The Florida Panthers open training camp in less than two weeks (Sept 12th) and most of the players are set to return to Florida next week (Sept 6th) so it’s time to share a few Panthers related stories (courtesy of The Litter Box) and how they relate to the Amerks. The Litter Box is an excellent site that is part of the growing SB Nation, an excellent network of sports blogs. Keep that site bookmarked if you want to stay up to date on the Panthers.
*** Panthers plan season without GM — This probably explains the lack of activity by the Panthers this summer. On the flipside this summer has felt like a dream come true for Amerks fans compared to the previous few years. The owner has been busy spending money signing players building a team that should be a contender, at least on paper. One concern has been that the Panthers could call up some of these players should they need help, such as Jeff Taffe.
*** Panthers Roster — speaking of Taffe, the Panthers web site was updated with the teams roster to also include numbers and on that roster is Jeff Taffe and Clay Wilson, two of the five players signed over the summer that we’re hoping to see in Rochester.
*** Rob Tallas named Florida Panthers goaltending coach — the official title for Tallas is goaltending consultant. Pierre Groulx was the previous goaltending coach who is now employed in Montreal. We often saw Groulx in Rochester last season assisting the Amerks goaltenders. Panthers’ coach Pete DeBoer expects Tallas to spend more time in Rochester this season. A couple of weeks ago DeBoer told Steve Gorten of the Sun Sentinel the following about the consultant position:
“I see our goaltending coach this year being a guy that spends three-quarters of his time with us and with [Scott] Clemmensen and [Tomas] Vokoun; is going to spend more time in Rochester than Pierre did last year with some of our young guys; is going to get over to Sweden and see [Jacob] Markstrom play a couple more times. That’s going to be the job description.”
*** The Flat Bottom V – described as, “a skate-sharpening system created by Blackstone Sports of Ontario. Makers of standard sharpeners and accessories for over eleven years, Blackstone co-founder Steve Wilson and his design team created a revolutionary new process for sharpening a skate, allowing for previously unheard-of speed and grip.”
Cory Stillman tested out the new skate sharpening system and it quickly spread throughout the team. It’ll be interesting to see if any of the players in Rochester have tried it out.
Described by assistant equipment manager Chris Moody as “blown away” and smiling from ear to ear after the initial tryout on BankAtlantic Center ice, Stillman immediately fell in love, demanded Wilson leave the machine (his only demo unit), and promptly crowed from the mountaintops (or I-95 overpass, whatever) about the validity of the technology and how his skating had evolved – in one trial – to a level he could hardly have imagined. By the season finale in April, up to fifteen Panthers had moved on to the Flat Bottom V and vowed never to return to the old school single-diamond standard.