NHL rosters are now frozen through the Olympics; with one game remaining for Florida (Saturday vs. Boston, 7pm) this last blast of Sunrise hockey until March almost has a feel of lame-duck creeping in to it. And by "lame-duck" we're referring to the very good chance that this will be the final appearance in a Cats uniform for a number of short- and long-term Panthers. We'll probably say it again at the trading deadline. And on the eve of the draft. And July 1st.
When ownership begins speaking in tones like "it is clear that our team, the way it is currently structured, is not equipped to meet the goals and objectives that we have set for ourselves, our fans and our partners," the day of reckoning has arrived.
Forward Dominic Moore - the last to blame for fortunes gone awry this season - has already been shown the door in what's being hailed primarily as a win for GM Randy Sexton's office early Thursday night.
A minor deal, to be sure, but expectations of major movement were insanely dialed up this morning following another unemotional loss on the heels of comments from pundits around the league proclaiming Florida would be "open for business" if the Cats dropped to Vancouver.
Throw in a call-up from Rochester, a drop-everything organizational pow wow, and a cancelled practice, all capped by the release of the now-famous "Letter from the Owners", and the seeds of mucho-expectation were planted.
The Amerks' promotion was Jeff Taffe filling in for Rostislav Olesz and his gimpy finger; not - as I certainly presumed - coverage for a soon-to-be-dealt forward. Little quick on the trigger today, but understandably.
Anyway, morning rolled into afternoon without a peep from the folks at Panther Parkway. They were under no obligation to make a move of any sort, and to their extreme credit, no high-pressure or deals-for-the-sake-of-making-deals were consummated. That was as positive a sign as any.
On Frozen Pond's GR got a few moments with Sexton, who sounds a bit frazzled after a tense day, but confident in stating "The process is all about getting better. In some cases we may be selling, some may be buying. I don't think anyone is happy where we are."
Whatever the case, put in your PTO request for March 3rd now...