There was one player not afraid to make his feelings known and that was Jamie Johnson. He shared his displeasure with the lack of acknowlegdment that the Florida Panthers gave to him as well as what seemed like a lack of respect from the head coach (no problems with Jason Cipolla). During the tough times in the season when other players were injured or called up he was one player on the ice every game playing through his own injuries and contributing night in and night out. How was he repayed? By technically playing a role on the third line in the playoffs.
Johnson said that it was a wasted season. The franchise turned things around from worst to second place but this season they should still be playing for the Calder Cup.
Jeff Taffe, Graham Mink, Mike York and Jamie Johnson all talked about the decisions made in the playoffs and said they’re not really sure how they came to be, whether it was Groulx or someone higher but what happened happened.
One player not going to the arena today for exit meetings was Rory Fitzpatrick. On Tuesday night he said he was not going to be there for meetings with the coaches and Randy Sexton.
I think the players would have wished they had separate meetings, one with the coaches and one without the coaches and just Randy Sexton in the room. When you’re together in a room with your boss and his boss there are certain things that you do not want to say.
Mike York and Jamie Johnson were on one year contracts, York said he enjoyed his time here and would definitely think about coming back. Jamie Johnson said he’s going elsewhere to try and chase his dream of playing in the NHL. He said he loved Rochester but he’d never give Florida the time of day again. In the future an AHL deal could be an option.
Graham Mink was political in his answers and said it was tough watching the game seven loss but what happened is over with.
Everyone heard the “Groulx Must Go” chants during the game last night. Everyone. The players, the coaches, staff, management and ownership. Ted Nolan and Lewis Staats said that with the full affiliation agreement they can’t make there own changes but in meetings with the Florida Panthers those are things that will come up in discussion.
Maybe down the line when the emotions and dust settles some thoughts will change, but right now all fingers point at the man in charge of making decisions, the coach.
Check out this quote to Kevin O at the D&C:
Groulx seemed a little surprise to hear the criticism. “It’s so easy when it’s over to start pointing fingers,” Groulx said. “I’m not going to do that. I have too much respect for players here.”
Rory Fitzpatrick talked after the game on Tuesday night about the poor communication on the ground level of the team between the people making player decisions and the actual players. He would not directly say it was the coaches, but there’s no way Randy Sexton is making phone calls and telling Groulx what to do.
To end for now on a positive note, every player has great things to say about Ted Nolan, Jody Gage, Lewis Staats and Curt Styres. They all love playing for those guys. Lewis Staats said that Jody Gage will be back and that they plan to have Ted Nolan back as well. Ted Nolan said he loved working here and would love to come back as well.
I think there’s only one change that needs to be made.
A lot more in the days ahead from the final days of the season including today’s locker cleanout.