When Kevin Dineen decided he was done playing the game, he chose to transfer his talents to others and coach. In 2005, Dineen was named head coach of the AHL Portland Pirates who were then affiliates of the Anaheim Ducks. The Pirates then changed affiliates and have been the farm team for the Buffalo Sabres for the past three years. Dineen's efforts landed the team the Atlantic Division title this past year and he has taken them to the playoffs all three years the team was an affiliate of Buffalo.
In an interview with the Buffalo News, General Manager Darcy Regier spoke very highly of the work Dineen has done with the players of Portland and likewise the prospects for the Sabres. It seemed pretty clear that with Dineen's success he would not be able to stay with the Portland team for long, but he will surely be missed.
Now on the horizon for Kevin Dineen is the Florida Panthers. The Panthers currently have the longest drought (11 years) of not making the playoffs. We wish the best of luck to Dineen and his new job but I'm sure the Sabres won't be showing any sympathy when they meet the Panthers.
It is quite possible that Dineen was not going to be our AHL team's coach regardless of this announcement by the Florida Panthers. Talk of the Sabres buying the Rochester Americans to switch their affiliate from Portland have been swarming for months. Let Buffalo fans hope that wherever our affiliate team is in the future, we have a coach as dedicated and as professional as Kevin Dineen.
In honor of the fine work Kevin Dineen has done for the the Portland Pirates and the Buffalo Sabres organizations, here is a tribute video.