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Chilly in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE -- Good morning from my favorite airport located in Charlotte, NC, where I await my connecting flight to Atlanta for the Alyssa Milano All-Star festivities.

Sure some are wondering why I didn't just take a direct flight from Lauderdale, but where's the sense of adventure in that?

Going to be strange being away from the Panthers all this time, and I'm sure they'll miss me.

One would like to see a strong push by this team once they return, would like to see them really take on this challenge of winning the SE and moving into the playoffs.

JM said the Panthers focus has to be on the division. That's why I don't think there was that much consternation in the room after last night's loss. Why would there be? They let a team from the west steal two points, and picked up one themselves. At the end of the day, that'll work.

This team's focus is beating Carolina, Atlanta, Washington. Those are the playoff games for the Panthers.

-- Word is, anger over Olli and Nate skipping out of the team's golf tournament has waned. But, I've been told this won't be forgotten. Both players know better, but the blame is being laid solely on Olli. If he stays at the tournament , the thought is, so does Nathan.

Maybe it's as simple as Olli just doesn't like golf. Or maybe he was sending a message that he's tired of the way things are going these days.

Or maybe he and Nate just wanted to go to Sawgrass Mills, get a smoothie and hit American Eagle. It could be as simple as that.

But I still contend the Panthers aren't trading a 40 goal scorer in his prime who a) happens to be the team captain and b) has two years left on his contract after this season at a pretty decent rate.

Not over a golf tournament, that is.

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