« PANTHERS NOTEBOOK: Cats Win Preseason Finale 5-3 over Tampa Bay | Main | 'UNLIMITED POTENTIAL:' Barkov and Huberdeau Give a Glimpse into Florida Panthers Future »

SEASON ON THE HORIZON: Panthers Take Day Off, Back on Monday ... Robak, Crabb on Waivers

TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards

Training camp ended for the Florida Panthers as soon as the team skated off the ice Saturday night in celebrating a 5-3 exhibition victory over visiting Tampa Bay.

When the team reports to practice Monday morning in Coral Springs, opening night becomes the lone focus.

Florida opens its 2013-14 season Thursday night against the host Dallas Stars.

"We felt like we accomplished things coaching-wise but there are areas we need to tidy up and keep working on,'' coach Kevin Dineen said.

With the introduction of new owners and the addition of a few new players in camp, Dineen says he "likes the vibe" around his team.

"I like the tempo, the tenor of our group,'' Dineen said. "We're all speaking the same language. We understand when things weren't going well, it wasn't one man, but it's a team effort.''

The Panthers still have some work before heading to Texas. On Sunday, the Panthers took another step in finalizing their roster by placing winger Joey Crabb and defenseman Colby Robak on waivers.

"We've had to make some tough decisions and we're going to continue to have to make them,'' Dineen said. "I believe we have some quality options and some hungry players banging on the door when they aren't in there.''

With plenty of money under the salary cap, general manager Dale Tallon could put in a claim or two and perhaps grab a couple players cut loose by other teams because of their particular cap concerns. It won't be known if Florida picked up any players off waivers until Monday afternoon.

The Panthers are expected to put five players on the injured list before the season begins. Goalie Scott Clemmensen will be one of those players and will likely start the year off in the minor leagues on a rehab assignment.

Dineen wouldn't say who his starter is right now, although it's expected veteran Tim Thomas gets the call Thursday night in Dallas.

"Tim has really established himself with our team and our organization within a short period of time,'' Dineen said. "[Thomas] is a good guy and a real solid player for us right now. He's a great option for us on Thursday night.''

-- Dineen said he liked what he saw in rookie Aleksander Barkov "in spurts" during training camp. The 18-year-old appears to be Florida's second-line center pivoting veterans Brad Boyes and Kris Versteeg.

"He's a young guy who needs more consistency to his game,'' Dineen said of the 2013 second-overall pick in the NHL draft.

"There's no doubt he's talented. The pace and level of the game is something he's continuing to adjust to. He'll be fine. But it's a real quick learning curve at this level. He's a good kid. His heart is in the right place and he really cares.''

-- The Panthers will return to practice Monday at 10:30 a.m. The workout, located at the Iceplex in Coral Springs, is free and open to the public.