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The Booth Watch Continues: Panthers At the Halfway Point

Booth1When talking about the second half of the season, coach Pete DeBoer let a potential bombshell drop.

In regards to the injured David Booth, DeBoer said Booth was "a wild-card factor whether or not he comes back'' and that since he has missed so much time since being suffering his concussion on Oct. 24 that "we're not counting on that.''

Booth has still been skating and still been working out according to DeBoer when asked to elaborate on Booth's status. The Panthers had been saying Booth would return to the lineup in January, but DeBoer sounded very cautious. DeBoer knows you don't mess around with concussions. Other players have and you've seen the end result.

I wouldn't be surprised to see them burn off the final two weeks of February and bring Booth back after the Olympic break in March -- if at all.

“It's a real significant injury,'' DeBoer said. "We’ve seen too many guys in this league -- Eric Lindros, Keith Primeau -- have careers end. It’s something we want to make sure David is part of this franchise for a long time.’’

I asked Pete if Booth had suffered any sort of setback and he said no, not really.


"The problem with this type of injury is you take small steps forward and you take another one back,'' DeBoer said. "Then a couple more forward and inch your way toward getting him back."

-- The Panthers have reached the halfway point of the season and things aren't as bad as it seems. A lot of the guys would like to put the first 41 games behind them and start fresh. And if they can improve on the record of the first 41, they got a chance to make those pesky playoffs.

"Where we're at right now, isn't a place we want to be,'' Tomas Vokoun said. "We're out of the playoffs. We're a few points back. That's not good enough. We need to play better and get some wins and the only ones that can do that is us.''

Pete says he thinks his team is a playoff team and is capable of putting together a nice winning streak. Yet they haven't done that so far this season. Florida has yet to win more than three straight games at a time.

We'll see.

Hey, a win Sunday against the Pens would be a start. The Panthers record at home (6-8-5 including a Finnish home loss) is pretty brutal.

-- Everyone was back at practice today and all are expected to start tomorrow against the Pens.