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Rocky Mountain High

Rockymountain_muppets Greetings from balmy Denver, where the sun is shining bright and it's 63 degrees out.

John Denver and the Muppets would love weather like this. Except for Fozzie. I bet he sweats.

The Panthers are here, trying to break out of their funk and escape the shadows of a 7-0 home loss to the stinky Kings. JM says the team left that game behind in South Florida. We'll see. There were a lot of questions about heart (lack thereof) and character after that loss, so the coaches are looking for a bounce back game from a lot of guys.

One boost is the return of Gary Roberts and the very-expected return of Mike Van Ryn (bruised hand). Todd Bertuzzi is on the trip and skated today, but he won't make his much-anticipated return in Denver for obvious (Steve Moore) reasons. JM says he won't return until next week, but I could see him back Thursday against the Minnesota WILD! or Saturday against his buddies from Phoenix.

THE NEWS: Eddie Belfour makes his return to the net tonight after giving up three goals on six shots Saturday. JM says he didn't pull Eddie on Saturday because he played badly (one goal was a fluke off Bryan Allen, another came off a poor turnover -- although Eddie takes some of the blame for playing that puck in the first place -- and the third off a rebound during a power play.)

He says he was just trying to shift things up, maybe get some momentum and give Alex another shot. As JM himself said today, it didn't work as Alex didn't play very well. Now, Alex has to wait his turn for another chance and way it sounded today, that time isn't forthcoming.

-- It's currently 2 degrees in the Twin Cities. Thought you all should know that.

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