The locker room is cleared out, the final autographs signed and the extra game jerseys hauled out.
We met up with the team one last time on Tuesday, with three of the four local TV stations represented. It was like opening day all over again. Wonder what they were there for? Oh yeah, they wanted to talk to the Panthers goalie about his future plans and what happened the other night. After Alex Auld got done talking, the TV guys left. Ed Belfour wouldn't come out and talk. I was shocked at that revelation.
Ville Peltonen did speak a little about his arrest the other night on South Beach. He seemed very sorry the whole thing happened and apologized to his family, teammates and the organization. He then talked some hockey stuff. Very stand up. Very impressive. I hope he comes back. I've always liked talking to Ville anyway. Today he took his medicine and faced the media. Now it's over.
-- Olli wouldn't talk about his injuries today, but said he won't play for Finland in the WC. That means he's probably going to need wrist surgery (he has an injury similar to Mike Van Ryn) in the coming weeks. Van Ryn will have surgery on one of his wrists next week. Olli also has said in the past he needs to do something with the nerve damage in his right leg. Whether that means surgery -- he seemed to think so six weeks ago -- will be decided.
-- Ville says he's playing for Finland. Jay Bouwmeester says maybe to Canada because he says he's having hip problems. Expect Olesz to join Czech Republic as well.
-- Alex Auld says he wants to come back next year. Had a lot of interesting things to say, like he plans to be more aggressive next year and should have seized his moments when they were there. He admitted it was tough to have a bad game and then sit for a while and watch Eddie win.
We'll still have hockey news, it'll just be from somewhere away from Sunrise.
-- Feel free to leave your first round playoff picks below. No contest this time, but you can get some bragging rights with your buddies.