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Tough Times All Around ... Cory Murphy Clears Waivers, Back to Rochester? ... Ville Peltonen Injures Foot

EconomyIf you haven't read it yet, The Miami Herald's Barry Jackson had a piece today regarding how the slumping economy is effecting the local pro sports teams in South Florida.

You can read it here.

The Panthers have obviously been effected by the downturn, with the team trying to combat the problem by offering better packages and lower ticket prices. On the ice, the team is starting to turn things around and the financial folks have to hope things will get better as the hockey team gets closer to a postseason berth.

Earlier in the season, the Panthers laid off (or restructured) around 10 positions, with jobs lost in public relations, the foundation, sales and publishing. Last week, the team made some more moves with at least six employees being laid off.

Michael Yormark confirmed there were moves made although he wouldn't give me an exact number. I was told six to eight, from sales to publishing to someone in the mail room. When I spoke to Michael about it, he said he usually restructures things around the first of the year, moving people around -- sometimes out -- to streamline the business model. Some people within the organization will be given more responsibilities, and I guess that's good for them unless they were overworked to begin with.

And it's not only the hockey team that's affected by this downturn in fortune. Everyone is being hit in some way. In my travels, I've noticed a lot of empty airplanes (there were five people on my New York to Pittsburgh flight) and empty hotels (the Pittsburgh Marriott would have been a ghost town had the Panthers not been there. The Long Island Marriott was pretty empty too).

A lot of teams in the league are struggling right now, none worse than the Phoenix Coyotes who reportedly are losing money by the truckload despite the team playing well and being in contention for a playoff spot.

-- I have decided to take a full day off today, figuring it's pretty deserved. Been around the Panthers quite a bit the past two months and need to take care of things that have been neglected around the house.

But never fear, Pete 'Pete' Pelegrin is on the scene and will be reporting back to me when practice is done. We should have an update on Rostislav Olesz and Kamil Kreps.

At 12 noon, Cory Murphy cleared waivers and is no free to be reassigned to Rochester. Or he can stay up with the Panthers. Waiting to see on that.

-- If you haven't read my take on the CPR Boyz, check that out here. And while you're at it, here's my notebook from yesterday.

-- Also, for all those who keep asking about Jay Bouwmeester and contract negotiations: When I hear something, you will too. I don't think anything is going on with that right now. The team has until March before it has to make a decision what to do. Both sides are taking it slow. I don't think we'll be hearing anything about this until the first week in February.

-- Speaking of contracts, David Booth is due one as well. This is a couple days old, but I wrote about what's going on with his negotiations. Sounds about the same.

-- Just spoke with Pete here at 1 Pines Herald Plaza, and he informs me that Ville Peltonen has a broken bone in his foot, so who knows how long he'll be out. Of course, he never said anything Saturday, so that may be something he can play with. Will know more in the coming days.

-- Also nothing yet on Murphy, JM is in Toronto and Jack Birch hasn't yet responded to a text message.