If it wasn’t already, Florida has now become ground zero for the debate between old school and new school hockey following the firing of coach Gerard Gallant. It began when former general manager Dale Tallon was moved upstairs, but even that move wasn’t enough to make it a full-fledged, pick-a-side, dig-in-the-heels argument.
Tallon, at least, was treated publicly with respect as power shifted elsewhere in the organization.
He represents so much of what the old school loves and has succeeded with. He brought in players for reasons that couldn’t be quantified. He believed in surrounding young talent with players who played the right way. He believed in chemistry and leadership. He’d sign a guy and be excited about it because he knew it made the dressing room more fun. Considering the long grind of an NHL season, those things are important to him.
With Tallon calling the shots, guys like Dave Bolland, Kris Versteeg, Shawn Thornton and Willie Mitchell were brought in, guys whose value in the dressing room often outweighed their value on the ice. It worked, too.
When the new regime in Florida decided that approach was outdated, Tallon got to keep a position in the organization. He was praised publicly. His name was at the top of team announcements after the move to president, including the official announcement of the team firing Gallant.