An email circulated Monday from Dale Tallon to Florida Panthers season seat owners (exclusively, I believe); pretty standard stuff but at least the man takes time to put forth the effort by recognizing fan support, and worth a read just on that level alone...
I hope you all had a great weekend and enjoyed our team’s exciting come-from-behind win against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night.
Prior to the game I had the opportunity to talk with many of you about the season thus far and our strategy for the future and one of the things I mentioned was the hard-work and resiliency that this Florida Panthers team continues to show, even now.
That resiliency was on clear display Saturday evening when we came back from a 2-1 deficit with less than a minute remaining in the third period to win 3-2 in overtime. What was even more rewarding was the fact that it was many of our young up-and-coming players that contributed to the victory.
Defenseman Dmitry Kulikov scored the game winner, forward Shawn Matthias scored two more goals, rookie Jonathan Huberdeau had two more assists, while young goaltender Jacob Markstrom stood tall in net.
It was a good win for our team, especially in front of our home fans who deserve more games like Saturday night. Our fans have been incredible in supporting us all season long, especially during a season where we have been ravaged by injuries and have not gotten the results that we wanted.
As I said on Saturday, I’m not happy. But one tough season is not going to deter us from executing our plan. I’ve said this many times before – we have a blueprint for success and we know that it works so we are going to continue to follow it.
In addition to the players I mentioned above, we have some other great young prospects that are maturing right in front of our eyes this year. Players like defenseman Erik Gudbranson, forward Drew Shore, and others.
We also have some good veteran leaders that we can count on as we move forward including defenseman Brian Campbell and forward Tomas Fleischmann.
Meanwhile, we have an incredible group of prospects waiting in the wings including forwards Nick Bjugstad, Corban Knight, Rocco Grimaldi and Vincent Trocheck and defensemen Alex Petrovic, Colby Robak and Michael Matheson. Not to mention the fact that we are likely to have two high picks in this year’s draft which is full of high-end talent.
Yes, this season has been a struggle and I understand your disappointment because I am disappointed as well. But one tough year does not change the extremely bright future for this franchise. We know where we are going and we know how to get there. This team is going to be a contender for many years to come, and we need you and all of our fans supporting us on this journey.
Thank you for your passion and support and go Panthers.
Executive Vice President & General Manager, Hockey Operations
Florida Panthers Hockey Club
Again, nothing revolutionary but at least he's being upfront during a tough year and not hiding his head in the sand - a trait which seems simply unthinkable from the guy. George Richards followed up on Tallon's SSO appearance Saturday with a couple of quick notes here, including:
Florida would like to have its collegiate players start in the minors but may have Bjugstad -- projected to be a top-end center -- finish this season in Florida.