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Florida Panthers Playoff Notebook Day 1: Kevin Dineen Watches What He Says ... Dineen Surprised About Late Start

GuillenBY GEORGE RICHARDS grichards@MiamiHerald.com

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Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said it was “unfortunate” the buzz regarding the Marlins right now is mostly about manager Ozzie Guillen's recent comments about Fidel Castro.

Dineen is a pretty colorful quote and says while he doesn't want to turn into a cliché machine the character Crash Davis talks about in the baseball cult classic 'Bull Durham,' he knows he has to be careful in what he talks about.



“You try to be witty and you try to stay interesting,'' Dineen said. “But people ask me what my political affiliation is and I tell them 'Canadian.' I haven't lived in Canada for 20 years.

"As a public figure, you have to respect that you represent an organization. I hope it works out because this is an exciting time for the Marlins.''

() Dineen said he will wait until Friday to announce who his starting goalie will be. Scott Clemmensen has had good success against the Devils – and is 3-0-1 in his past four starts with five goals allowed. Jose

Theodore, meanwhile, is considered by a good number to be Florida's MVP this season and has played in 51 postseason games. 

() The odds are out. According to Bovada.lv, the Panthers are 35-to-1 to win the Stanley Cup and 20-1 to win the Eastern Conference. The favorite to win it all? Pittsburgh at 4-1 and Vancouver at 11-2. 

() Dineen says he was just as surprised as everyone else when it was announced the Panthers wouldn't open their series with the Devils until Friday night.

Dineen says he was given a “99 percent” assurance Florida would start Wednesday – on the opening night of the postseason. “I was up early [Sunday] doing preparation,'' he said. “But the rest is an advantage.'' 

With the extra few days, Dineen is giving his team Tuesday off from practice. The Panthers will practice at the Coral Springs Iceplex on Wednesday and Thursday at 10:30 a.m. Workouts are free and open to the public.