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Jay Bouwmeester Speaks: ''Mixed Feelings" ... NOW! With Randy Sexton and Jordan Leopold

Bo2 MONTREAL -- Haven't been able to get Jay Bouwmeester on the phone myself, so I did the next best thing: I listened in on his interview with Calgary's 960 The Team.

Bouwmeester, who is playing golf right now, says he has a lot of friends in teammates with the Panthers but sounded ready to leave South Florida.

''I have mixed feelings,'' he said. ''It's the only place I've ever played and I have a lot of good friends, good teammates there. Anytime you leave a place it's difficult. But at the same time, there's a lot of unrest in the organization, a lot of turnover.

''This has been an ongoing thing. Once things get sorted out, it'll settle down. People move on pretty quickly.''

Jay wouldn't commit himself to the Flames, but did say he and his agent would sit down with Calgary's management on Monday and get to work on getting something done.

Of course, this was Jay Bouwmeester at his best. Nothing committal, nothing too interesting. But a solid interview, as usual.

''I'm going to wait and see,'' he said. ''There's time to sort things out, I'm not in a rush. I haven't talked to anyone yet. We have to sit down and see what's up.''

-- UPDATE: Here's the raw copy for my Jay/Leopold wrapup story for tomorrow's Miami Herald...

For another view on the JayBo situation, check out Yahoo's Puck Daddy who has been following this story as long as I have and was down on the draft floor with myself, Steve X and Davy Gravy from the Panthers website to talk to Randy...

BY GEORGE RICHARDS grichards@MiamiHerald.com

MONTREAL – Jay Bouwmeester was going to be a former member of the Panthers soon enough, but on Saturday, the team moved him out of town a few days early.

Bouwmeester, a free agent July 1, was traded to the Calgary Flames on Saturday morning after acting general manager Randy Sexton shook hands with Darryl Sutter and agreed to a deal. Florida received a third round draft pick and the exclusive negotiating rights to defenseman Jordan Leopold in exchange for the negotiating rights to Bouwmeester.

Both Leopold and Bouwmeester can be free agents on July 1 and sign with any other team if they don't agree to a deal with their new teams. Florida selected Josh Birkholz with the third round pick it received from the Flames.

''We think this was a critical day for our organization,'' said Sexton. ''When it became apparent we couldn't sign Jay, we wanted to get something of value. We worked very hard over the past two weeks to work out a deal. Things were going well, then yesterday, everything just got blogged down. .-.-. We felt along that there would be no free looks. We wanted something of value because of the quality of player. We tried to get a second round for that look and no one bit.''

Bouwmeester has long been rumored to be wanting out of South Florida and his reluctance to sign a long-term deal with the Panthers over the past few years all but proving that point. Florida could have traded Bouwmeester at the trade deadline and received more, but then-general manager Jacques Martin decided what was being offered wasn't worth losing a top player during a playoff hunt. It's a decision that backfired in hindsight.

''It's always easy to look in the rear view mirror,'' Sexton said. ''We were a long way down the road at the trade deadline but didn't think we had the value that was required to trade Jay. What's more, we were right in the thick of the playoff race. Our coaches, our players, our fans, everyone wanted us to keep him. We felt it was important to make the playoffs.

''Again, we did what we thought was in the best interest of the franchise and unfortunately we lost on the second tie-breaker and we lose Bo. That's life.''

Bouwmeester, who is a native of Edmonton, told a Calgary radio station that he was ready to sit down with the Flames and talk about a new deal. But, talk is as much as Bouwmeester would commit to.

''I'm going to wait and see,'' he said. ''There's time to sort things out, I'm not in a rush. I haven't talked to anyone yet. We have to sit down and see what's up.''

The Panthers made Bouwmeester the third overall pick in the 2002 draft after trading down from the top spot knowing he would still be there. In the days leading up to the draft, it was apparent Florida was going to use the top overall pick on Bouwmeester. The 25-year-old played six seasons with the Panthers and has played in 346 straight games -- the longest current run in the league.

But Bouwmeester was obviously disenchanted with the direction of the franchise, and despite his resume (two All-Star Games and a spot on Canada's 2006 Olympic team), Bouwmeester has yet to play in an NHL playoff game. The Panthers have been outside of the Stanley Cup playoffs since 2000, the second-longest drought in NHL history.

Now, the team is for sale and doesn't have a permanent general manager. Coach Pete DeBoer will enter his second season.

