DALLAS – Stephen Weiss moved into sole possession of second place in all-time games played for the Florida Panthers on Tuesday.
The guy he is chasing for first said a Weiss captaincy with the Panthers is in order.
“He's been with them a long time, started his career there,'' said longtime Florida winger Radek Dvorak, who now plays for the Stars.
“Every year he's been a better player, shown he's a leader. He's a great teammate and just deserves it. He's a Florida Panther. He's one of the top players to ever play for them. This is his 10th year and he's been on the top of the charts and is one reason they've played good this year.''
Dvorak, who was traded to Atlanta last February and signed with the Stars this summer, is Florida's all-time leader in games played.
Dvorak, 34, logged 613 games for the Panthers in two different stints. Dvorak first started with Florida in 1995 and left via trade in 1999. He returned in 2007 before last year's trade at the deadline.
Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said Tuesday that he has thought about the Panthers captaincy but doesn't expect to name a singular one anytime soon. Weiss is one of four alternate captains for the Panthers, joining newcomers Tomas Kopecky, Brian Campbell and Ed Jovanovski – who, coincidentally, was one of three rookies to play on Florida's 1996 Eastern Conference championship team. Dvorak and Robert Svehla were the others. Weiss moved past Svehla on Tuesday.
Florida has been without a captain since Bryan McCabe was traded to the Rangers last season. The Panthers last went without a captain for a full season in 2008-09 – Pete DeBoer's first year as coach – after Olli Jokinen was traded to Phoenix that offseason.
“I think we're getting excellent leadership from our leadership group,'' Dineen said. “Those things will come in time. Everything has its own time frame. Right now, I'm extremely happy with the leadership we're getting.''
Weiss smiled when told of Dvorak's praise as the two were close during their time with the Panthers. Dvorak's franchise record is just one of many Weiss is chasing down.
Barring trade or injury, it's likely that Weiss will not only become the Panthers leader in games played but goals (he trails Jokinen by 59 going into Tuesday), assists (15 from Jokinen) and total points (74, Jokinen).
Weiss could become the Panthers leader in games played by Feb. 15 against Ottawa.
He says he's not counting.
“It's not something you think about, but to be up on the list of games played for an organization in this league is pretty cool,'' said Weiss, the fourth-overall pick of the 2001 draft in Sunrise by the Panthers. “At the end of your career it's an accomplishment.''
-- The Panthers recalled center Tim Kennedy from AHL San Antonio on Tuesday as Jack Skille was out with an apparent groin injury suffered Sunday against the Flyers. Skille is with the team but didn't practice Tuesday. He did say his injury felt much better.
-- Goalie Scott Clemmensen made his first start of the season Tuesday. Clemmensen missed time thanks to knee surgery in preseason and good play by Jose Theodore the past week.
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