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GETTING A CHANCE: #FlaPanthers Bringing In Veterans Kovalev, Kostitsyn, Svatos on Try Outs

TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards

The Panthers have apparently offered training camp try outs to a number of veteran NHL players including 39-year-old Alex Kovalev, Andrei Kostitsyn and Marek Svatos.

Kovalev is already in town and worked out with the Pompano Panthers at Glacier on Tuesday.

Also coming in town to join the crew: Erik Gudbranson, Jack Skille and Brian Campbell.

Kovalev has had injury problems and was released from his KHL contract after a knee injury limited him to just 20-plus games last season.

He's been working out in New York during the lockout.

Here's what he had to say after Tuesday's skate:

On his knee injury: "I've recovered. .-.-. It's all behind me. It's been hard work and you know how it goes: The older you get, the harder you have to work.

"That's the most disappointing thing, feeling good and not being able to play anywhere. Finally, the season is about to start and I settle somewhere -- hopefully here -- in the NHL and do my thing.''

Kovalev said he spoke with the Panthers before the 2011-12 season about coming here to play. Apparently Dale Tallon offered a try-out then; it didn't work out for whatever reason.

Kovalev last played with Ottawa and Pittsburgh during the 2010-11 season.

"I came here the year before I went to Russia and had a chance to talk about me coming here,'' he said.

"The situation changed a little bit and I couldn't wait anymore so I went to Russia. I guess the offer still stands and they decided I could come back. I want to get back in the NHL. They're going to give me a chance, see how things go.''

As far as a short training camp goes, Kovalev says he'll be ready.

"I think I have enough experience and I feel great health-wise. I know game shape is different than practice but it doesn't take that long, maybe a week, week and a half and you're in game shape.

"At the beginning everyone will be running around and will be anxious to start the season. Everything else will settle after 10 games or so. We'll all be where we need to be.''

Kovalev said a few teams asked him about coming to camp, but he seems to like the Panthers and Kevin Dineen.

"I like the people in the organization and they changed the coach. I played against him many times. I know what they have done, I saw what they did last year with the changes and making the playoffs. I feel this is a good place for me, a good environment with the organization and the players.''

"No one has promised me anything. They just want me to come in and they are hoping I make the team. I don't know. I can't predict anything. I'm just going to do what I'm able to do and we'll see what happens. They could go with the younger guys or something like that. You never know. It's just good to have the chance to come to camp and hopefully make the team.''

More to come later.

GETTING A CHANCE: #FlaPanthers Bringing In Veterans Kovalev, Kostitsyn, Svatos on Try Outs

Comments

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Hey GR, didnt AKost sign a full season KHL deal, not a lockout deal? Since there's supposedly a gentleman's agreement between the KHL & NHL about honoring contracts, wouldnt that be kinda hard with him coming here?

Did he have an NHL out clause in the contract or maybe Traktor released him? And even if he had an out clause in the contract, you wouldnt think he would take that unless he had an actual NHL contract, not an invite to camp.

Another nice job by Tallon. He wont offer long term, high dollar deals to any of these players so it will be relatively low risk with possibility of high reward if they are signed. He knows he needs to increase scoring and one or more of these guys could work out here, atleast short term. Always looking to better the team and not selling the future to do it. No way was it a fluke that Dale built Chicago into Cup winners. No guarantees down here at all but what a huge upgrade to the GM position Tallon has already been.

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