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Sunday, July 12, 2009

So Long, Farewell.

I am sure many Panthers fans have noticed by now that our team is going to look different next year. A decent chunk of our roster made their way to new homes either in the NHL or in Europe. Some we knew were going, while others came as a bit of a surprise.

The list of players gone from the 2008-2009 season include Richard Zednik, Jay Bouwmeester, Karlis Skrastins, Ville Peltonen (rumored to be heading to the Swiss A league), Nick Boynton, and Craig Anderson. These are all guys who had a pretty big impact on the roster last year, and some of them will be missed more then others by knowledgeable Panthers fans.

Before I go on about the players who left that matter, I want to stop and talk about Bouwmeester for a minute. Before everyone boos Jay in his first game down here in a Flames jersey I want to point a few things out that may change your mind. Bo and his agent approached our amazing former GM, Jacques Martin about not re-signing eighteen months ago....eighteen! This is before the trade deadline in which JM decided not to move Bouwmeester, heck, this was before the draft last year when he moved Jokinen! Why would Martin not do anything when he knew Jay was intent on leaving Sunrise? I think about this a lot, and to be honest I think Jay signed a one year deal prior to the 2008-2009 season to help the Panthers. He wanted to give JM some time to move him, obviously that had to be the case, unless Jay gets a high on building up, then crushing the hopes of the Panthers faithful. Well of course Jacques Martin had a great reason why he did not do anything with Bo when he had many chances, remember that press conference he held a few weeks ago.....oh wait, he got out of town faster then Mike Keenan after the Roberto Luongo trade. That is right folks, another GM screwed over the Panthers and followed it up by purchasing a plane ticket to sanctuary in Canada. The point I am trying to make with this is if you want to focus your boos somewhere, focus them on good ole Jacques Martin, the coward that jumped ship when he knew he shot the cannon that sunk it. So when Montreal comes to visit, make sure you all give him a nice, "warm", welcome.

To get back on topic here, lets chat about the rest of the ex-Panthers. I think the biggest loss this off season is that of Karlis Skrastins. I have said it, and will continue to say it. Skrastins was the Panthers best defensive D-man last year hands down. He led the team in blocked shots and made some amazing plays in front of the net that Patrick Roy would be proud of. The other guys lost to free agency are blows to the team, but not as big as the on dealt when Skrastins signed with Dallas.

I do want to wish all of the ex-Panthers good luck in their careers, especially Craig Anderson. Andy wanted to be a starter and he got his wish. I hope he gets the Avalanche back to the playoffs and proves that he can be a starter in the NHL.

I also want to give a round of applause to Randy Sexton, the current interim general manager of the Cats. Randy did a great job at the draft and followed it up by a filling the holes that needed to be filled in free agency. If Sexton can pull of one more signing, and I think you know which player from Montreal I'm talking about Panthers fans, then Bill Torrey should stop the search and peg Randy as the new GM of the Florida Panthers. Heck even if he doesn't sign Tanguay (but please do,) he should be heavily considered for the position.

I think that will wrap up today's post. Keep checking back for more news, notes, and opinions here at Sunshine State Hockey.

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