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Panthers Looking for Change ... Randy Sexton: "I Fully Expect to be Back" ... Clemmensen, Vokoun to Worlds ... Back to Rochester

JerseybacksThe Panthers gave their jerseys away Sunday evening for a price. Monday they packed up everything else and headed out on the town for their annual players party.

The team usually holds its season ending locker clean out at their arena in Sunrise, but with a new training facility, the team held its final day of meetings in Coral Springs on Monday.

Even though the venue had changed, the disappointing feeling was very familiar.

“Where do you start? This is not the day we want to be dealing with. It's like a bad dream that keeps reoccurring,'' said defenseman Bryan Allen. “It's definitely too familiar.''

Coach Pete DeBoer and general manager Randy Sexton each held individual meetings with players throughout the day.

DeBoer said he was surprised by the honesty and accountability from players when he asked “what was your role in why we're sitting here today out of the playoffs?''

Sexton said “most players were sincere, but a couple guys were telling me what I wanted to hear and not what reality was.''

Randysexton Regardless, both DeBoer and Sexton agree that changes need to be made. The Panthers have now missed the playoffs for an NHL record tying nine straight seasons and record-setting 10 straight years. The team finished ranked 28th in the 30 team league, ended last in its division for the first time in franchise history and its 77 points were fewest since the lockout.

“We all had bigger dreams, that's for sure,'' said captain Bryan McCabe. “That's the way it goes. We have to work hard this summer, come back with a new attitude and get off to a better start. Our consistency wasn't there at all. We didn't play great for a month. We don't deserve to be in the playoffs and have no one to blame but ourselves. We have to try and turn this ship around.''

Deboer2 Said DeBoer: “Everyone is disappointed and no one is shirking responsibility or hiding or pointing fingers. I think the collective message is we can all do more so we're not in this spot again.''

In February, team management announced that major changes were coming to the roster. Sexton, working on a one year deal, may or may not be back as the team's ownership say there will be future discussions on Sexton's future. On Monday, Sexton said he was moving forward and expects to help mold the Panthers future.

He says he and DeBoer will meet soon to talk about Florida's coaching staff – DeBoer is under contract for next season but his assistants have expiring contracts – as well as to talk about players they want back.

“There has been no change in my status,'' said Sexton. “I expect to be back, there have been no signals otherwise. I fully expect to be back.''

Goaltender Tomas Vokoun is one player who is expected to be shopped during the offseason. Vokoun has one year left on his contract with a cap hit of $5.7 million and could bring back some serious assets. Vokoun has a no movement clause, but reiterated Monday that he would be willing to talk about waiving it. Vokoun made similar comments at the trade deadline.

Other core players -- like Stephen Weiss, Nathan Horton and McCabe -- could also be shopped during the offseason as the Panthers try to get "bigger, faster and stronger" as Sexton said.

“It's a hard situation and it's all hypothetical now. We'll see,'' said Vokoun, who missed Florida's final three games with a back strain. “It's a little in their hands, a little in mind. We'll see where we go, what the changes will be. Right now, no one knows much. They have a vision, but you can only do so much. Just because you want to trade someone or bring someone in, it doesn't mean that's easy to do.''

NEWS, NOTES

Goalies Scott Clemmensen (United States) and Tomas Vokoun (Czech Republic) will be playing in the IIHF World Championships next month in Germany. For Vokoun, international play is old hat; he led Czech to a Bronze medal in the 2006 Olympics and was their starter at the Vancouver games.

Clemmensen says he's looking forward to what will be a new experience.

Clemm “This is coming late in career, but it's a good opportunity to get some international experience and keep playing hockey,'' he said. “It's something new for me.''

Said Vokoun: “It's painful for me not to play in the playoffs these three years. I have the opportunity to play and I'm going to take advantage.''

Defenseman Dmitry Kulikov will play for Russia in the tournament and coach Pete DeBoer will be an assistant for Canada. Stephen Weiss says he hasn't been contacted by Canada yet, and Michael Frolik won't play for Czech because he needs nasal surgery.

