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Looking Ahead

Friday, 05.18.2007 / 3:28 PM ET / News
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Looking Ahead

by Dave Joseph for floridapanthers.com


“The game is the same – it’s just up on a different level.” Bob Dylan

Things are different this time.

Nathan Horton will tell you that after a morning workout here at BankAtlantic Center with a dozen other Panthers. Stephen Weiss will tell you that after meeting more than 500 fans at a recent Cats Cookout.

“There’s a feeling this summer,” Weiss said.

It’s that the Panthers’ game in 2007-08 is moving to a different level. In the words of Nathan Horton: “We’re going to start and not look back.”

Nearly two months after playing their final game of the 2006-07 season, the Panthers can’t seem to wait until training camp to begin. There’s a hunger to get back on the ice and pick up where they left off last season.

“Our team is ready to take the next step,” Horton said.

The reason for the optimism is quite simple. Despite a sluggish start, the Panthers ended the season on a roll, going 25-13-10 after Dec. 15 and finishing the final 22 games 12-5-5.

The 21-year-old Horton had his first 30-goal season (31) while setting a career-high for points (62). The 22-year-old Weiss had his first 20-goal season, set a career-high in points (48), and became the youngest Panther to ever wear the ‘A’ on his sweater. Rostislav Olesz, just 22, also set career records in goals (19), assists (32) and points (51).

Production didn’t just come from the youngsters. Captain Olli Jokinen set career marks in goals (39), assists (52) and points (91) while leading the team in offense for the second consecutive year. Defenseman Ruslan Salei set career marks in goals (6) and points (32) while defenseman Bryan Allen set career marks in assists (21) and points (25).

It’s all making for a team that’s hungry and out to prove something come the 2007-08 season.

“I think we’re coming together as a team,” Horton said. “Everyone wants to win. We’re watching the playoffs and everyone wants to be there next season and that’s why everybody is working so hard now, to come into camp and be the best they can be.

“Everyone is ready. You can tell. Everyone is focused on winning. The way to win is to work hard, and, like the fans, we can’t wait to come back. It’s exciting to be around.”

Weiss says the Panthers will enter training camp prepared to start the season strong.

“We have to come into camp with a chip on our shoulder,” he said. “I hope everyone is upset (about last year’s slow start). That is the key to us. We have to be upset right away and play like that early. We can’t wait a couple months to play the way we do in the second half of the season. We have to come out and be angry early.”

Things are definitely different this time.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 79 27 39 23 66
J. Jokinen 81 18 42 25 60
A. Barkov 66 28 31 18 59
J. Huberdeau 76 20 39 17 59
V. Trocheck 76 25 28 15 53
R. Smith 82 25 25 19 50
A. Ekblad 78 15 21 18 36
N. Bjugstad 67 15 19 -8 34
B. Campbell 82 6 25 31 31
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18

 
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