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Panthers coach Horachek faces old boss, friend

by Alain Poupart

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Barry Trotz and Peter Horachek reminisced about their nine years working together with the Nashville Predators when they went to dinner in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Friday night.

It's all business Saturday, though, when the Predators face the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center and Trotz goes up against his former right-hand man for the first time.

"Obviously we didn't share any secrets," said Trotz, the only coach the Predators have had since they joined the NHL in 1998. "That's taboo. It was the first time I got to see Peter since he left the organization. I would do the same if it was vice versa or he was coming to Nashville. We just caught up on old times."

Horachek was an assistant on Trotz's staff for the past nine seasons, serving as associate coach the last two.

After being fired by the Predators last May, Horachek was hired to coach the San Antonio Rampage, the Panthers' American Hockey League affiliate. He was hired as interim head coach of the Panthers after Kevin Dineen was fired in early November.

"We want to win," Horachek said. "I don't have a problem getting my emotions into the game. I want to win, I know Trotzy wants to win. We're going to treat it as business and after the game we'll probably say hello again. Right now it's all business and both teams want to win."

The teams have faced each other already this season, but Dineen still was coach of the Panthers when they lost at Nashville 4-3 on Oct. 15. The loss was part of a 3-9-4 start for the Panthers, who have a 12-11-2 record under Horachek.

"Peter has done a fantastic job with the Panthers, got them sort of back in the playoff hunt," Trotz said. "They're playing very fast. He's got guys believing. They're playing with energy. They're excited over there, so it'll be big challenge. That room will want to win the game for Peter and hopefully our guys will want to win the game for us. He's done a terrific job. It'll be fun. We'll go nose-to-nose and after the game we'll probably hug each other no matter what happens."

Here are the projected lineups for the Predators and Panthers on Saturday night at BB&T Center:


Colin Wilson - Mike FisherPatric Hornqvist

Gabriel BourqueMatt CullenViktor Stalberg

Nick SpalingDavid LegwandCraig Smith

Eric NystromPaul GaustadMatt Hendricks

Roman JosiShea Weber

Mattias EkholmSeth Jones

Ryan EllisKevin Klein

Marek Mazanec

Carter Hutton

Scratched: Rich Clune, Victor Bartley

Injured: Pekka Rinne (hip)

Notes: Mazanec will get a fourth consecutive start in net for the Predators. He's 2-0-1 in the past three games, which followed a five-game losing streak for Nashville.


Sean Bergenheim - Aleksander Barkov - Brad Boyes

Tomas Fleischmann - Nick BjugstadScottie Upshall

Jonathan Huberdeau - Marcel Goc - Tomas Kopecky

Krys BarchShawn Matthias - Jimmy Hayes

Brian Campbell - Tom Gilbert

Dmitry Kulikov - Mike Weaver

Ed Jovanovski - Alex Petrovic

Tim Thomas

Scott Clemmensen

Scratched: Drew Shore, Scott Gomez, Mike Mottau

Injured: Dylan Olsen (lower body), Erik Gudbranson (orbital bone), Jesse Winchester (upper body)

Notes: Upshall will be back in the lineup after missing the past three games with an upper-body injury. Huberdeau, who is without a goal in his past nine games, will move to a line with Goc and Kopecky.

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