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Jay Bouwmeester Speaks (Again)

Jaybo3The gathered throng at Incredible Ice spoke to Jay Bouwmeester today about various things, from playing in the All-Star Game to his future in Florida.

As he has maintained all along, Jay says he hasn't looked that far ahead.

''I'm not going to make any rash decisions,'' he said.

For those not in the know, Jay has declined to sign a long-term deal with the team and instead agreed to a one-year contract during the offseason.

If Jay doesn't resign with the team, he can walk away as a free agent on July 1. There's a great debate on what the Panthers should do; obviously, the No. 1 thing is try to sign him. But if they can't, should the Panthers trade him, or risk it and try to keep on the team's best defenseman to try and make the playoffs for the first time since 2000?

Jaybo It's a tough deal. We spoke with Jacques Martin about this last night before the Buffalo game, and he said he hasn't spoken to Jay's agent since they met in December when the team was in Canada. The team has until March to decide what to do. People love asking me what's going to happen, and I can honestly say I have no idea.

Anyway, back to Jay.

We talked about his thoughts on the South Florida market as it's been rumored he doesn't like playing here. He wouldn't say that, obviously.

But he did refute his father's comments in New Times a few months back in which Dan Bouwmeester said "They shouldn't even be in the NHL. It's not a hockey town. Why is it even down there?"

Says Jay: ''Don't listen to anything my dad has to say.''

-- On playing in hockey mad markets like Montreal: ''It's fun to play in places like that where there's more attention. But it's a two-way street. There are pros and cons to everything.''

Jaybo2 -- On helping make South Florida a true hockey market: ''Look at any place in the south where hockey isn't a natural fit to be here. Any kind of sport down here, it seems people throw you by the wayside pretty quick. That's just the way it is when you play in a market where people didn't grow up with [hockey]. If you can get kids coming out and playing hockey and enjoying it, well, that's all good.''

-- Can hockey end up working here: ''People think teams are just going to up and move. There are a lot of teams in the same situation in places where there isn't winter and kids can't just go out [and play] like in Canada. It's not natural, I guess. You can't just go around moving 10 teams and think that everything is going to be all good. Every place has its problems. That's just the way it is. I think it can work. You have to grow the game with younger kids. Time will tell. I can't predict the future.''

-- On Pete DeBoer: ''Yeah, it's been good. Everyone is optimistic and things like that. He's a good coach and we kind of have a young team and he's a younger guy, enthusiastic. He doesn't do things over the top, rants and raves. He works with guys and lets you know if you have to do things different. He does things real professionally. That's all you can ask for.''


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It's pretty obvious that he won't stay. Playing in a bigger market for a guy like Jay, means not just the Hockey money, but endorsements, etc... In Canada he would be like a high end football or basketball player. a real superstar. And the money elsewhere will be the same or better. I say trade him sooner rather than later and get as much for him as you can.

So what if we make the playoffs? If we lose out he will still walk. So whats the point in keeping him? He's not staying, JM should know that and pull the trigger on a trade so we wont be left empty handed.

note that I'm not saying we will def lose out of the playoffs but winning it all seems unlikely and Bouw still can walk and not sign after the playoffs.

It's too risky.

I do think we can be dangerous in the playoffs though. If we get Boston in round 1 wow, we usually own them but we shall see if we make it.


Trade Bouw if we dont look like we will make playoffs or if we clinch playoff spot then trade him at last possible minute.Horton is really starting to mature now.Booth is the heart and soul of this team.

It's actually pretty simple. If he doesn't sign before the trade deadline, he gets traded.

I think we should keep bow but he really need to make up is mind really quickly becuz if u doesnt want to stay just say something and we can trade him i agree wit brian for CT dont come up empty handle JM. how bout this trade Bow 4 hossa of the redwrings straight up!

Its not that simple. Its not just "trade him if he doesn't sign". If this team is headed towards the playoffs, losing Bo is losing their best asset. They wouldnt trade him unless they had no other option. This organization is playoff hungry and would be willing to let Bouwmeester go if it meant playoffs. The worst possible scenario is that the Panthers lose out on both playoffs and Bouwmeester... but doesnt Bouwmeester have nearly 7mil committed to him in the future for this team anyways? Without him we clear up a ton of space in free agency.

That is the worst possible scenario.

Dont forget, if he does not want to sign in the off season, we can still trade his rights and take the 7mil of devoted cash and spend it elsewhere.

Best possible scenario of course would be for Bo to resign and the Cats to make the playoffs, and I believe thats what Bo really wants. Thats why he is afraid to sign long term, the guy has NEVER been on a playoff team in his life and doesn't want to be on a losing team for another 6 years. He wants to GO SOMEWHERE and I dont blame him... whether it be the playoffs or Montreal or whatever you all think.

Bouw doesn't want to be here, & hasn't for a while. He's a painfully quiet guy from W. Canada who drives a pickup. Not exactly a So Fla type of person. Get a quality center who can win faceoffs & score some goals along with draft picks & move on.

The Panthers have a bigger problem; they are bleeding money. An announced attendance of 12,400 for Monday's game with actual attendance probably around 9,000- 10,000. This is in the middle of the tourist season without any other professional sporting competition. So Fla is an "event" community with a weak economy. People come out to see the other team. It's not just here. Watch an Atlanta game & see all the people dressed up as empty seats. And we've read about the problems in TB & Pheonix.

The Panthers have already laid off people to reduce costs. They are already pushing season ticket renewals for next year. It seems pretty obvious that there are cash flow concerns.

Simple solution JC...put a proven product out and people will come regardless of economyAfter 8 years no one but us die hards are impressed that we are flirting with 8th. Theres no less ans out there this year then the last few when the economy was good. If we make the playoffs, watch the bandwagoners come out, plus 2 million a game in income.

The grass always looks greener on the others side. Bouwmeester could sign as a free agent with another team that this year looks good but ends up like Ottawa and Dallas struggling the next year. Panthers are a good young team with a good young coach. Bouwmeester's best chance for regular playoffs may be with the Panthers. Once their young guns start gaining experience the Panthers will be a team on the rise while others start to decline. It is only a matter of time until the balance shifts in the league. Panthers have some pretty good talent in place they just have to learn to win. Nobody can deny the Panthers have found a way to comeback and tie games, now they have to learn how to win the OT and shootouts. Pete DeBoer has made a difference, he just has to keep working at it. If Panthers keep Bouwmeester and they go a couple rounds in the playoffs, he may want to stay and if he leaves another UFA may find the young Panthers appealing. The key is get into the playoffs, the Capitals made the playoffs on the last day and they are a better team today because they did. Trading for the future is a waste, the future is now.

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