-- A large number of players boarded a mini bus Monday afternoon headed for the airport. Destination: The postseason.

Roch Steve MacIntyre, Keaton Ellerby, Shawn Matthias, Tyler Plante, Evgeny Dadonov, Victor Oreskovich and Jason Garrison all flew to Rochester, N.Y., on Monday to rejoin their AHL teammates.

Rochester opens its best-of-seven series Thursday against the Abbottsford "Miami" Heat. The Heaters are the AHL affiliate of the Calgary Flames. 

-- Sexton will represent the Panthers at Tuesday's draft lottery in Toronto. The Panthers are ranked third with a chance to jump up to the top pick – Florida has won the lottery twice in its history. The lottery will be shown live on Versus at 8 p.m.


Comments

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Steve Yzerman for GM!!!

The owners have no accountability if Sexton stays.

these owners have NO clue. They are like a deer in the headlights. A total joke. Nobody would buy this team from Cohen, so these part owners ended up with it

unmitigated disaster g

action not words.

we have to work harder is the comment, please, we have been hearing the same lame excuses for 10 years. This group has not won 3 in a row for over 2 years.

What is there to think about, we have only developed one player in 10 years (Booth) to be at or above their ability.

The GM has been here since 2007 and still hasn't brought in a forward that is above a 4th line player.

He has turned over the defense two times with noone that get stop the other teams best player.

He let Craig Anderson leave instead of having the foresight to realize that Vokoun would have one year on his contract and would need to be moved.

There is no plan, there hasn't been a plan for 10 years.

You talk to the people in Rochester and they credit Ted Nolan with their success and say that his success has happened in spite of Sexton and the panthers.

End the nonsense, don't wait, hire a hockey guy to run the organization and let him clean house in the front office and make the player decisions.

We don't need to give Sexton a chance to draft another Alexandre Daige,

You can't turn around a team in one year at the helm. I realize Sexton was here while JM was GM, but JM was making the final calls. Sexton was doing the leg work on what JM asked of him.

Now I'm not saying there aren't "more qualified" guys out there, but one thing I'll give credit to Sexton is that he doesn't like to sit still. I seem to trust him when he says things need to change. I also understand that you can't force teams to trade you a superstar forward, so it's a two way street.

A GM's work is done in the off season and at the trade deadline. And I think Sexton's body of work SO FAR has earned him the right to see this thing through for a couple more years.

And just a question for people out there...if not Sexton, then who?? (Not named Yzerman). Maybe Sutter if he gets canned? McLean? I'm just throwing names, but I'd be interested to hear some realistic names.

Doug Risebrough, but he could be headed to Tampa. Jim Nill from Detroit, but why would he leave as assitant GM there.

You could try Dale Tallon in Chicago. Other than his gaffe with the contracts, he's the one that built that roster. Not too shabby

I wouldn't mind if Sexton were fired, but I wouldn't want Dougie to replace him. Look at McLean's record with the BlueJackets. Yikes.

anyone shocked???

Cliff and Stu: Where is YOUR accountability??

Have you heard of the Avanlanche, Montreal, Phoenix? It took less than a year for them to make the playoffs. Sexton time in Florida ran out long before the trade deadline.


Why has Florida failed for nine + years?

They build around core players who do not lead. The team lacks character and talent. They start the year off (every year) slow and don't get enough points. They have an extended losing streak and end up in the bottom. The team can not win with a lead, and fail in the third period. A lack of leadership from the players and coaching staff. The teammates don't stick up for each other, Booth getting hit in Philly and Ballard beating up his own goalie. Did I mention all the trades that the Panthers have missed out on? We can go on and on. Bottom line is this organization needs to be rebuilt from the top. Spend the money on a star power GM and Coach, worry about the players next. I would rather see this team have a small budget of 40M for the next year than see it at 55M full of journeyman and guys collecting paychecks.


