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Tallon finds fresh start with Panthers; introduced as team's new GM Tuesday

Dale Tallon talks to the media, after he was named the new General Manager of the Florida Panthers hockey team Tuesday, May 18, 2010, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

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Dale Tallon talks to the media, after he was named the new General Manager of the Florida Panthers hockey team Tuesday, May 18, 2010, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

SUNRISE, Fla. - The architect of the Chicago Blackhawks recent resurgence is bringing his blueprints to Florida.

Dale Tallon was introduced Tuesday as the new general manager of the Florida Panthers, saying he wants to turn around the franchise by focusing the same principles that worked for the once-struggling Blackhawks.

"We're committed to building this team the right way, in a professional way, in a championship way," said Tallon, Chicago's former general manager. "This is going to be a first-class organization all the way through."

The move, which was announced by the team Monday, was heralded as a fresh start for a franchise with an embarrassingly long playoff drought. Florida hasn't been in the playoffs since 2000 and finished last in the Southeast Division this season.

"This begins a great new chapter in the development of this franchise," Panthers co-managing partner Cliff Viner said. "We promised a professional, well-run organization that we could all be proud of. We're making good on that promise today by the hiring of such a high-character and high-calibre individual, who is also a credible, competent, experienced and proven hockey leader who is genuinely excited to join our franchise."

Tallon, the ninth general manager in the Panthers franchise history, did some of everything with the Blackhawks. He was a player, a broadcaster and worked in the team's front office.

He thanked the Blackhawks Tuesday "because without them I wouldn't be here. In more ways than one."

Tallon, 59, was replaced as GM by Stan Bowman shortly after a missed deadline for sending qualifying offers to restricted free agents prompted the NHL Players Association to file a grievance against the team.

Tallon was removed from his job as GM in July 2009 and served as a senior adviser of hockey operations for the team during the 2009-10 season. The shake-up came just months after the Blackhawks advanced to the Western Conference finals and Tallon says he has moved on.

"I don't dwell on the past," Tallon said Tuesday.

Florida coach Pete DeBoer is expected to meet with Tallon this week. DeBoer's job is safe, Tallon said, but there would be a "full evaluation" of the hockey operations side of the organization in the coming weeks. He also said he would soon talk with former Florida GM Randy Sexton.

The Panthers will select third in the upcoming NHL draft. During Tallon's time as general manager in Chicago, the Blackhawks drafted Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.

"I'm committed to the blueprint that we developed in Chicago," Tallon said. "I'm proud of that team and I'm proud of that organization and I'm especially proud of those kids. That's the type of team we're going to build here in Florida."

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