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Panthers Players, Coaches: We're Not Giving Up ... Management? 'No Small Change Will Fix'

Mayflower The Panthers canceled practice Friday morning, all the more fueling speculation that major moves were on the way.

Earlier in the day, team president Michael Yormark held an arena-wide meeting and basically told them there would be plenty of changes to the roster and for them to remain positive as the team is rebuilt.

On the business side of things, Yormark & Co. are trying to get people to renew their season tickets. A five game losing streak in the middle of a playoff push does not help those objectives.

In a letter sent to fans and sponsors, owners Stu Siegel and Cliff Viner say "significant" moves are going to be made and these changes "won't be easy.'' The full letter is below.

So, who goes? Nathan Horton is still on crutches and Randy Sexton said last night that he couldn't make a trade as big as "getting Nathan Horton back.'' Stephen Weiss? Tomas Vokoun?

Vokoun has a no trade provision in his contract. He said this morning in along interview that he loves living in Florida and that he hasn't been approached. Would he waive his no trade?

"It's nothing I've thought about. Right now I am playing here, I like living here. I like the dressing room, we have a good bunch of guys. I would deal with the situation if it came up. I think in the present and honestly I haven't given it a thought.

"It depends what the situation would be. It's hypothetical and may never happen.

"My 2 1/2 years here, I've never had a conversation about [waiving no trade].''

-- Coach Pete DeBoer says he's not thinking that the playoff dreams are over.

"I don't feel that way. I don't work on those levels. I coach this team and our message to the group this morning was i thought we took a step in the right direction last night. I think if we can keep doing that, we're going to start winning games again. There's still a lot of hockey to be played. Within our room and our group, we're concentrating on getting a win before the break.

"Hopefully we're the hottest team in the league down the stretch.''

"We're six, eight points out. We just have to put our heads down and start winning games. Let the cards fall where they may. For me, it's fixing our game first and the wins will come. We took a step last night against a very good team.''

-- Center Jeff Taffe on way up from Rochester to fill in for Dominic Moore. Rostislav Olesz is out.

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We're all over the place and I have the Smartphone on. Let's see what happens today, shall we?

-- The Panthers posted this letter on their website aimed toward fans and sponsors. At the bottom, it is signed by Siegel and Viner.

Dear Fans,

Based on our commitment to accessibility, we would like to take this opportunity to give you some insight into our hockey club’s strategy moving forward. After consulting with General Manager Randy Sexton and Head Coach Pete DeBoer, it is clear that our team, the way it is currently structured, is not equipped to meet the goals and objectives that we have set for ourselves, our fans and our partners.

Those goals are simple: qualify for the postseason on an annual basis, maintain a level of sustainable success, put a product on the ice that we can all be proud of, and compete for a Stanley Cup sometime in the near future. Our discussions with our hockey operations department about the composition and the strength and weaknesses of this Florida Panthers team have been extensive and ongoing, and based on those discussions and the inability to meet our goals, it is obvious that significant change is required.

Thus, GM Randy Sexton has begun the process of reshaping this team in order to achieve our goals and objectives. This is a multi-step process, beginning now, ahead of the trading deadline, and continuing through the draft, free agency and training camp – so we ask that you assess our success only once this process has run its course.

Unfortunately, these changes will not always be easy for our fans and supporters to accept or understand. These changes also may not be easy for our coaches, players and staff. But they are necessary. No small changes or quick fixes will do. But please note that these changes are part of an overall plan to make the best use of our current assets and set this franchise up to achieve the success we want as quickly as possible, and to maintain it.

Clearly, we are not satisfied with some of the players on this team that do not possess the characteristics we need to be successful. We must be accountable for that. Our task moving forward is to acquire players with the attributes, skills and qualities we want in a Panthers player. We must admit the significant shortcomings we have as an organization, and we must move quickly and efficiently to overcome these shortcomings and reshape this franchise on a much more solid foundation.

As passionate fans and supporters of the Florida Panthers, this is what you deserve, and nothing else will do. Thank you for the emotion, the dedication and the loyalty that you have shown to your Panthers and please know, that as Managing Partners of this franchise, we are working hard to provide you with a hockey team you can be proud to call your own.

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