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Panthers name Keenan GM and Martin head coach

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Sunrise, FL (Sports Network) - The Florida Panthers made it official on Wednesday, hiring Mike Keenan as the general manager and Jacques Martin as the club's new head coach. Keenan returns to the Panthers after being fired as head coach of the team last November.

Martin, 51, was relieved of his coaching duties by Ottawa just two days after the Senators were eliminated from the 2004 playoffs when they lost to Toronto in seven games in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. Ottawa was shut out three times in the series and lost 4-1 in the decisive Game 7 at Air Canada Centre. The Maple Leafs defeated Ottawa in the playoffs for the fourth time in five years.

Martin became the head coach of the Senators on January 24, 1996 and had just

completed his

eighth full campaign with the club. He finished with a 341-255-96 record in the regular season as head coach of Ottawa.

For his career, which also includes a head coaching stint with St. Louis, Martin has totaled 407 wins in the NHL.

Keenan was dismissed by the Panthers after Florida got off to a 5-8-2-0 start to the 2003-04 season. Former general manager Rick Dudley took over behind the bench on an interim basis until John Torchetti came aboard in February. Torchetti compiled a 10-12-4-1 mark.

The 54-year-old Keenan was reportedly involved in a power struggle with Dudley, who took over as GM on May 10, 2002. Keenan, who signed a contract extension before last season, was already in place behind the Florida bench when Dudley was hired.

Keenan became the sixth coach in Panthers ' history in December of 2001 and finished his Florida tenure with a 45-73-23-12 record in 153 games.

He also guided the Flyers , Blackhawks , Rangers , Blues , Canucks and Bruins during his NHL head coaching career, which began in 1984. He led the Rangers to the club's first Stanley Cup championship in 54 years in 1994 and has been to the Cup Finals on three other occasions.

Dudley

was fired

on Monday and offered another position within the organization.

Florida finished fourth in the Southeast Division this past season with a record of 28-35-15-4 (75 points) and failed to qualify for the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year.

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