Since news broke earlier this week that Dale Tallon was taking over as GM for the Florida Panthers, just about every blogger across the entire blogosphere has written about it. Of course, mainstream journalists have written articles—which are basically the same thing. Whether it’s new media or traditional media, we’ve basically been hearing many of the same points sprinkled in with some opinions and projections going forward. But outside of the press conference and an appearance on NHL Live by Tallon himself, there has been precious little “meat” as to how the hiring went down. We’re here to change that.
As we’ve shown in the past, we have some of the best sources in the business. As always, we refuse to give up the name of the janitor gardener insider feeding us the story. Just trust us when we say we totally made this up we have some great sources that TSN wishes they had.
We walked in on co-owners Cliff Viner and Stu Siegel talking about some possible ways to shake up the Panthers’ organization and get people talking hockey in South Beach. Clearly, they were already looking to go in a different direction with their front-office management.
Cliff Viner : Well, what do you think of that guy on TV that looks like a turtle?
Stu Siegel : Larry David?
Cliff Viner : Hahahaa, you’re right. That guy does look like a turtle! And I loved Seinfeld! But no… the one that is 4’3” and stands between the glass. The one that’s completely clown shoes.
Stu Siegel : Ohh! Pierre McGuire! Yeah well… unfortunately, it looks like he’s in demand. I think Tampa Bay might already have him locked up. (Oh, and by the way, Curb Your Enthusiasm is better)
Cliff Viner : DAMNIT! Does that Vinik guy know what he’s doing? When Gary convinced him to buy the Lightning, I didn’t think we were going to have to worry about them for years! I was actually hoping they were going to hire Barry Melrose as GM.
Stu Siegel : What about Yzerman? I thought HE was going to Tampa?
Cliff Viner : Well, if it makes you feel better, it looks like he’s not so sure that he wants to make the move to ANY part of Florida. He wants a GM job, but with the Lightning? He’s not sure that he wants it THAT bad!
(laughter… pause… more laughter)
(quiet voice in the corner)
Dale Tallon : You do realize that they’ve won a Cup, right? You realize that their most glorious moment in franchise history doesn’t involve pallets of rubber rats being thrown on the ice. You realize that their arena isn’t in the middle of a swamp, right?
Stu Siegel : Who the hell are you?
Dale Tallon : I’m Dale Tallon.
Stu Siegel (turns to the Viner): I totally thought he was going to say that he’s the “Most Interesting Man in the World.” He kinda looks like him, doesn’t he?
Dale Tallon : Pull yourselves together! Forget who I look like. (Under his breath: No wonder no one ever takes them seriously). Look, you need help. Look around—you obviously need some help.
Stu Siegel : What about Randy?
Dale Tallon : Randy? Randy Sexton? He’s in Brandon, Manitoba right now. They don’t even have phones up there—so it’s like he’s on the dark side of the moon.
Cliff Viner : Hey, that’s not nice. Don’t make fun of rural Canada like that—that’s a hell of a stereotype.
Dale Tallon : You mean like saying that teams in the Southern United States shouldn’t have hockey teams?
Dale Tallon : I’m just saying that you have an opportunity here. No one expected you to give Sexton the job on a full-time basis. He was an interim GM and he was hired on a full-time basis because no one knew what was going on with ownership. But are you really going to let him continue to be the GM because you’re being polite and don’t have the balls to fire him?
Cliff Viner : What are you getting at?
Dale Tallon : What I’m saying is that you can just hire me. Hell, you don’t even need to fire him. If you hire me, he’ll just kind of figure it out. You know, like that Milton guy in Office Space… without the red Swingline. If you’re talking about Yzerman, you’re obviously thinking about hiring a new GM. And if you’re thinking about McGuire, you’re obviously desperate.
Stu Siegel : You’ve got a point. (turns to Viner: “This guy’s good”). Alright, assuming we go along with your plan for firing him—because NOT telling him seems easier—why would we hire you and not someone else?
