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Florida Cookout

TailgateThe Panthers had another one of their cookouts at the CSA on Monday night, with newbies Tomas Vokoun and Brett McLean serving as the honorees.

Talked to both guys, feature tomorrow rides mostly on Vokoun. Will go through the tape tomorrow and feature some of McLean's comments. Both seem to be very cool guys, both seem very thoughtful and happy to be here in South Florida.

Here are some excerpts from Vokoun:

“Nashville, for me, is closed down. That’s a chapter in the book and I’m trying to get things organized here as fast as I can.
Expectations are high, and it’s hard to be successful if you’re not prepared. It has nothing to do with luck. Successful people are prepared people. The most important thing for me is to be settled and be ready for the season physically and mentally.’’

“I never saw it coming. It was a shock,’’ Vokoun said of the draft-day trade in which Florida sent three draft picks to Nashville. “The franchise is in limbo, the owner wants to sell so they’re cutting the payroll. This is a business.’’

“I’m excited to have gone where I did. If had a choice – which I didn’t – this is a team I would have picked. We have great potential and it’s a great area. I hope it’s a great community, but I hear its one of the nicest places to live on this earth. I’m excited to live in Florida. I wish the best to the people in Nashville. If the team leaves, I’m going to be sad. I think hockey belongs there.’’

Something from JM: “To be able to get a goaltender like Tomas really stabilizes our position,’’ Martin said. “He’s a proven goaltender who was in an organization that had success. He’s happy to be here, he’s in the prime of his career and knowing that he’s under contract for four years really fits what we’re trying to do around here.’’

-- Martin said he'll start work on hiring a new assistant coach sometime this week.

-- Martin adds he's not worried about signing Stephen Weiss longterm, adds that the death of Stephen's grandfather last week (my condolences, Stephen) have slowed things a bit. Martin also says he doesn't think Edmonton is coming after Weiss in trying to sign him to an offer sheet.

-- There has been no work done on signing Jay Bouwmeester to a long-term deal as of yet. JM says he wants to get Stephen's deal done first.