Sexton, Yormack, Co. all need to go. turn in your resignations! We want a real hockey team in Florida.


Oh yeah, I read this off the Panther website from Sexton's interview below. We need more defense? Really? What about the offense that went about two weeks without more than a goal a game?

Sexton— “On the assumption we’re healthy, I’m pretty happy with our top five forwards. But we need to get bigger, faster, more physical on the bottom end. And we need more depth on defense.”


I agree with MNguy that you can't fault Sexton for JM's decisions... He's done some good and bad things so far... Much of the early part of the season was wasted because they had to wait for the ownership thing to be resolved... So nobody wanted to tinker with the line-up for fear that new ownership would be turned away.. That being said, if I were one of the new owners, I would encourage maximimum rebuilding by whichever GM is at the helm... Also, I would be more apt to push for a change if I truly believed we could get a Yzerman, Messier, Burke, or John Davidson... But just like people think it's so easy to recruit high-scoring free agents here, those GMs and guys with established hockey clout probably don't want to come here to fix this mess... There are better options out there for those guys... So of all the other names that have been mentioned, nobody knocks your socks off... I would've like to seen an offer placed to Pierre McGuire, as he has quality hockey ties, but probably also doesn't want to settle to come here to rebuild.... So if we can agree that none of the top names are available to come here, I think the most important thing for the new owners to do is make sure that the Coach and the GM have very similar mindset and strategy... And just like their players, none of these guys should be signed to long-term contracts... Everyone needs to be accountable, and if they don't like it, we'll find someone else... So going forward, the biggest questions I have for the current GM and COACH to see if they are on the same page would be: What's the best exit strategy for getting rid of our current bad contracts? What type of character guys fit the mold? Can they agree that the $$$ spent on the right character guys be utilized on guys that will be used in this team's line-up?

1) Jr. Draft if we don't get one of the top two picks, we may as well trade down a bit. After the top two players the next 3 or 4 highest ranked players are defensemen. Usually defensemen take longer to develop-time is not on their side. 2) Check out the free agent lists-plenty of web sites showing the newest crop of free agents--pretty ugly-not much there to help Panthers. Besides do the decent ones really want to come to the Cats? 3) Trade!! We do have chips to trade--Between the draft pick and Weiss, Vokoun, Horton, there may be enough to bring in some usefull players. 4) Yormark should go for sure. Sexton I am luke warm about..Maybe it is better to wipe the slate clean and bring in a good hockey mind(if one is out there) and start with a new outlook. DeBoer seems to be a pretty good coach, I would like to see him willing to use more aggresive players and make it harder for teams to play us. Like Bill Lindsay said--"Teams did not like to come in here and play us"(Panther teams from the 90's)... A guy like Greg Campbell may not be a NHL quality player, but you have to admit you have to love the effort he gave every night. He checked, fought, and killed penalties and gave a big effort on every shift.. Do hear me Olesz?? Let's hope we get lucky tonight!!!

Weiss has a no movement clause. Horton's starts July 1st. Ballard and McAbe also have one. They are untradeable. Nightmare scenario in Florida, anyone tradeable has to agree to the team that they are sent to.

I agree with MNguy and slapshot1106. I would rather have Sexton than losers McLean, Risebrough and Sutter. Each destroyed the last team they were GM at(or current in Sutter's case). Sexton has made some good moves, especially at the trade deadline. I don't see any of the people mentioned other than Stevie Y, as an upgrade over Sexton. There are players to get rid of but NOT Weiss, Horton or Ballard. You would never get half the player back in a trade.

And while we are talking cleaning house, lets get rid of Billy Lindsay. He may be a nice guy and a great former Panther but he flat out stinks as a color commentary announcer. Either bring back Potvin or bring in Beezer, I had watched Beezer a few years ago doing color commentary on HD.net when they did NHL games and he was very good.

