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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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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Huberdeau 79 15 39 10 54
J. Jokinen 81 8 36 -2 44
N. Bjugstad 72 24 19 -7 43
A. Ekblad 81 12 27 12 39
B. Boyes 78 14 24 11 38
A. Barkov 71 16 20 -4 36
J. Hayes 72 19 16 -4 35
B. Campbell 82 3 24 4 27
B. Pirri 49 22 2 6 24
D. Bolland 53 6 17 4 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 28 19 12 .921 2.35
A. Montoya 6 7 2 .892 3.01
 
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