By David Dwork

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SUNRISE (CBSMiami) – When the season began back in October, nobody thought the Florida Panthers would be searching for a new head coach any time soon.

Gerard Gallant had led the team on a huge resurgence during his first year and followed that up with an Atlantic Division title and the Panthers best regular season ever in 2016.

But a stumble out of the gate and some philosophical differences with upper-management led to Gallant’s firing after a loss to Carolina in late November.

General Manager Tom Rowe took over behind the bench but the team never recovered.

The Panthers are now heading towards a last-place finish, sitting just one point ahead of Buffalo and Detroit in the basement of the Atlantic.

Much of the blame for the disappointing season has fallen on the shoulders of Rowe, who has been criticized for both his coaching and the firing of Gallant.

Now it appears that Rowe’s practice running days are numbered as multiple sources have reported that he will not return as the team’s coach next season.

It’s likely he will move back into the front office, though it’s not known if he will resume General Manager duties.

Before Monday’s home loss to Montreal a banner plane flew above the BB&T Center that read, “Rowe must go! Call him a cab!”

The cab-jab is in reference to Gallant’s dismissal and the photos that emerged of him loading his bags into a taxi outside PNC Arena in Raleigh.

The Panthers have now lost 16 of their last 21 games and five straight.

Florida hosts St. Louis on Thursday and plays their final home game Saturday against Buffalo before ending the season on Sunday in Washington D.C.


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