I think drafting guys and annointing them core players before they've proved anything has been historically the problem with the organization, to piggy-back off Fla Kittens. We draft these guys high & expect them to be the Crosbys, Nashes, etc. right off the bat. Horton & Weiss both should have started in the AHL, but instead due to cheap ownership they started on the big club & now are on their 2nd contracts just as they starting to live up to their billings. Bad asset management.

I think both Horton & Weiss had GREAT seasons. I don't know if they are the solution (trading them, that is), but getting them more help and not expecting your 1st round picks every year to fill out top 6 roles is a good start.

We either need a true 1st line or a better 2nd line. We also need better players at the bottom & to replace the veteran leadership we've lost on D in Krastins, Seids, Leo, etc.

I don't care who does it as long as there is a plan & the owners step up to the plate. No more patchwork BS, either trade picks/Vokoun for a true difference maker or just rebuild the whole thing by trading Vokoun, Weiss, Horton, etc. Right now this team is just not deep enough to withstand any injury to its "core" and still be competitive. We lose Horton, we lost out on the playoffs. Horton is not an Ovechkin type where if you lose him your team takes a major, major hit. But that's exactly what happened this year and is a testament to the overall lack of depth in the organization. Losing Booth early on just compounded the effects of Nathan going down too, obviously. But look at the Avs, they lost Hedjuk, Stastny, Duchese, David Jones, Yip, etc., all for periods during the season and still managed to make the playoffs.

the problem has been that they don't scout the players, they watch video, they don't develop players either.

It is going to take years for this to be turned around, but it has to start with the front office.

Denis Potvin was on the NHL radio network this morning and he pointed out what I have been saying for years. This team needs a hockey person as President to be the person where the buck ends.

As it stands now, the buck ends with Yormark and that has to stop. If Sexton and DeBoer disagree they go to Yormark.

Bring in someone that other organizations respect and players that would want to play for that organization. Let this person decide who the GM should be not Stu, Cliff and Yormark.

Until we have someone accountable then we will continue to be what we are something to fill 41 dates at the arena

People are too critical here. There's a few positives to take from this season, too, and to trade everyone wholesale will likely make the rebuilding take longer.

Horton finally lived up to billing this year and scored at a pace that would have set a career high water mark around 70 points. Weiss, playing without the talents of Booth for most of the season and Horton for a decent chunk as well, fell just 1 point shy of last year's career mark and set a new career mark for goals. Booth showed signs of regaining his form when he got injured again, so you'll bet on him returning to form again when healthy, with a whole offseason to rest his brain and then try to train himself to keep his head up. Kulikov showed a lot of promise as a rookie. Olesz, despite being pathetically unable to score, nonetheless did no worse than last season but showed an increased physical presence at least early in the season (though I admit I'd trade him in a heartbeat if there were a deal of value). Matthias and Repik came in and showed at least a glimmer of promise, and Garrison showed he can play at a competent level in the NHL. Frolik struggled but still pretty much matched last season's output with 21 goals and 43 points.

Sexton made missteps last offseason with Reinprecht and Clemmensen, but he also made a good signing with Seidenberg and after Cohen finally jumped ship in late October Sexton made another good move in signing Dom Moore. They were role players, sure, but helped the team play better when they were struggling early, particularly after Booth's injury. Then he managed to trade both of them for 2nd round picks, no mean feat. He also picked up a couple of good depth players in Oreskovich and MacIntyre and also landed Bitz in the Seidenberg deal.

This ship, as has been pointed out, ain't gonna turn around on a dime - it's been going full steam into the depths for a while. But Martin made some good moves getting the organization shored up with a permanent and reputable AHL affiliate, and Sexton's made some good moves in acquiring decent picks in this year's draft. The team is likely to fall to the bottom again next season, at which point you'll all be clammoring for firings again (and I admit the jury's still out on Sexton), but after that you'll see a solid turnaround if the team maintains consistent leadership with a clear vision of what they want the team to be. The last big rebuild got derailed badly by the lockout and CBA, plus some inconsistency of vision. Weiss didn't fit into Keenan's plans, Bouwmeester wasn't a physical force he was hoped to be, and Horton was drafted for an NHL environment that ceased to be a year after he was drafted. Weiss and Horton survived and are starting to shape up into respectable offensive players, and Booth's been added which gives the Panthers 3 guys who make a really good 2nd line or would be solid pieces of a talented top line if only the team would get a marquis threat to go with a couple of them. With a good offensive pick this season and Frolik, the team could also boast a serious 2nd scoring line. There's a bounty of goaltending prospects, and that will really just leave a need to acquire a couple of top 4 defensemen. Not to play that down, but these are the missing pieces to a playoff team right now, without subtracting any of the "core". Subtract them, and you're only setting the team back another season or two, or blowing the rebuild altogether all over again.

