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Bill Torrey Speaks: Say Goodbye to Jay Bouwmeester

Torrey2 Bill Torrey, who is leading the search for the Panthers new general manager, spoke to the Florida beat writers today on a conference call to update us on the search.

So far, Mr. Torrey has interviewed a few people saying he spent a few days in Toronto. He'll be meeting with more people next week in T.O. and Montreal as well.

He also alluded to the trade of Jay Bouwmeester's exclusive rights, saying he expects to be on the phone all weekend. He added that assistant GM Randy Sexton is working the phones as well.

"We're at the point where decisions have to be made and we have to move ahead,'' Torrey said. ''We're working on the process.''

He won't rush this process, he says, because he would rather be long than be wrong.Torrey adds that he has about 60 legitimate applicants for the gig.

"It's been a very interesting process,'' he said. "I thought there would be quite a bit of interest in the job, have over 60 inquiries one way or another.

''I've gotten far enough along, starting to do face to face interviews. I want to get to the point where the serious candidates are personally interviewed, perhaps more than once. There are very few who I don't know something about previously.''

On not naming names:

"It will encumber the process, slow it a bit and create some situations I don't really need. I have been given permission by teams to talk to people, but they don't what those names out there. I promised I wouldn't. So what's good for some is good for all.

"I've spoken to Alan and the ownership here, they understand the circumstances. We have this issue [draft, free agency], that they've asked me to participate in. It's a very busy week. I won't complete the process before the draft. I will meet people up north next week. We're moving along well. Interest is very encouraging.

''I would like be able to announce it tomorrow in a certain sense, but this is too important a hiring. This franchise will benefit from stability. I hope the man I pick will be here a long time and bring this franchise a lot of success.

"I want this hire to be as permanent as it can be in this business. We have stability behind the bench, with our scouting staff. I've been impressed with how they've dug in and prepared for the draft. We're moving ahead in all areas.

"We have a few decision that have to be made before the first of July. The process is going to go forth. Most important thing is finding the right person. We have some good people in place, and that's different. I've made that clear to the candidates. Pete DeBoer is going to be our coach and so on down the line. I haven't heard a single negative about that by anyone. Everyone was really impressed with the job Peter did. People in hockey have known him for years. He's a real benefit.

''It's my responsibility to identify the best candidate. I've been in touch with present ownership as well as prospective ownership. They are aware of what we're doing and where we're at. They seem very comfortable with it.''

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This is going to be a very interesting 8 days for the Panthers. Jay will be gone by the draft, TiVo might be gone too, Andy's contract, Booth's contract, etc. Whew! No summer break for you, George. Keep up the good work though, we appreciate it.

I don't think the Panthers are stupid enough to get rid of Vokoun.

Homer hints Bouwmeester is top priority
Copyright 2009 The Mercury
By Anthony SanFilippo, Journal Register News Service

Bouwmeester is priority No. 1.

When he elaborated, there was this gem:

"I don't think Florida can sign him. And, I don't think he wants to go back there … I shouldn't be saying this, but I believe they can't sign him."

Holmgren talked about the dangers of trying to trade for the exclusive rights to negotiate a new contract with a player, saying it's risky to part with assets when you don't know if you can get a deal done. But Homer was the same maverick willing to roll the dice in a similar deal with Nashville two summers ago, and he had no problem signing both Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell during their short window of opportunity.

But the biggest tip-off was an innocuous question about who was making decisions in Florida, since former G.M. Jacques Martin left the team to take a the head-coaching job in Montreal.

The questioner asked if alternate governor Bill Torrey — the architect of the New York Islanders' dynasty of the early 1980s — was making personnel decisions.

"No, I've been talking to (assistant general manager) Randy Sexton," Holmgren said.

Well, there you go.

Holmgren admits to having discussions with Florida … posits that Bouwmeester won't be back with the Panthers … and estimates a trade will come down at the draft next week.

He won't come cheaply. It will require a player (Joffrey Lupul?), a prospect (James vanRiemsdyk?), a first-round pick or a combination thereof to get Bouwmeester.


http://www.pottsmerc.com/articles/2009/06/18/sports/srv0000005620533.txt

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