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The Last Dance: Washington Capitals @ Florida Panthers ... Peltonen/Dvorak Back? ... Booth MVP ... Vokoun IN

Finalesign The Panthers had their last morning skate of the season earlier today, with coach Pete DeBoer saying it's tough going through the motions 'when you don't have a horse in the race.'

With a win tonight and losses by the Rangers and Canadiens, Florida would end up tied for seventh in the East yet still stay home.

'That's tough,' Radek Dvorak said.

-- Stephen Weiss will not play for Team Canada at the Worlds because he needs wrist surgery after the season.
Ville Peltonen and Dvorak, free agents both, say they want to come back next season.

Word was Peltonen was thinking about going back to play in Europe next season, but he said today he wants to play in the NHL and he wants to do so with the Panthers.

Dvorak says the Panthers are real close and he wants to be part of the playoffs with the Panthers next season.

I think the Panthers want them back. We'll see.

-- Michael Frolik leaves to join the Czech national team on Tuesday.

-- Have to assume David Booth, Keith Ballard and Craig Anderson will be invited to play for Team USA at the Worlds. Would also think all three would accept unless there is some injury concerns.

-- The team's 2008-09 awards which will be handed out before the game:

MVP -- Booth
Defenseman -- Jay Bouwmeester
Three Star -- Tomas Vokoun.

-- Vokoun in net tonight.


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I thought we sign olesz for like 6 years? well Im probably thinkin of weiss and horton. Release them both. Pelts, Zednik, cully, Dvorak, Olesz, mclean must go. Bring the kids up. We went on a great winning streak when the kids were brought up. Bring repik up 2 games 2 goal are you kiddin me. Matthias ,Ellerby. And for god sakes GET SOME SCORING!!!!! and not someone that had 1 good season 5 yrs ago and we all cross our finger that he gets there again. I mean a natural clutch player.

Olesz isn't a FA...

I think he meant Dvorak, not Olesz, as the FA who wants to return. In any case, I don't know if the Panthers want them back... both are aging. Good character guys, not exactly goal scorers. Dvorak had a few good ones, but overall, I think we have plenty, if not too many, 3rd line hard working grinders.

Of course Dvorak and Peltonen want to stay... It's not like all these other NHL teams are dying to add them to their roster...Actually, I'm not drilling on those 2 because I have respect for how they played this year. CPR brought whatever life this team had, at a time when it looked like a cellar dwellar for sure...I just thought GR's comment was funny, as we should feel so blessed that they would honor us and stay on for another year. Yes, that's part of the problem. It's tough to get quality free agents to come here, and since we can't draft, we're stuck with scraps that most other teams don't want...

I think Dvorak is slightly more useful than Pelts, mainly because of his PK. I don't have a major problem if they came back for another year, but I wouldn't lose sleep if either of them went elsewhere either...basically what it boils down to is our talent level is MEDIOCRE at best...I really hope we can get past some of this sentimental stuff because that's what it will take to improve the roster as a whole. Guys like Zednik, Pelts, Horton, etc...These guys hurt you if they aren't scoring regularly, and guess what--they're not!!

They don't offer much to the team because they don't muck, grind, or win battles to keep the play alive. Bad turnovers kill your puck possession. Horton wants to toe-drag all the time instead of chipping it in and battling for it with his other linemates...Sure you're not going to win them all and it's a lot more physically demanding, but that's what makes you a better player. And when #16 is supposed to be one of our brightest leaders and go-to guy, that's the problem with this team--NO LEADERSHIP to hold others accountable...Horton probably has about as much talent as Zach Parise, but will never be half the player Parise is because he has no work ethic, no drive, and no willingness to battle....

On the brighter side, I do think Olesz will improve. His contract was made for the long-term, so it's not that he's getting $3 mill + every year. The average should go down over the length of the contract. I'm not a huge fan of his, but I do believe he's capable of 15-20 goals, plus some decent PK...very similar to Dvorak. Problem being is that you can't have too many of these guys, and that's all we seem to be able to find...Then as they lose their confidence(if they ever find it...), they over-pass instead of getting it on net...That's why we have to change our DRAFTING style. They need to take guys like Milan Lucic, Cogliano, Brassard, etc...That way even if they don't turn into 20 goal scorers, they still add other elements to the game--they hit, they muck, they grind, they scrap, and fight--anything to make their team better!!!

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