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Yes, It's a Business

WeissAs expected, the players I spoke to today were happy to hear the Panthers were trying to improve themselves -- although they weren't happy it came at the expense of Mike Van Ryn.

Stephen Weiss is used to saying goodbye to teammates; he's been with the Panthers long enough to know anyone can be traded at any time.

You get close to guys, and they become your buddies,'' Weiss said. "It's no difference with [Steve] Montador and some other guys who won't be here this year. Olli Jokinen, too. It's the business.

"You see it more often as you get older. You don't want to get used to it, but that's the way it goes. Every year I've been here there have been changes, and that's what happens when you don't make the playoffs. You have to find answers and reasons why. Coaching staffs and players get moved. The best thing we can do is win and this group will stay together. That's all we can focus on. We have to our job on the ice, the business will take care of itself off of it.''

Van Ryn had hoped to help the Panthers advance to the playoffs for the first time since 2000, yet joins a long list of players who have left the Panthers in recent years as the team searches for that elusive postseason berth. A member of the Panthers since being acquired in a trade with St. Louis in 2003, Van Ryn signed a four-year contract worth close to $12 million with the Panthers in 2006. Numerous wrist injuries have slowed Van Ryn since.

Last year, he only played in 20 games as he had to shut his season down to have another surgery on his right wrist. He says his wrist has healed fine.

Van Ryn has made South Florida his home, he and wife Amber (a former Dolphins' cheerleader) raising horses on a ranch in Davie.

Moving to Canada is going to be an experience for the Van Ryn family, with Mike hoping his wife enjoys living in a hockey environment. Not only do the Panthers visit Toronto twice this season (on Jan. 6 and Feb. 2), but Amber's Dolphins do as well. The Buffalo Bills will play host to the Dolphins at the Rogers Center in Toronto on Dec. 7.

My wife has never seen what its like to play hockey in Canada,'' said Van Ryn, a native of London, Ontario. “This is going to be a neat experience. She gets to experience a different side of the game, and that's exciting. She's never lived anywhere other than here. Sure it's a little scary in a way, but it's a change and change can be really exciting.''