So, yes, that means a lot of the guys who haven't been around of late are here now. Jay Bouwmeester, Keith Ballard, David Booth, Rostislav Olesz, et al.
The guys did a lot of hard skating today, lot of full-speed passing work and the like. Training camp will be here in just a few days, kicking off Saturday morning at 10. Going to be a mess at Incredible Ice what with the pre-construction stuff going on, so that means a lot less parking than before. And it wasn't always easy to find parking there on the weekends as it was.
With training camp around the corner, that must mean the season is close at hand as well.
Unless you check the countdown clock at floridapanthers.com. According to them, Opening Night is 106 days away.
-- EDIT: Fixed on the Panthers site. Less than a month to go. Whew. I already booked my flight to Carolina, and according to USAir, I'm leaving on October 9.
Apparently the offseason just got a bit longer.
-- Ballard will be wearing No. 2 this season. Top Panthers to wear this number in the past: Branislav Mezei, Lukas Krajicek, Lyle Odelein, Terry Carkner and Joe Cirella.
Nick Boynton's number on the Panthers official roster is 44 (although I think he was wearing No. 70 on his helmet today). Last to wear that one: Todd Bertuzzi. Rob Niedermayer, Sandis Ozolinsh and Soup Campbell. Noah Welch has switched to No. 7 now that Steve Montador has moved on to Anaheim.
-- Speaking of Welch, he'll be dishing out the cold stuff at Coldstone Creamery in Weston tonight with Goldie. Welch's super secret concoction? Banana ice cream with Oreos. May have to check that out.