov, who checked the rumor. An hour later, Harvey tweeted that nothing changed. However, Dreger attacked Harvey on it and a twitter war ensured. An hour and a half later, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Freidman who had taken the Dreger-Harvey squabble as an opportunity to ask Vinnie Viola what was going on, posted an article. The article said that Tallon does indeed have more say but the more say part had come when he had been promoted to President of Hockey Operations in May and that nothing had changed since May. Friedman also said that the Panthers organization is a big fan of hearing more voices than just one, which was what promoted Owners Vinnie Viola and Doug Cifu’s financial firm Virtu Financial to success. Matthew Caldwell, the President of the team also tweeted about the situation and discredited the rumors.
On Thursday, Dreger came back saying that he had heard from numerous NHL General Managers that Tallon had far more contact with them in the past 24 hours than he had since May. Bob McKenzie, Dreger’s friend at TSN went on a radio show and said Harvey (who was just doing his job by reporting what the team was saying) was full of crap. Harvey didn’t respond right away but Caldwell was outraged that his team’s beat reporter had been attacked by someone who didn’t report on the team on a day to day basis.
On Friday, TSN and other media outlets saw that this story was going nowhere so they started a string of attacks on the team’s play. ESPN published an absolute crapjob of a story about the Panthers management called “The Panthers gong show continues”. ESPN, just because I have to look up the definition of a gong show doesn’t mean that you aren’t the worst source for hockey news.
Jussi Jokinen, the team’s alternate captain talked with a Finnish reporter on Thursday and said the conflicting stories were disrupting the locker room and confusing the players.