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Florida Panthers and Maple Leafs: Tuesday's Pregame Notes

VersteegTOSaw a lot of blue-and-white license tags in the Sawgrass Mills parking lot today.

What does that mean? 

Nothing I guess. Just throwing it out there.

(The above shot is of Panthers winger Kris Versteeg addressing the Toronto media. There were a few of us South Florida folk there too.)

-- Not a whole lot of news out of today.

Stephen Weiss is out of the game so your Florida Panthers top line?

(Drum roll)....

Tomas Fleischmann, Shawn Matthias, Matt Bradley.

Actually, I could see a lot of energy coming out of these three. Matthias is playing great.

Still, you hate to see Weiss out of the lineup. Different team, historically, when he's not there.

"As a coach you just keep banging on that drum,'' Kevin Dineen said of Weiss, "because he’s a guy to reach for in all key situations.''

-- Jose Theodore doesn't speak on game days because of days (re: lots of media) like today.

He was very discreet in sneaking out the back door of the locker room.

I saw you bubba.

Theodore in net versus the Leafs.

-- Any updates on the other six injured players?


The silence around the Panthers is deafening. I'll get some updates tonight. Just don't ask me how.

-- Erik Gudbranson told the Canadian media that it wasn't his call in whether he would stay here or play for Team Canada in the world juniors.

He said all the right things. Losing the gold medal game last year "still leaves a bitter taste,'' so going back and winning it this year in Canada would be cool.

But, he added, it's tough to leave your team for a month -- especially an NHL team. The Panthers made the right decision in keeping him, Gudbranson said.

Maddencruiser-- Our good pal Mike Russo (@Russostrib on Twitter) says former Devils center John Madden is working out in Minnesota waiting for that call to come back.

Word is the Panthers are interested. 

Madden, who won two Cups with the Devils, was part of the Blackhawks 2010 title team. Now 38, Madden scored 12 goals for the Wild last season.

Why not?

-- Talked a little hockey with Sportsnet's Jeff Marek and Yahoo's Greg Wyshynski (puckdaddy.com) on Tuesday. You can listen to it at another time.

-- Back on the radio tonight around 7 to talk up the Panthers/Leafs tilt on Toronto's own AM 640. You can tune in here.

-- Mark Cullen is back with the Panthers and it seems like the problem with him not making it to Boston last week was timing. He had to clear waivers and couldn't do so with such a quick turnaround. 

He's happy to be back and said if you're going to miss a game in the NHL, it's good to be an 8-0 loss.

"No offense to him,'' Dineen said, "but he wouldn't have made much of a difference.''

Cullen laughed when I repeated that quote.

-- With Cullen in, Gudbranson is back on D.

The Panthers are 0-4 when rolling seven defensemen.

“It’s not a great formula for us obviously,'' Dineen quipped.