''I have mixed feelings,'' he said. ''It's the only place I've ever played and I have a lot of good friends, good teammates there. Anytime you leave a place it's difficult. But at the same time, there's a lot of unrest in the organization, a lot of turnover. This has been an ongoing thing. Once things get sorted out, it'll settle down. People move on pretty quickly.''

The Panthers hope to lock down Leopold soon and hope they have an edge in doing so as the 28-year-old is friends and former teammates with Panthers defenseman Keith Ballard. On Saturday, Leopold said he and Ballard played golf together in Minnesota on Wednesday and joked about Leopold potentially coming south. The two played together at the University of Minnesota.

Leopold and Sexton say they haven't spoken, although Sexton said he traded text messages with Leopold's agent during Saturday's draft. The two planned to speak Saturday night in Montreal.

''I was sleeping when I got the news, so that's funny. It caught me off guard a little bit,'' Leopold said from Minnesota. ''Anything can happen. This is a business. We'll move forward. I'm just taking this in. I don't think I can make a fair assessment because I haven't talked to the team yet. They're working the draft, I understand that. I'm sure when things are over with, my agent will meet with their staff and discuss some options. I have open ears. This is a new opportunity for me.''

Comments

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He seems to have a hard time making a decision. He is never in hurry. Would be funny if he decided to sign with Panthers, I doubt it but it would be funny.

hey maybe he will decide to sign a cntract with the cats again

It wasn't a hard decision. He said all along he wants to win and at this point, there are too many questions facing the Panthers to feel comfortable for him to stay.

I have much respect for him and his game. This team wll miss him as will I.


Good article from Puck Daddy on Sexton talking about Jay and more.


http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_daddy/post/Florida-GM-talks-candidly-about-drama-behind-Bou?urn=nhl,173246

Sexton shows that he doesn't know what value is.

In 2007 the flyers traded their 1st round pick to Nashville for the rights to talk to UFA Hartnell and Timonen. So teams have traded better than a 3rd to talk to UFA.

Also, when does a GM decide whether to trade a player based on what the fans say.

The GM's job is for the long term growth of the organization, it has been clear for 2 years that Bouwmeester wasn't going to sign, it is not hindsight when people were saying all along to trade him.

Brian Burke shows why he is a great GM, someone says they don't want to be in his organization he gets rid of them,

We had a GM who didn't want to be a GM, a star defenseman that didn't want to stay here and you wonder why this organization is a mess

Hopefully Leopold signs otherwise it is just another lost asset under the Cohen ownership group

I'm glad the whole JayBo thing is over. He's a great player and I don't blame him for wanting to leave. But good riddance! Man, I'm glad it's finally over! At least we can move on from this debacle and maybe sign Leopold to fair contract. Trading for the rights of Leopold should be flattering to him and it appears that he is open to talking and possibly signing with us. If we sign Leopold, I think it was a good trade. Randy did his best with the leverage that he had.

I'm glad it's over too and I don't think you can compare it to the Flyers' situation where they knew they could and would sign both Timmo and Hartnell. That's the difference and Holmgren said it himself that with those 2 he knew the deals were done versus Jay who was non-committal.

Good work by Sexton. I like our first 2 picks, especially Kulikov. Everything points to the kid wanting to play in the NHL. I really give kudos to Randy for getting something out of Jay and it looks like Leo is open to signing here. I think we'll see both Booth and Leo signed before 7-1.

Martin always wanted the power of being the GM. He just realized he wasn't cut out for the job.

Why should Leopold be flattered that the worst franchise currently in the NHL when it comes to futility and poor management, traded for him? The atmosphere that has been bred here, not by the coaching but by the front office and ownership, makes the Panthers the NHL equivalent of a gulag in Siberia, or if you're lucky enough and have a ring or two on your finger, a retirement contract.

You've gotta' be kidding me. Sexton has done everything right so far. He went out and addressed the biggest weakness on the team (no center depth), got what most people are considering a steal in the draft, and managed to get something for Bouwmeester who was going to be gone regardless in a few days. This is NOT the same team that has been in futility in the early 2000's. This is a different team. People refuse to give any credit where it's due -- but I guess people have been trained to think the worst because of the past. There's not much this team could have done better lately though.

George , are we going to get a write up on your adventures in Montreal??

I was at the draft in Montreal and rate FLAs performance as one of the top 3 in terms of smart drafting, addressing team needs and, the value that Sexton got in return for Bo left the hockey fans in MTL buzzing as he extracted allot of value given Bo was 5 days away from walking without compensation.

If there are any doubters that think Sexton didn't negotiate a great deal for the Franchise...just ask the Ottawa Senators who lost Chara to Boston and got "0" back in return. I think Torrie would do well to get Sexton signed ASAP as our GM!

