The first group to hit the ice today is now off, and it looked like another productive outing. Really liked what I saw out of Jay Bouwmeester, and Kenndal McArdle looks really good -- although he will not make the team this year.
Rob Globke got roughed up a little, as did David Booth (tripped up by Bouwmeester's stick). The second group is coming on now, but don't know if I'm staying for the whole thing. Stephen Weiss also took a surprising elbow as he stood alongside the boards. The guy delivering the check: Assistant coach Mike Kitchen. You might be able to read about the hit on Stephen's web diary at floridapanthers.com.
-- Special thanks to Alan Cohen, the team's owner who opened up his beautiful home here in nearby Avon. Mr. Cohen treated the traveling party to a nice dinner, and it was nice to hang out with everyone in a very casual setting. The movie theater room turned into an NHL08 game room was very popular, as was the pool table.
-- Mike Maroone, the South Florida car magnate, was at the dinner Friday night. I had to stifle the urge to shout "who ya gonna call?" as we were introduced. Those of you who don't live in South Florida probably aren't going to get that reference.
-- Spoke with Michael Yormark last night, and he says the team is definitely toning down the in-house ads and have actually consolidated sponsors so it's not so ad-heavy at the games. I'll believe that when I see it. But Michael sounded sincere, so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.
He also added there is going to be a new kids area on the 100 level mezzanine, a place for the kiddies to play and enjoy their own ice cream parlor. The Panthers are also adding a kid-sized version of Stanley C. Panther, a mini-Stanley if you will, who will be hanging out with the kids.
-- So, you got questions do ya? Here are some answers I hope that help.
From PanthersRule96: Hey George, nice update. I was wondering what your take on Repik is in regards to his situation in camp. I know he was signed over the summer and has made it known he will do what it takes to get to the NHL level ASAP, but is Jacques willing to give him a look if he performs in camp or will he be sent back to juniors or minors unless he absolutely lights the world on fire? Thanks.
G: I think Repik looks good, but the Panthers aren't going to rush him. They don't need to. They feel confident in the depth of the organization and Repik is going to get an opportunity this preseason but will be back in juniors.