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On the Road, Again ... Ryan Carter=The Man ... Sulzer Back, Wilson Down


It wasn't long after the Panthers concluded their longest homestand of the season on Saturday when they were asked about their upcoming road trip.

“We've been home for two weeks,'' coach Pete DeBoer said, “we're ready to hit the road.''

Things won't come easy for the Panthers as they embark on the final big road trip of the season. The Panthers will leave following practice Monday in Coral Springs and won't return until the wee hours of March 30.

The Panthers will visit a number of teams fighting for playoff position starting Tuesday against the New York Rangers. The road trip will take the Panthers from Broadway to Chicago, back east to Buffalo, through Pittsburgh and conclude in Columbus, Ohio.

For a team that's still trying to get to know one another, being away from home can help bring a group closer together.

“Going on the road with this team is going to be different and I'm looking forward to it. It's good,'' said winger Niclas Bergfors, one of a number of new players Florida has in its lineup since the Feb. 28 trading deadline. “We're working hard, we're getting some chances. We're getting better at telling who the guy next to you is. Every game is tight right now. You have to really pay attention to detail.''

Since the deadline, the Panthers have mostly been at home. Teams bond on the road as instead of heading home after practices in South Florida, the Panthers will be stuck with one another. They'll see each other at breakfast, on the bus, at the rink, back on the bus, at lunch ... just about everywhere.

Even though the Panthers have just 10 games left, center Stephen Weiss figures a lot of the guys on this current team could be back next season. Getting that cohesiveness now will help come training camp in September.

“There were a lot of changes made and it's pretty much a whole new group in here,'' Weiss said. “That's tough at this time of the year. I think we've done a pretty nice job with our systems and picking that stuff quickly. .-.-. We want to play hard and play the right way, get some wins and get some confidence going into the offseason. We have new guys on the team, guys fighting for spots next year. These next 10 games are important to us.''


When Ryan Carter was traded to the Panthers a few days before the trade deadline, Carolina Hurricanes fans bemoaned the loss. “The Panthers are going to love that guy,'' one wrote on a Florida message board.

So far, that's been true.

Carter missed a few games after the trade because of an oblique injury suffered while still with the Hurricanes, but since making his Florida debut on March 12, he's definitely been noticed.

In his first game last week, Carter scored a goal. Then, against the Flyers, Carter was credited with six hits. Against Toronto on Thursday, Carter walloped Mikhail Grabovski then hopped to his skates and fought Keith Aulie.

“I've been around long enough to know that [Toronto GM] Brian Burke teams are going to come after you after a solid hit on one of their skill guys,'' Carter said. “I knew [the fight] was coming. I even started laughing at one point because all I wanted to know was who it was going to be. I knew it was coming. That's OK. That's the way we should play here too. Someone takes a run at our guy, the other team should know we're coming after them.''

Carter led the Panthers, once again, with six hits in Saturday's shootout loss to the Islanders.

“It's a part of the game, a part of the game that I embrace,'' Carter said of his rough-and-tumble style. “You want teams to come in here relaxed, ready to go fishing and hit the beach. Then you hit them in the jaw. That could be an advantage for us.''

Said teammate Dmitry Kulikov: “That guy loves hitting people. It really is fun to watch. He goes to the net, hits guys.''

-- Alexander Sulzer is back for the Panthers on Tuesday vs. the Rangers. Clay Wilson sent to Rochester.

On the Road, Again ... Ryan Carter=The Man ... Sulzer Back, Wilson Down


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Wilson has been playing well so the only reason he was sent back must be Tallon has already eliminated him from consideration for being on the roster next year.

Only you write such lovely articles on a nice Sunday afternoon when the team doesnt even play for the next 3 days. That's why we, the tiny fanbase, enjoy your work so much GR
Keep up the great stuff
Go Panthers!

why they send wilson down he was playing great, callahan defnitly should of been the one going down

I love that Ryan Carter!

We probably wont sign Samsonov because he is to expensive and Carter is to good to sign.

PLEASE don't sign Samsonov. Another over the hill stiff looking for one last big paycheck who will totally disappear after signing in the long Panther tradition that began with Kirk Muller and who will eventually be traded for another bag of pucks at the deadline. Remember, they're only going to spend the NHL minimum required next season. BTW, did anyone else notice that the $30 mil figure that was being tossed around so proudly for the past month had been reduced to $25 to $30 mil by Geldie on Saturday?

I wonder if anyone else noticed that the Saturday night game was sort of like a mini-Beanpot, with a Boston University goalie(DiPietro} beating a Boston College goalie (Clemmensen). The battle of Comm Avenue comes to Florida!

Ryan Carter has the right additude. He's a keeper.

I wonder if Samsonov and Bergfors would be producing as much on the second or third line? I have my doubts that both will be kept when the Panthers have all the $$ to spend.

Puckbubba- Yes, indeed Ryan Carter is a keeper. The guy plays with heart and he can score a goal or two.

I hope they do resign Samsonov; he's not worth the money.

Mark my words, the Panthers will have $20M to spend to get to the minimum required team payroll.

Get rid of Clay Wilson and Mike Repik. Both were on the ice when an opponent knee'd David Booth, and both did nothing about it.

Why don't you want Samsonov's "shake and bake" here?
I am not saying he is best out there, but he certainly brings a lot to the team, if we can get him cheap for one year, and have that line become your 2nd line next year and add a couple of good signings on the first line with the money we have, I think we would definitely be looking at a much improved team.

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