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Martin announces his intention to take Panthers' general manager offer @NHLdotcom

MIAMI - Jacques Martin will return as the Florida Panthers' general manager.

Martin, who was stripped of his coaching duties last week, said Tuesday he will accept the offer team owner Alan Cohen made to remain with the Panthers and focus on front office duties.

"I've talked with the ownership and I'll stay on as the general manager," Martin said when reached by phone in Ottawa. "It's an opportunity to continue the work I've started as general manager. I'm happy with and excited about the new challenge."

Martin said it was undoubtedly "too much for one man to do both jobs."

"I've enjoyed coaching but I'm ready to tackle a new challenge," he said.

Team spokesman Justin Copertino said a formal announcement is expected at the end of the week or early next week. Martin expects to sign a contract later this week.

Martin has held both roles since the 2006-07 season. He was one of three NHL coaches to take on dual roles this season. The other two, Ottawa's Bryan Murray and Atlanta's Don Waddell, are also expected to give up one role this off-season.

Cohen's changes come after another failed playoff bid from the Panthers. Florida went 38-35-9 to finish with 85 points, nine behind Southeast Division champion Washington. The team hasn't won a playoff series since 1996 and a playoff game since 1997.

They haven't reached the post-season since 2000.

Martin, who went 110-100-36 as Florida's coach, became Florida's general manager after one season as coach. He took over when Mike Keenan quit, shortly after trading star goaltender Roberto Luongo to Vancouver.

Martin filled that hole last off-season by acquiring all-star Tomas Vokoun from Nashville, but has been criticized for not adding a top scorer.

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