Skip to main content

Dineen to lean on ex-Devils for advice

by Staff /
Florida Panthers coach Kevin Dineen hadn't announced as of Thursday night whether Scott Clemmensen would get the start over Jose Theodore in Game 1 of his team's Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series Friday against the New Jersey Devils.

Meanwhile, as a fourth-line center, John Madden's ice time figures to pale in comparison to that of top forwards like Kris Versteeg, Tomas Fleischmann and Stephen Weiss.

Regardless of how much they play, however, Clemmensen and Madden have the ability to have a different kind of impact on this series as ex-Devils who might provide valuable information on some of their former teammates' tendencies.

Dineen, who appeared as a guest on Thursday's "NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman," admitted he did turn to those players for advice.

"I can sit there and I can watch the past four games [in the season series], or it's probably easy to know that Ilya Kovalchuk is just a world-class player," Dineen said. "But I think when you sit next to a guy and you know a player as well as a John Madden would know Patrik Elias or Marty Brodeur, then you have to get that feedback, and I think that is really a valuable thing for us.

"At the end of the day, I think we've had a lot of time this week to really study each other and to kind of put our game plans in place, and I think both teams are looking forward to dropping the puck and getting into action tomorrow night. But certainly Scotty and John have been a big part of our success and were very helpful in our pre-scout."

Of course, Dineen acknowledged that if the Devils wanted to do their own reconnaissance on the Panthers, they wouldn't have to turn any farther than their own coach, Peter DeBoer, who spent the previous three seasons behind the Florida bench.

While the two will spend the next couple weeks trying to advance their own teams in the playoffs at the other's expense, Dineen said they actually have an excellent relationship which started at last year's draft.

"Pete made it very easy -- reached out to me at the draft and we had a great conversation," he said. "We talked, just the little things organizationally, but more about the area and schools and minor hockey. I don't think it could have been any smoother than it was, and that's a great credit to Pete. He's obviously done a wonderful job, so I'd like to think there's a little mutual respect on both sides. I certainly am impressed with the job he's done this year, and like I say, I think his pre-scout was a heck of a lot easier knowing our personnel very well, but we'll get at it tomorrow and see how it works out."
View More