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LIVE! Shut 'er Down: Panther Packup ... Pete DeBoer: Play-in, Please ... Jay Bouwmeester: Gone for Good? ... Nick Boynton: I'm Out ... Craig Anderson: I'd Come Back, but...

Finalroom The Panthers are saying their goodbyes to the Billboard today, coming in for their final meetings with JM and coach Pete DeBoer.

It's an all-day affair, and so far, nothing all that newsworthy has transpired.

-- Spoke to Bryan McCabe about how things went down, and he expressed his disappointment in the team not making the playoffs.

When asked if he thought hockey should follow the baseball model and have a tiebreaking game to determined the eighth team, he said no. ''We had plenty of chances,'' he said.

Pete DeBoer, however, said there should be a play-in game.

''I like the playoff, and I came from a league where you had the one-game playoff as a rule,'' said DeBoer, who came to the Panthers after a decade-plus of coaching the Canadian junior leagues.

''It's appropriate after you play 82 games that if you are tied and have identical records, you should play once to decide the last spot. Use the mathematical formulas to decide who hosts. For me, that's a lot easier to swallow in your exit meetings than losing on a statistic.''

McCabe did say he enjoyed his first season with the Panthers, adding that ''living in the fishbowl'' of Toronto took its toll. ''Here, you can leave hockey at the rink,''Boothpuck McCabe said. ''Then you can go home and enjoy your family.''

-- Jay Bouwmeester says he has not made up his mind on where he will play next year and says he's going to clear his head over the next few weeks.

He added that he has heard the talk that there is no way he is back next year and made sure we all knew he never said that.

''I've never said that,'' he said. ''I've heard all that too. I guess until something is done, it's always a possibility. You have to take some time to step away and evaluate before you do anything.''

While Jay left the door open for his return, Nick Boynton pretty much assumes he will not return to the organization.

''This was a disappointing season for myself and for the team,'' Boynton said.

Do you expect to be back next year?

''No. I mean, I don't imagine it. I would know if they were interested. I don't think they are. That's something that will happen. I liked playing here, it was enjoyable. But we didn't make the playoffs and that's unfortunate. Everyone needs to do what they think is right.''

-- Craig Anderson said he enjoys the Panthers and would like to come back here. But, he wants to be a starter somewhere, saying he owes it to himself to pursue that. Now, if Florida needed a starting goalie...

-- DeBoer on the season ending: ''The season is such a grind, so many peaks and valleys. I likened it to my wife the other day as running 100 miles per hour then hitting a brick wall and stopping dead. You don't know what to do. You just wander around aimlessly. It's disappointing, no other word for it.''

TOMAS VOKOUN

How meeting went

It's always tough and disappointing when you don't achieve the goal you have. It was definitely the most disappointing years I played. We did some good things, but ultimately it wasn't good enough. Me, personally, and the team. I'm not saying it was a bad season, but it wasn't good enough. If we want to go forward we have to improve. It's everyone, not just one guy. We all need to be better. We talked about how the year went and I know I have to be better at the start. It's been a few years now since I've been here with the slow starts. It's something I'm going to address and try and be better.

You're the GM; what needs fixing?

It all depends on what happens with Bo. Every team has their strengths and their holes. If we lose Bo, we're going to need an adequate replacement. I think we have a good group of guys. I had as much fun this year as I did in any year in hockey. That's a good start. We're a pretty tight group. We have a lot of young guys in this room who are going to be good for years. If Bo goes, that's a big part of this team.

Bother you that Bo hasn't said he wants to stay?

It doesn't bother me. It's his choice. Every single day and every game he played as hard as he could. That's all you can ask. You don't get many choices, to make your own choices, to make decisions for yourself. You have to take advantage of it. That's what he wants to to and it's hard to blame him for it. I thought he was our best player all year, and that's all you can ask. He got paid to play here and he did his job well.

The ups and downs of this year

It was the most up and down season I've had in a long time. Sometimes you have to deal with different stuff. Andy had a great season and every start he got, he deserved. He helped this team a lot in tough times. He won big games. It's a team sport and we're all connected. We won and lost as a team. We had a lot of contributions from a lot of guys. Sometimes you play, sometimes you don't You like it or you don't. But the only thing that's important is you're winning. That's professional sports.

Would you waive your no-trade if Florida asked?

You don't want to be somewhere where you're not wanted nor the other way around. I haven't crossed that thought yet. I would have to know what the situation is, and what's going on. If they want to go in another direction, I need to know where that would be. Those are things you don't control. I'm here to do my job unless something else happens or I'm told something else. I'm going to prepare and do the best job I can next year.

JAY BOUWMEESTER

Disappointment with the end

It's tough the way it worked out, we were that close and don't get in makes it tough. That's the way it goes I guess.

Assess your season

I'm happy, the personal things were all right. It's one of those things where you try to play well every night. You're going to have ups and downs throughout the year, but I can go home and think I worked hard. I don't have a lot of regrets.

Hard to leave the building with so much uncertainty?

I think you have to step back and take some time and really take some time away to clear your head. There's obviously decisions to be made, but right now is not the time.

Your plans for the upcoming weeks?

I'll be here for a couple of weeks, maybe a couple of weeks then head home. Just going to take 'er easy.

The likelihood you do come back?

I don't know. It's been, down the stretch here, a lot on your mind and to be quite honest, it's something I need to sit down and do some serious thinking. For me to say right now, I'm not really sure.

How did the end of the season affect your decision?

I don't know. It's tough we didn't make it, but we did show some strides. We're definitely going in the right direction and you have to process that.

