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2024 Stanley Cup Champions

Robb Tallas: A Florida Panthers Survivor, Stanley Cup Champion

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Florida Panthers goalie coach Robb Tallas celebrates his team’s Stanley Cup championship early Tuesday morning in Sunrise. // Photo @GeorgeRichards

SUNRISE — When Robb Tallas first took over as goalie coach of the Florida Panthers, no one, himself included, could have imagined he would still be here all these years later.

Tallas was hired by then-coach Pete DeBoer in 2009 back when Tomas Vokoun and Scott Clemmensen were Florida’s primary goalies.

DeBoer, who happens to be best friends with Florida’s current coach, was fired by the Panthers in 2011.

Tallas stayed.

And stayed.

After so many coaches (nine), goalies (21), general managers (four), and even a couple of owners later, Robb Tallas is a Stanley Cup champion with the Panthers.

”You know what? This is incredible,’’ Tallas said. “I am fortunate to be a part of it. Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you last as long as I do and this is the reward you get. It has totally been worth it. This is undescribable.’’

Tallas initially started working with the Panthers when a number of teams — including Florida — only employed parttime goalie coaches.

A former NHL player with 99 games under his belt, most with the Bruins, Tallas settled in South Florida where he worked with young goalies as well as pro goalies who wanted some help in the summer.

When DeBoer was fired, Tallas stayed on with Kevin Dineen and simply kept working with goalies — both with the Panthers and elsewhere.

Roberto Luongo and Tallas became close, the two working together in Coral Springs together during the offseason when Luongo was a member of the Vancouver Canucks.

With the Panthers, Tallas helped Luongo get back on the ice following his hip surgery in 2016 — and famously almost had to play in a game in 2015.

In that game on March 3, Luongo injured his shoulder and left to go have it looked at in Weston as the game was going on.

As the game went on, Al Montoya got hurt — and the Panthers did not have an emergency backup.

The game was delayed a long time as it was discussed whether Tallas could come into the game (Derek MacKenzie had halfheartedly volunteered) before Luongo heard about it in the car driving back to the arena.

Luongo returned to the game after a considerable delay. Tallas signed a pro-tryout contract to be eligible to play if needed although they ended up not allowing it.

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The NHL now has emergency goalies at all arenas.

“I’m standing in the tunnel, with real emotions,’’ Tallas recalled. “I was worried.”

Monday, the emotions were of a different stripe.

His pal Luongo fired up the crowd before the game, and finally got to hoist the Stanley Cup after it had alluded him during his Hall of Fame career.

As happy as Tallas was to be a part of this, he was happy to see that.

Oh, and don’t forget, Sergei Bobrovsky has been working with Tallas for the past five years.

Those two have a special bond as well.

“It is just unbelievable to see two guys put so much time and so much work into this,’’ Tallas said, turning back to survey the scene on the ice.

“I have seen these two at their best. But to see Lu get rewarded on the management side, to have his name on that Cup, and to see Bob be the guy to win it. There was so much pressure on him from Day 1. The ups-and-downs of his time here, he is so deserving of this. Both of those guys going in this together, that’s harmony.’’

Yes it is.

For More FHN Coverage of the Stanley Cup Champion Florida Panthers:

UP NEXT FOR THE FLORIDA PANTHERS
  • Stanley Cup Championship Parade, Fort Lauderdale: Sunday, 11 a.m.
  • NHL Draft, Las Vegas: Friday-Saturday
  • NHL Free Agency: Monday
  • Florida Panthers Development Camp, Fort Lauderdale: Early July
  • Florida Panthers Training Camp, Fort Lauderdale: Mid-September
  • Florida Panthers Preseason: Sept. 22-Oct. 5
  • Florida Panthers Opening Night/Banner Unveiling: TBA

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