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Looking Ahead

Friday, 05.18.2007 / 3:28 PM / 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.

UPCOMING EVENTS

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 76 16 22 -14 38
S. Upshall 76 15 22 1 37
B. Campbell 82 7 30 -6 37
B. Boyes 78 21 15 -6 36
S. Bergenheim 62 16 13 -16 29
J. Huberdeau 69 9 19 -5 28
T. Fleischmann 80 8 20 -18 28
T. Gilbert 73 3 25 -5 28
B. Pirri 49 13 12 6 25
A. Barkov 54 8 16 -3 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 25 23 7 .919 2.40
S. Clemmensen 6 7 1 .896 3.09
 
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