Any chance you come back? Everyone says there's no way...

I've never said that. I've heard all that too. I guess until something is done, it's always a possibility. You have to take some time to step away and evaluate before you do anything.

Comments

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I won't hold my break on Jay coming back. I hope he does, but we would have to offer him something good.

It's in Jay's best interest to feel out the offers other teams will make for him. I'd imagine he has a short list of teams he'd like to go to. We may even be on that list...who knows? (I'm obviously saying this with fingers crossed)

In any event, he was a workhorse for the Panthers his entire career here. I appreciate everything he did for this team and wish him the best regardless of what his decision is this summer.

I admired Jay for his game play and his skills right up until the trade deadline. After that date he was a BUM. If he goes anywhere else in this league and performs the way he did post trade day the media will eviscerate him. Good luck Jaybum!

Definatly going to be an interseting offseason. Jay Bo (maybe) leaving, Anderson up in the air. Dvorak, Pelts, Zednik, Cullimore...

Who goes? Who comes in? There's no question Florida needs scoring, and should have some money available to go after some guys. Just a question of getting it done. We were close this year...

Please stay, Jay! This team is nothing without you!

I have to say, I love Vokoun, but I am REALLY intrigued with the idea of him waiving his clause and having Andy full time. This would free up a lot of cap $, no?? With him and J-bo gone, we could invest in a center/wingers. I agree its going to be an interesting off season.

Most important move is bringing in a scoring forward, a center if possible but this team needs scoring. If the forwards could have scored more than one goal many of the games, they would be in the playoffs instead of Montreal. Forget goaltending and defense Panthers need a big time scorer.

seeing Cohen and JM the GM comments I am not holding my breath expecting this team to sign anyone up front that can put the puck in the net.

Cohen says he likes that the team works hard every night

I would hope so as we have a bunch of 3rd and 4th line grinders

JM the GM says he expects some of our young players to pick up the scoring (saying that for 3 years) he admits we need a center but did not appear to indicate that we would get a scorer.

Again Horton not asked to play for Canada should tell us something.

Eric look at andersons shootout record and you'll see why although we all love him he's not ready for primetime. You don't trade away a top 5 goalie unless you want to wait another decade to see as playoff game... Rediculous ..

Any Vokoun did amazing in shootouts right? Those soft goals? Letting in goals in the last minuets of the 3rd period. Blowing leads?

season ticket holder since day one - Horton not asked to play for Canada should tell us something

I can tell you why Horton wasn't asked to play for Canada. A few years ago they asked him and he turned them down for the same reason Booth is considering turning down the American team. He was a RFA without a contract and was concerned he could get injured and affect his contract status. They told him they would never ask him again for turning them down. I am Canadian and I think they are wrong, asking a player without a contract to risk his livelihood is one thing but holding that against him is wrong. The guy they should have asked was Gregg Campbell who is great at killing penalties. You don't win games unless you can shut down the other team's PP.

Hey Bo--

I think the point there was not about contracts, but the fact that Horton is the perfect guy for Team Canada to use to set an example...Sure he may have the talent to be on the team, but he's lazy, and not a team player...So maybe they were miffed that he dissed them, but they also don't want to have to try to cater to a guy that doesn't really care...

And that is how he will always be. Too bad this team doesn't realize it, or is just too stubborn to admit it. Bottom-line is that he has talent, but it's wasted talent unless he plays with a playmaking center like Crosby, Savard, Backstrom, etc...This way he can just hang out in the slot, take his wrist shot, and take most of the credit...He doesn't drive to the net like Booth, Parise, Datsyuk, etc... He tries to once in a while, but then turns it over because he's too lazy to chip it by them and go and get it...He wants everyone else to do his dirty work....

What a smart organization would've done is to realize that he would always be like this, and trade him while he STILL had some serious value. Before you could've gotten a package for him. Now you be lucky to get a second-line forward--anything else would be a BONUS...But just like the J-BO situation, this team failed to think ahead. So we are stuck with middle of the road talent, not many TRUE prospects, and not many signs that they are actually moving ahead. It's hard to expect guys that have put up career bests to do that year in and year out. You have to plan AHEAD, and that's why we were ranked #30 out of 30 last year...

So as much as I'd like to see the team succeed, it's hard for me to be a believer until they fess up and admit many of their mistakes (Drafting, Management, etc)...

Calling Vokoun a top 5 goalie is a joke.He let in soft goals in 5 games down the stretch.He is a top 12 goalie and very weak on shootouts.He is constantly out of position with his flopping and failed to seal the post off in 2 critical losses.He is not the ONLY reason were out of playoffs but if I had to pick one player who choked the most during stretch it would be Vokoun.We are on a Wal Mart budget so dont expect much out of free agency.Same old same old next year.Except for overplaying Vokoun DeBoer did an admirable job.

It has been said too that the team seems to play harder in front of Andy. I agree T-vo is more of a top 12-15 goalie. I would no longer consider him a top 5. He is a bit streaky...and just think, we are all stoked over the win against Washington the other day, but it was our SCORING that got us that win--Voky still gave up 4. Had Booth not stepped up and D-vo FINALLY getting a goal on a breakaway, and Tarnasky getting the open netter (which we also tend to have problems with), this could have been a 4-1 loss and we'd be callng for T-Vo's head!

Hey George,

Thanks for the coverage this season. Hope you can keep us updated with any goings on during the summer.

Do you know if Keith Ballard was extended an invitation/accepted/declined for Team USA? All I've heard so far is on Anderson and Booth.

Thanks!

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