Dale Tallon : Because look at Chicago. I’ve proven that I can build the type of team that can compete for a championship.
Cliff Viner : Yeah, but everyone says it’s just because you fell into an easy situation with really high draft picks.
Dale Tallon : If it were that easy, then you’d already have a Cup or two.
Stu Siegel : Damn, that was kinda harsh. But I guess you have a point.
Cliff Viner : Well, for shits and giggles, let’s go over your time with the Hawks and some of the moves you made. I want to see if it’s something that we could transfer down here in South Beach.
Dale Tallon : Well, first and foremost, I knew we’d need leadership so I grabbed Jonathan Toews. He’s already proven that he’s one of the best young captains in the game. Then I knew we’d need a dynamic game breaking forward, so we picked Patrick Kane.
Cliff Viner : Yeah, but those guys have to be great players if they’re picking in the Top 3.
Stu Siegel : You kinda have to suck to keep picking in the Top 5. Weren’t you the GM guiding them when they were finishing at the bottom of the league?
Dale Tallon : Maybe I was. But it takes time to build a winner. Besides, if it was really that easy to pick in the Top 5 and build a winner, then Nathan Horton and Jay Bowmeester would be leading you to the Eastern Finals already.
Stu Siegel : Wow, again with the harsh. Is this always how you try to get jobs?
Dale Tallon : No, usually I get the job because an organization loves me and get kicked out because someone’s son wants the job.
Cliff Viner : How is Scotty Bowman anyway?
Stu Siegel : Ohhh, Bowman! We should see if we can get that guy!
Cliff Viner : (turns attention back to Tallon): Well, you’ll need to get the job before anyone’s son can replace you.
Stu Siegel : I wonder if Bowman would do it? We have a nice, older community here. Maybe we could get him a membership into a Boca Raton Beachclub or something.
Dale Tallon : Focus! Both of the Bowmans are busy with the Hawks.
Cliff Viner : Ok, so you drafted Kane and Toews. We’ll give you a pass on Cam Barker. He’s Minnesota’s problem now. What else did you do?
Dale Tallon : Our scouting department was strong enough to find guys like Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson and Troy Brouwer.
Cliff Viner : Dude, you weren’t even the GM that selected Keith and Brouwer!
Dale Tallon : Yeah, but it sounds better than Mike Blunden and Igot Makarov.
Stu Siegel : Ok, ok, ok. So you were around when some good guys were drafted—and you were in charge when some not-so-great guys were drafted. What else do ya got?
Dale Tallon : Well, we were able to pick up some nice players in trades like Patrick Sharp and Kris Versteeg.
Stu Siegel : Those are some nice players… we should get guys like that.
Cliff Viner : Yeah, but you also invested $7.2 million in Martin Lapointe and $16 million in Adrian Aucoin.
Dale Tallon : Are you going to let me finish? Besides, those are in the distant past. I’m talking about the more recent past. Here’s the kicker: Since I screwed up and didn’t file paperwork in time, there will be a couple of guys available this summer. It just so happens that I know some people in Chicago. What would you think of Versteeg or Byfuglien for a couple of draft picks?
Cliff Viner : So let me get this straight. You were hit and miss with your draft picks. The best picks you made were because you were so awful, you were picking at the top of the draft. Your former team is a mess with the salary cap—it’s so bad that they’re going to have to liquidate good young players because they don’t have the money to keep them. And you were in charge when there was a clerical problem that caused a few of your players to become free agents? And you’re here now because you think you’d be an upgrade?
Dale Tallon : Well, look around. Wouldn’t I be an upgrade?
Cliff Viner : Eh, fuck it. You’re hired. I don’t wanna think about this anymore. You’re hired. If anyone questions the move, we can just say that you built the Blackhawks. I doubt any of our fans will talk about crazy things like the salary cap or long-term planning. Do whatever you want with Sexton.
Stu Siegel : Oh, oh. If you fire him, do it on a Friday. It’s been statistically proven that there’s less chance of an incident.