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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 WSH 51 38 9 4 166 114 80
2 FLA 53 31 16 6 143 118 68
3 NYR 53 30 18 5 150 135 65
4 TBL 52 29 19 4 138 123 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 DET 53 27 18 8 133 131 62
7 PIT 52 27 18 7 138 132 61
8 NYI 51 27 18 6 143 127 60
9 NJD 54 26 21 7 120 122 59
10 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
11 MTL 54 26 24 4 143 143 56
12 OTT 54 25 23 6 153 166 56
13 PHI 51 23 19 9 121 133 55
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 50 16 21 11 37
J. Huberdeau 53 10 27 9 37
A. Barkov 43 16 19 13 35
J. Jokinen 53 10 25 11 35
V. Trocheck 53 17 16 3 33
R. Smith 53 16 15 10 31
B. Pirri 49 10 13 -5 23
A. Ekblad 49 10 12 20 22
B. Campbell 53 4 16 16 20
N. Bjugstad 38 9 8 -4 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 23 13 5 .930 2.13
A. Montoya 8 3 1 .929 2.01

 
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