I've been waiting for 13 years for this team to win another playoff game, but since it's obviously not happening I'm willing to be patient with a fourth rebuild attempt - as long as it doesn't mirror all the mistakes made in the previous ones.

How can we not be critical when this team has not advanced to the playoffs 9+ years? Empty promises is all the owners have brought us, where are the big changes that we were promised with that letter? Where is the accountability?

I shot an email to the owners, which I have done twice this past year. I basically told them the same thing my first email said, I said I was dissapointed with the direction of the team, the way the team isn't marketed. I've already told them that Yormark is a snake, and hasn't helped the situation. They said they love Yormark, and said they've only been in charge for a few months,and they are sticking to there plan. Well this email was before the Party and the Bankatlantic, which looked like a stanley cup championship parade...What the Hell.. This is such a joke.. If you bought tickets this year, why would you buy them next year??? What a joke. The owners should be ashamed...

it seams to me if you want to get rid of yormark as head of hockey ops, then your going about it all wrong. telling the owners that we are not renewing or emailing them about their money making employee means nothing to them. guys like yormark are indestructbile. you have to go after what makes him tick. go after the SPONSERS. start a campaign (not me im too lazy) mass email the sponsers and tell them we like thier product but cant support them until there is a hockey guy in charge of hockey ops. get them on our side. show them how much money fan of a winning team can and will pay. and be loyal to them. but boycott until they get a hockey guy in charge of hockey ops. if you get the sponsers on your side you win managment.
then go after the county commision. im sure yormark and his ilk get some form of kickback. or free gifts. are these reported as income to the arena. and therefore to broward county. i know the arena hasnt made money yet but should yormark or anyone get "comps" without broward county knowing. just throwing that out there. again im too lazy.

FIRE THEM ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I wanted to bring this up. How tacky and disgusting the organization's marketing department and head of decision making is. Apparently to add to the confetti the other night...

I read today in the Sun-Sentinel Sarah Talay’s blog about how “the post-game fan appreciation festivities, including this one: the T-shirts the team threw to fans after the game? They were from Opening Night 2007!” This apparently happened at the game on Sunday.Tasteless and Tacky Yormack and owners. Shame on you. YOu have no respect for the fans that you have left. FIRE EVERYBODY IN THE FRONT OFFICE, NO STONE UNTURNED IN THE PURGE.

Panthers pick third overall. The draft order didn't change after the lottery. I hope the Bruins will trade down with the Panthers but they probably won't.

Oh well. The Panthers don't get the easy pick. Time to show your worth, Sexton! Make some magic!

Ha ha! You have to laugh at Sexton's face! All it waid was "OOOOhhhh Fuuuuuuuuudggggge"

I hope the Panthers do whatever it takes to trade with Boston and take Seguin/Hall, whoever the Oils don't take. Hey, we traded down from 1 to 3 and what did we get again? Samuelsson, who's had a nice run with Detroit and now Vancouver, but is hardly a mega player.

Therattick: everyone in Chicago knows it was Baby Bowman's job to get the QO's sent, not Tallon's, so he really had no gaff with the contracts. He has proven that he can build a Stanley Cup contending team, but would he want to come here to rebuild the Panthers when it's in such disarray, and there are other teams cleaning house who want him? The Panther owners would be lucky if he thought it looked appealing.

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