Summer is officially here in South Florida, and if you haven't noticed, your air conditioning is really working overtime. That, and you don't get out much.
Not a whole lot going on in PantherLand, and with every muggy passing day, it appears more likely Jay Bouwmeester and the Cats are going to arbitration up in Toronto come Tuesday.
Have spoken to a number of folks within the organization (none of whom own the initials J.M.) and even a couple of players. Not one thinks Jay signs a long-term deal here before his hearing, and only one said he expects Jay to be here come the start of the 2009-10 season. It appears to me that there isn't just one reason why Jay isn't a big fan of the Panthers; there are quite a few issues here.
Jay's agent told our Barry Jackson that he rejected the Panthers most recent offer (I have heard almost $6 million per for six years but cannot get that confirmed by the agent nor JM) and they are preparing for arbitration. Which is their right. And, I've been told, the Panthers will give Jay whatever the arbiter rules he's worth for the coming season and roll the dice hoping to keep him.
We'll see. As I've written before, both sides are keeping this thing on the down-low, so we'll just have to wait to see how things play out.
-- Old pal Scott Burnside has his summer power rankings out on ESPN.com.
No surprise here, but he's got the Pens atop the East and Detroit atop the West. Some surprises: Edmonton up to No. 5 in the West, with Vancouver down to 12. Florida is ranked No. 12 in the East (about where it finished the season), ranked above only Toronto, the Isles and Atlanta. He has the Lightning up to No. 8.
-- Glen Murray has cleared waivers after being released in a salary cap move by the Bruins. He's going to be bought out and on the market. Have been told the Panthers have very little interest, although, my bet is Murray can still play. He's been hampered by injuries over the past few years, but has still put up some numbers. He'll go to a challenger for a low-money deal and we'll find out if he's still a player or not. Just don't count on it happening here.
-- Randy Cunneyworth will not be returning as coach of the Rochester Americans, instead, is getting his big break. Cunneyworth, a finalist to be an assistant on JM's staff last summer, is a new assistant in Atlanta. John Anderson, the new coach of the Thrash, saw plenty of Cunneyworth's Amerks while coach of Atlanta's AHL affiliate in Chicago.
-- On a sad note, Charlie Weis singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame on Saturday at Wrigley. Good golly. I'm certain Harry Caray just spun around and asked "who?"
Let's hope Gerry Faust gets his chance to sing.