Missed a couple of these earlier, but good good stuff from the locals over the past day.
- In Fort Lauderdale, Steve Gorten of the Sun-Sentinel spoke with Panthers Assistant-to-Nobody Randy Sexton, who spilled a bit about the current state of his organization.
The Panthers have made a major trade at the draft each of the past three years, and Sexton, who will attend next week's draft in Montreal, said: "We'd like to fill a few of our needs by the draft if we can . . . through trades that could take place at the draft."
Those needs, Sexton said, are of a "No. 2 center" and "if Jay doesn't come back, then we'll need to find a mobile, puck-moving D."
Perhaps a year from now the search will be on for that elusive "No. 1 center", but I digress; he's most likely attempting to sidestep insulting Stephen Weiss. Otherwise, by his own definition above, I'd say the Cats will be looking for a mobile, puck-moving D.
The Great Anderson-Vokoun Debate rages on, but both sides are playing it cool. From Andy:
"If Florida comes up with something that's agreeable to both sides, I like it in Florida," Anderson said. "I'm not opposed to signing before July 1 if something makes sense. If something doesn't make sense, then I'll wait."
Still out to lunch on this one, though my guess is T-Vo will be dealt for scoring, giving Andy the starter's role. As for a backup? The Ray Emery circus has landed in Philadelphia, so we won't have him to kick around. Conklin?
- A little further down I-95 at the Miami Herald, George Richards took a field trip to the Panthers new training facility digs at IncredibleICE in Coral Springs, and liked what he saw:
The hockey team soon will boast one of the finest training facilities in the NHL, one that will be ready as players return from their offseason homes this summer.
The Panthers hope this facility -- which includes a regulation rink, a gymnasium-size workout room, locker room and office space for coaches and team management -- will be a big selling point when the free agency period opens July 1.
A great article which almost gives one chills when reading terms like "world-class facility", "second-to-none", and "(the players) are not going to believe their eyes". Yes, we're still discussing the Panthers here. For all the Debbie Downers out there constantly railing against Florida's ownership and management (justifiably so, at times), the club really is making an effort to turn the tide.
- Richards also covers some Sexton with a side of Zednik and Booth, plus draft talk.
- More enlightened Cats talk, this time from Tim Furious at BetUs.com:
That claim is bolstered by the Panthers soon having access to the finest practice facility in the National Hockey League. Coral Springs remains in the state of Florida, yes?
- Finally, and certainly not least, I'd like to send a heartfelt "thank you" to all who voted for me during the HockeyBarn Rookie Writer of the Year award. This entire endeavor has been all about bring Panthers fans together and discussing our most important common link. Without the active participants in our "community" The Box would be a shadow of its current form. Each of you are responsible for the success of this blog, and I'm forever indebted. Puck Daddy's got the details at Yahoo!, and my sincere congratulations to all involved. NOTE FROM THE PRESENTATION VIDEO: Glenn Anderson, Hall of Famer that he is, has in the words of Japer "Frenchified" my last name even further than it already is, and the picture displayed is not me, but my brother. Don't ask. Enjoy the limelight, Scotty! And why so serious?