I was informed of this today.
-- From the Whoa Nellie! Department: A writer for the Hockey News not only doesn't rip into the Southeast Division (well, there are some darts thrown), but says aside from Atlanta it's a division worth a looksee.
-- Here's what Eddie O had to say about the Panthers today on a conference call with NHL national TV types (courtesy of NHL Media):
"I think the one team to me, they had a pretty good season last year, they had a little bit of a run, were the Florida Panthers. I really like their defense. You know, with the acquisition of Keith Ballard and Nick Boynton from the big trade, you lose a lot defensively up front. But I think a guy like Cory Stillman, who is now there, if he can stay healthy, can eat up some of those minutes up front in point production there.
"Tomas Vokoun has been a consistent goaltender. I don't know if you can take it to the next level with him. He had his chance in Nashville. They shipped him out last year, a little bit of inconsistent. I really like their defense.
"I think that the Florida Panthers is a team I don't think many people feel maybe will be on the outside looking in at the playoffs. My expectations are for them to make the playoffs. I actually picked them last year to make the playoffs because I thought that they were on the verge of some good things. But they got some good young players down there, in Nathan Horton, the Jay Bouwmeester situation will be very interesting as far as his contract. But they're going to have to win games 2-1, 3-2, 1-0. But I think the Florida Panthers are a team, with 84, 85 points last year, I think you're going to need the same as you did last year in the Eastern Conference, 94, 95, so not that great of an improvement, but I think enough of an improvement with their defense they have a legitimate chance to take the next step and get into the playoffs
"You just never know. We've all seen the history of the Florida Panthers. Maybe they'll find some rats down there in South Florida to bring them a little extra luck.''
Don Cherry about everyone's favorite Cap, Alexander Ovechkin:
"He's not going to get any better. I'd be surprised if he does as well as he did last year. The big thing that you've got going there, as far as I'm concerned, is Bruce Boudreau. Mike was talking about coaches walking in. Here's a guy who walked in, 17 years I think he coached. George McPhee, after he hired him, he was interim coach, I had to laugh, then when he come, We all knew Bruce was a great hockey mind. It only took him 17 years to find out.
"He's the guy that let them loose. He's the guy that put -- I don't know what, he put the learning on Ovechkin, to let him go and do his thing. He's good. He's exciting. There's no doubt about it. They all love him there. But he'll do as good, but I don't think he'll do as good as he did last year. But they'll still be an exciting team to watch. But I got to tell you the truth.''
WHY DO YOU SAY SUCH THINGS MR. CHERRY?
"He came on last year. He was doing things that he shouldn't do. He was cutting into the middle. Remember me saying this about Tim Connolly? I said to Ron MacLean, I said, he's doing things he shouldn't be doing and he's getting away with them. I love it the way he does, all that stuff, everything. There's going to be a lot of guys waiting for him this year. He's not going to be running around like a bull in a china shop like he did this year.
He kind of caught everybody at the start of the season. They knew he was good, but not as great as he is. And he is great, I'm not knocking him. You're asking me if he's going to have as good a year and I'm saying he won't have as good a year.
FROM THE PANTHERS' COUNTDOWN CROWD
SUNRISE, Fla. – The Florida Panthers open up their 2008-09 season in 9 days when they head to Raleigh to take on their Southeast Division rival Carolina Hurricanes on Friday, October 10 at 7 p.m. Each day leading up to Opening Night, the Panthers will highlight a specific meaning to the number of days remaining until the start of the season.
9 – Stephen Weiss
The Florida Panthers selected C Stephen Weiss with the fourth overall pick in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. In six seasons with Florida, Weiss has recorded 163 points (61-102-163) in 323 games played. Last season, he set a career-high with 29 assists and served as one of the team’s Alternate Captains.
PANTHERS PRESEASON (2-2-2)
Florida has one remaining preseason game on Monday, Oct. 6 at 7:30 p.m. against the New York Islanders at the BankAtlantic Center. The game can be heard live on 790 The Ticket.
PANTHERS ON THE AIR
Thursday, Oct. 2 – Bill Lindsay on MY33’s Jim and Jade in the Morning at 7:30 a.m.
Thursday, Oct. 2 – Head Coach Peter DeBoer on 790 The Ticket live with Sid Rosenberg at 7:15 a.m.
Thursday, Oct. 2 – Assistant Coach Mike Kitchen on XM Radio Channel 204 at 3 p.m. on the Power Play Show.
Thursday, Oct. 2 – G Craig Anderson on 98.7 The Gator at 4 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 2 – Bill Lindsay on 790 The Ticket with Jonathan Zaslow between 7-8 p.m.
PANTHERS HYUNDAI CARAVAN TOUR
Wednesday, Oct. 1 – ‘Cats in the Classroom Spirit Day’ in all tri-county schools. The school with the most spirit will receive a $500 grant and a visit from Stanley C. Panther.
Thursday, Oct. 2 – General Manager Jacques Martin to speak at the Weston Rotary Club Breakfast at 7:30 a.m.
Thursday, Oct. 2 – Panthers broadcasters Denis Potvin and Bill Lindsay to read to children at Martin Luther King Elementary School for National Reading Day.