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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.

The Canadian Press

Dale Tallon received his reward for turning the Florida Panthers into a playoff team.

The Panthers general manager was given a long-term contract extension Wednesday, two months after the NHL team made the playoffs after 10 consecutive seasons on the sidelines. Tallon, 61, was hired as the GM on May 17, 2010 after he helped build the Chicago Blackhawks into that year's Stanley Cup champions.

"Over the last two years, he has worked tirelessly to re-position our team and hockey operations department," Panthers chairman Cliff Viner said in a statement released by the team. "Our team's success can be attributed directly to Dale's passion, leadership and the motivation that he has instilled in our organization."

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Tallon retooled the Panthers roster during the off-season. He was criticized in many corners, including this one, for bringing in veteran free agents like goaltender Jose Theodore and defenceman Ed Jovanovski and trading for defenceman Brian Campbell and his huge contract.

However, the combination, supplemented by trades for Kris Versteeg who wound up being the Panthers' leading scorer, worked under new coach Kevin Dineen. The Panthers finished with a 38-26-18 record and won the Southeast Division title. They lost in the first round of the playoffs in double overtime of the seventh and deciding game to the New Jersey Devils.

"Through the hard work of our diligent hockey operations staff we have changed the environment and culture of our club, developing a new identity for the Florida Panthers," Tallon said in a statement. "I am very proud of our coaching staff, players and support staff for all that we accomplished this season."

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About the Author
Hockey columnist

A native of Wainfleet, Ont., David Shoalts joined The Globe in 1984 after working at the Calgary Herald, Calgary Sun and Toronto Sun. He graduated in 1978 from Conestoga College and also attended the University of Waterloo. More

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