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A Different Season For Nieuwendyk

Wednesday, 08.29.2007 / 8:00 PM ET / News
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A Different Season For Nieuwendyk
By Dave Joseph for floridapanters.com

Summer was different this time.

Joe Nieuwendyk
No arduous workouts. No preparation.

For the first time in 20 years, Joe Nieuwendyk didn’t have to prepare for another NHL season. For the first time in 20 years, Nieuwendyk was nothing more than “a full time dad.”

“It’s been different, no question about that,” Nieuwendyk admitted. “I haven’t had to stress about getting away to get a couple of hours of training in. Other than playing once a week with a group of friends in Ithaca (New York), I’ve been fully committed to being a full time dad.”

While Nieuwendyk hasn’t had to think about playing another season of hockey, that doesn’t mean he hasn’t thought about his next career in the game. The 2007-08 season will mark Nieuwendyk’s first full season as special consultant to Panthers’ GM and coach Jacques Martin.

“It’s something I’m looking forward to,” said Nieuwendyk, who retired in December after chronic back problems curtailed a career in which the four-time All-Star scored 564 goals and played on three different Stanley Cup champions. “I’m looking forward to seeing some of our kids develop and working with Jacques and the team.”

Nieuwendyk signed on as consultant with the Panthers in April. Over the summer he joined the Panthers at the Entry Draft and attended the Panthers’ Teen Ranch for rookies. The future Hall of Famer has been impressed with the team’s youth.

“I think we have some good ones coming up, guys like (Michael) Frolic and (Kenndal) McArdle,” Nieuwendyk said. “I’ve seen some of the guys at camp this summer and I really liked the look of them and I think it’s going to be fun watching these kids progress.”

Martin believes Nieuwendyk’s experience, knowledge and understanding of the game can help the Panthers in countless ways.

“Joe brings so much to the table,” Martin said. “I think he’ll be a tremendous help in looking at some of the players we have in Rochester (of the American Hockey League). I think a major responsibility of his will be helping us evaluate talent, whether it’s younger players or free agents coming up next season.

“You know, Joe has such knowledge of the team. There’s so many different areas he can fit and help us. He loves being involved. He loves being around the game. You’re looking at someone who has won the Stanley Cup with three organizations in Calgary, Dallas and New Jersey. Joe will be a great help.”

When asked if part of his role will be helping younger players to develop into leaders, Nieuwendyk, who scored 30 or more goals eight times in his career, said; “I’ve never tried to be somebody I’m not. I think when you’ve been in the league as long as I have or, say, (friend and former teammate) Gary Roberts has, just being yourself can influence younger players.”

Nieuwendyk, who played his final two years in Florida and had 26 goals (56 points) in 65 games in 2005-06, believes the Panthers can go far if they come together.

“Every year is different whether you win the Stanley Cup or miss the playoffs,” he said. “I think it all depends on how guys jell, and that takes a lot of work. It’a a challenge.

“We went out and got a goaltender (Tomas Vokoun) and some goal scorers. Now you have to pull together as a group. That’s the biggest challenge – coming together and relying on each other.”

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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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