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Officially Under Way

Friday, 09.14.2007 / 5:43 PM ET / News
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Officially Under Way
By Dave Joseph for floridapanthers.com

Just before 7 a.m., as the village of Vail was waking to a clear sky and morning chill, the Panthers officially kicked off their 14th training camp with drills on the ice, workouts off the ice, and a genuine feeling of enthusiasm.

“It’s always nice to get started,” said captain Olli Jokinen, who led the first group onto the ice at 7 a.m., at Dobson Arena, a 29-year-old building with a pine ceiling that has hosted several NHL teams and concerts by Ray Charles and The Fray. “It’s been a long summer, so we’re happy to get started. I think everyone is excited.”
Dominique Taylor (Vail Daily)

The 42 players brought to Vail by GM and coach Jacques Martin were split into two groups. The first group was led by Jokinen, Ruslan Salei, Tomas Vokoun, Jozef Stumpel, Branislav Mezei and Cory Murphy while the second group included Stephen Weiss, Nathan Horton, Jay Bouwmeester and David Booth.

Martin watched from the stands with special assistant Joe Nieuwendyk while each group skated 90 minutes under the on-ice direction of assistant coaches Guy Charron, Mike Kitchen and Pierre Groulx. The players then took part in a one-hour workout under the direction of strength and conditioning coach Andy O’Brien.

“There’s definitely a lot of enthusiasm around the team,” Martin said after watching the practices. “I think it’s a real positive. The fitness results this year have been the best since I joined the organization. I think it shows the commitment of players during the off-season as far as training and as far as being conscious of wanting to improve on some of their skill level whether it was strength or power or quickness.”

While Charron raced the players through numerous drills on the ice, O’Brien worked the players off the ice in an indoor basketball court.

“Our off-ice workouts are about an hour long and we try to keep it really intense,” O’Brien said. “We split the group into two. Right now what we’re doing is half of the group is doing some bike sprints, high level intensity, and the other group is doing foot drills, speed work and lower body core strength work.

“It’s an opportunity to push the guys and develop a standard of intensity that we want them to work with, not only through training camp but carry it over into the season. And, hopefully, it will make them feel really fresh and really fit when they start the season.”

One player feeling fresh was 30-year-old ‘rookie’ defenseman Cory Murphy, acquired as a free agent after playing the previous six seasons in Finland and Sweden after never being drafted.

“It’s exciting,” Murphy said. “The first day is exciting anywhere, but to be here with this team is really exciting. It’s a good group and it’s a lot of fun.”

The Panthers, who were welcomed at owner Alan Cohen’s home Friday evening for dinner, will skate Saturday morning at Dobson Arena before boarding a plane that will carry them to Calgary, where they’ll play their first preseason game Sunday evening against the Flames. It will be the first of three games in three consecutive days stretching from Calgary to Edmonton to Saskatoon. After a day off, the Panthers will play Sept. 20 against the Blackhawks in Chicago before heading back to South Florida.

The Panthers first preseason game at home will be Sept. 25 at noon against the Blackhawks.

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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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