So Jaybo has "mixed feelings?" I've had mixed feelings too...like the time my mother-in-law drove off the cliff in my new car.

Time to move forward and ice some hockey players that WANT to be here.

oh yeah, and I hope Jay's dad hates where ever Jay winds up signing. What a schmuck.

Amen to that Heimy. Sing it.

Heimy, you've never been able to recognize talent. Shvidki anyone? How about an organization that makes the players WANT to be here first, not just expecting them to desire to lose year, after year, after year.

it is too early to say whether Sexton did well in this draft or not, get back in a few years.

As far as Bouwmeester is concerned he should of been traded when he gave them a list of teams and his value was higher, this is an organization in need of assets and not losing assets for less then full value which has been happening too long.

Sexton was here and involved (how much we don't know), but he has known that the odds were great that Bouwmeester was leaving, look at all the teams that have past us with their talent level since the Martin/Sexton took over.

Did he do the best he could at this time, probably. As far as depth at center that is another thing we will see, yes it gives us bodies but how good, we need more David Booth type players and less Nate Horton type players.

We are paying for the mistakes made in the drafts, just look at the history of this franchise and the draft. So I am going to wait and see what these players do in their careers, and see if this team does improve, and see if the organization is committed to contending for the Stanley Cup, they haven't been since Cohen has owned the team. I would rather see a David Nonis get the job but it looks like that is not going to happen.

Heimy is right. We've got guys like Ballard, Weiss, Olesz, Horton, etc., by their deals have told the franchise they are committed to turning things around. We've got good prospect depth and that's going to determine where we go. Unfortunately, we're not luring the impact FA around here but judging by last season we're close through letting our players develop and lead the team.

I remember last summer Jay's dad saying he knew what was going to happen, guess this has been a long time in the making. I really hope someone eggs Jay's truck on the way out of town!

I still don't understand how the Jay Bo fiasco is Sexton's fault. He wasn't the main guy. When he wasn't traded last summer, it's on JM. I actually like most things JM did in his time here, but this one is clearly on him. You can't expect Sexton to go over Martin's head and make a move himself. Once Sexton was given the authority, albeit it too late, he did the best possible job of getting something for him.

George, saw you on the floor on Saturday in your #19 hat! I also saw you listening in on the interview from Calgary's radio station.

I think Sexton did a great job.

Where was Bill Torrey on Saturday? Didn't see him at the table at all.

There are some good spots in Montreal for really good poutine. It's all in the ingredients, good fries, gravy and decent cheese will make a great poutine. Methinks you didn't go to the right place!!

"In 2007 the flyers traded their 1st round pick to Nashville for the rights to talk to UFA Hartnell and Timonen. So teams have traded better than a 3rd to talk to UFA."

How can you compare the two situations? Bouwmeester's agent told teams that they would not negotiate with teams even if they traded for him. I am surpised a GM would trade a 7TH round pick after his agent said that. Good for Sexton for getting as much as he did after Bouwmeester and his agent took almost all value off of his rights. Hartnell and Timonen were glad to talk and sign.

Bo- you are very correct! JayBo didn't want to be here anymore and was very intent on becoming a UFA, which was his right. In addition, his agent, Bryan Baltimore really left us in a pickle because of his client's reluctance to negotiate with any team prior to him becoming a UFA, which was also his right. I don't totally understand it or agree with it, but it is what it is.

Randy was left holding the ball and he did the best job he possibly could, considering the lack of leverage he had while negotiating with the other GM's. Look, if Leopold actually does sign with us, I think this will turn out to be a very good trade for us and Randy's resume; even more so if JayBo flakes out on Calgary. The next test will be the contract of Booth, and to a lesser extent, Eminger.

George- any updates on Leopold, Booth, and Eminger?

I can't begrudge the move by Sexton in getting what he got for Bouw, considering the hand he was dealt. What I CAN begrudge him for would be not getting Leopold signed(without overpaying), not attempting to get Dvorak back into the fold, and not making a serious bid for AT LEAST a top line forward to take the pressure off the 2nd and 3rd lines. Jay is gone...turn the page...Louie is gone...turn the page....Olli is gone...turn the page. Unless they bring in a top line C or winger, the countdown will begin on the inevitable trades of Voukoun and/or Horton, IMO.

We could trade Vokoun and be just fine and we could have signed Luongo before he left. He was someone who actually wanted to stay in South Florida!

GR,

Any ideas on who will be qualified from our RFAs and who you believe the Panthers will retain/should retain out of our FAs?

It's awfully quiet today!

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