A few things going on in PantherLand what with the cookout on Monday and the schedule being announced tomorrow.
As promised, here are some of the excerpts from the Brett McLean interview. The guy felt like he was being squeezed out in Colorado, so he was quite happy to be welcomed to Florida with open arms.
HAVING A GOOD TIME IN SO FLA?
“It’s been great. I’ve been down here a couple of days, my family and I, and today was good. I got to come in and meet Jacques and all the personnel. It’s a beautiful facility. It was nice to meet Tomas. It’s an exciting time.’’
“I spoke with Mike Van Ryn on the phone. We played together on the Team Canada under-20 team. I’ve talked to a few players who used to play here. I’m excited about meeting everyone.’’
CHANGE OF ROLE IN COLORADO
“It was a building process and kind of the same thing happened the year before. I had to start from scratch and it was one of those things that I stuck with. I hoped to get to the point where I got to play some critical minutes, and I did so over the last 20 games or so. Things went well for my line, really went well for my team, so that was good.’’
YOUR ROLE IN COLORADO’S SPECIAL TEAMS
“I didn’t play much on the power play, but I did quite a bit of penalty killing down the stretch. It’s something I hope to do here; it’s something I take pride in. I’ve been on the penalty kill everywhere I’ve been. When I got to Colorado I didn’t do it for about a year-and-a-half, but I got to do it in the second half of the season. I like to do it.’’
YOU FEEL EDGED OUT IN COLORADO?
“I knew that the option was there, but knowing the personnel there and what they wanted to do, I didn’t know if they had room. They talked about getting Ryan Smyth; his spot was where I was playing. They also had a lot of young players under contract, a lot of older players under long-term contracts. And they wanted Ryan Smyth, so it was pretty obvious there wasn’t room much less ice time for me even if I would have gone back. I might have made it back onto the top six, but it definitely wouldn’t have been as good a fit as this is.’’
HAPPY TO BE HERE?
That’s the best feeling for me. They wanted me on July 1 and made it very clear I was a player at the top of their list. That’s a great feeling. In Colorado, I was liked, but I don’t think they ever saw me as a critical player. They looked to upgrade on me; here, it’s a little bit of an opposite. I’ve never had that before. It’s a new experience for me, so right there, [the Panthers] are going to get my loyalty and my respect. I’m going to do everything I can to make sure they’re decision pays off for them.’’
-- The schedule comes out tomorrow. This much we do know: FLA at NYR on Oct. 4; NJ at FLA on Oct. 6
-- Had lunch today at the new Pizza Time in Sunrise. You may remember hearing about this place; it's owned by Bobby, father-in-law to some guy named Roberto Luongo. Anyway, the old Pizza Time (since sold) was a popular hangout for Florida players since a) it was located about a mile away from Incredible Ice and b) the food was incredible.
The new location is about 10 minutes from the Sunrise arena on the corner of Sunrise Blvd. and Nob Hill. But don't expect it to become a new hangout for players. Most of them live in Parkland and still frequent the old Pizza Time. And why not? I've been to the old Pizza Time since it's been under new management and the food remains very good.
-- Since it's slow and I have nothing else to write about, might as well give my opinion on this little nugget: After going to Pizza Time, I walked down to Walgreens. They gave me a coupon for a free Vanilla Coke Zero. Tried it. After the first sip, it was pretty darned good. Don't know how good a summer drink it is, but it had a pretty good flavor if you like diet drinks. Doesn't top Diet Dr. Pepper, but it's still pretty good.
-- Looking forward to the All-Star Game tonight. Missed the home run derby (happy birthday Laura!) but I'm sure I didn't miss much. Always love the Midsummer Classic, have since I was a kid.