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2 posts from September 10, 2013

September 10, 2013

BOYES TO PANTHERS: Veteran Winger on Tryout ... Tim Thomas Next?

TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards

The Panthers officially announced veteran forward Brad Boyes will be in camp on a professional tryout.

Boyes, 31, scored 10 goals in 48 games for the Islanders last season and had three assists in New York's playoff series against the Penguins.

Word was the Islanders wanted Boyes back and offered him a tryout as well.

Looks like Boyes and his agent thought Florida looked like a better opportunity. And why not? If Boyes looks good -- and the guy has shown he can score in the past -- he should make this team and earn a one-year deal.

Boyes has scored 168 goals with 407 points in 606 games over nine seasons with San Jose (well, one of those 606 games was with the Sharks), Boston, St. Louis, Buffalo and the Islanders.

Boyes scored 76 goals over two seasons from 2007-09 with St. Louis.

-- TSN's Bob McKenzie just tweeted that the Panthers are one of the teams who have officially invited former Bruins Stanley Cup goalie Tim Thomas to camp.

Thomas, who spent the 2011-12 season mired in controversy, didn't play last season as his contract was traded to the Islanders to help them stay above the salary cap floor.

We'll see what happens here.

Jacob Markstrom told me today that he's prepared for this training camp like any other -- although this obviously isn't any other camp for Markstrom.

-- Goalie Rob Madore, who played well for the Panthers in last weekend's rookie tournament, also earned a training camp invite.

Florida will be missing goalie Scott Clemmensen (knee) for approximately three weeks.

-- Jed Ortmeyer, who played part of last year in San Antonio, is also in camp and was at Tuesday's workout.

Brad Boyes/Dave Sandford, Getty images

Tim Thomas/Harry How, Getty Images

BOYES TO PANTHERS: Veteran Winger on Tryout ... Tim Thomas Next?

BOYES TO PANTHERS: Veteran Winger on Tryout ... Tim Thomas Next?

BACK TO SCHOOL: Panthers Report to Training Camp on Wednesday

TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards

Summer officially came to a close for the Florida Panthers on Tuesday morning as the team held its final informal workout.

Wednesday may as well constitute the team's first day of school.

The Panthers report for the start of training camp Wednesday morning with physicals and meetings with the front office and coaching staff at the BB&T Center in Sunrise.

Florida's first on-ice practice is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Thursday at the Saveology.com Iceplex in Coral Springs. The Panthers are expecting close to 60 players in camp with the team split into separate groups.

One team will likely stick together and play Nashville in the preseason opener in Sunrise on Monday afternoon with the other group playing the Predators in the double-header nightcap.

Florida will play five more exhibition games before the season officially kicks off Oct. 3 in Dallas.

The Panthers are ready to kick things off and put last year's nightmare behind them. Florida finished last in the 30-team league for the first time in franchise history during the lockout-shortened 2013 season.

"Personally, I'm excited to be starting out fresh with a whole new season,'' said forward Tomas Fleischmann, Florida's leading scorer in 2013. "We have a lot of young guys who look pretty good on the ice. It's going to be good to get the camp started.

"Everyone has been here for a couple of weeks already and I think that really shows how much everyone wants to do a better job than last year. It starts now.''

Perhaps the biggest news to come out of Wednesday will be the progress of Florida's injured players from last season.

The Panthers had an array of injuries last season with a number of players requiring surgery.

Although players such as Kris Versteeg (knee surgery in March) and Ed Jovanovski (hip surgery in April) have been skating, they haven't been cleared by Florida's medical staff.

Defenseman Dmitry Kulikov spent all but about two weeks in South Florida this summer after having shoulder surgery. Kulikov says he's been skating for about six weeks but he also needs to be cleared by the Panthers.

"I honestly can't wait. This has been a long summer and I have worked myself into great shape,'' Kulikov said on Tuesday. "I'm excited for training camp to start, for the games to start. I'm seeing the doctor [Wednesday] and we'll see. I feel good but we'll see where I'm at.''

Other players who had offseason work done reportedly include Drew Shore (wrist) and rookie of the year Jonathan Huberdeau (abdominal).

Huberdeau at least used his long offseason to good use. For the first time in a long time, Huberdeau was able to concentrate on off-ice activity and add some bulk to his lanky 6-foot-1 frame. Huberdeau says he put on 10 pounds of what looks like nothing but muscle.

"This has been my longest summer since I started playing hockey,'' Huberdeau said.

"I think everyone worked hard, is rested and healthy. We're all looking forward to get camp started. I used the summer to get stronger. With my injury, I slowed things down but I rehabbed well and did other things. I feel good. I'm ready for the season.''


Wednesday: Report to camp, physicals, 9 a.m. (BB&T Center)

Thursday: First practice, 9 a.m.; Group 2, 10:30 a.m. (Coral Springs Iceplex)

Friday: Practice starts at 9 a.m. (Iceplex)

Saturday: Practice starts at 9 a.m. (Iceplex)

Sunday: Practice starts at 9 a.m.; scrimmage at 9:30 a.m. (Iceplex)

Monday: Preseason doubleheader vs. Nashville, 2:30/7 p.m. (BB&T Center)

Tuesday: Practice starts at 10:30 a.m. (Iceplex)

Wednesday: Practice starts at 9 a.m. (Iceplex); preseason game at Dallas, 8 p.m.

(*) All workouts at the Coral Springs Iceplex are free and open to the public. Starting times subject to change.

BACK TO SCHOOL: Panthers Report to Training Camp on Wednesday