Happy 4th. Source: Dominator Fireworks.com

Daily Pucking Grind. Talk Of The Town. July 4th.

Today’s music choice is Talk of the Town by The Pretenders.

First of all Happy 4th of July today to all of you.  Enjoy the day, and safely celebrate our independence.  And a special thanks to those that have served our country.

As my title says, the Florida Panthers and general manager Dale Tallon have created a buzz this area hasn’t felt since at least the Pavel Bure era over 10 years ago, and maybe even since the Cup run of 1996.  The die hard fans are ecstatic, and they should be.  For the first time in years the promises of change, and new direction have apparently come to be.  For the first time a general manager who has taken the job, and has indicated what and how he wanted to do things has.  It would seem that before free agency started Dale Tallon might have said to the Panthers ownership, give me the keys to the Lexus, and get the hell out of my way…I’m driving this car (in a nice way of course).

See in the past we’ve heard all the promises of improvement, the statements about turnaround, all the promo’s with the silly phrases, and everything turned out to be a big lie.  From Rick Dudley, to Mike Keenan, JM the GM, otherwise known as Uncle Jack around these parts, up until now the Florida Panther’s have either had a general manager in place who had no idea how to do the job (Martin), or an ownership group that lied to to his staff and never allowed them to do what was right.  One of the previously mentioned GM’s indicated a while ago that there was no pressure to win here in Floida, and that the story and direction of the club was not the same one that was outlined in the job description.  See folks, us fans have not been the only one’s that were sold a bill of goods.

In one day however, everything has changed.  For the better.  Dale Tallon has changed the culture, wiped the slate clean, and created a product that right now, on paper will challenge for a playoff spot.  Sure some of the players we signed on Friday were signed to contracts that were a little too much.  But the NHL says that you must spend to the salary cap floor.  We had $22 million to spend, and still have just under $800,000 left to spend to get to that floor according to Cap Geek. We also have a few players to sign such as Mike Santorelli and Erik Gudbranson, both of whom I wold like to see on this roster this coming season.

I’m not claiming Stanley Cup, and I’m not guaranteeing playoff success yet.  However for a change we have hope.  We have something to be excited about, and it’s real.  Whether the combination of players acquired can get the job done will remain to be seen.  But what we now have is a team that will have some balanced scoring, a pretty solid defence with the right mix of veterans and youngsters, and a goaltender that’s good, but won’t need to be great.  We have skill, grit, and snarl.  Even a couple players that will be fun! It’s a good feeling for a change, and you can feel the buzz, which for once isn’t coming from drinking a 12 pack.  If I haven’t said it already, I’ll say it now….Thank you Dale, thank you Panther ownership, and thank you to the players and agents who made these deals happen.  I can’t wait for October!

Here’s a few links for today:

My friend Bill Whitehead wants Canada to settle down.  Couldn’t agree more.  NHL Hot Stove.

Dan Spiegel another friend of the Rat Trick tells people to get off our backs.

The winners and losers of day one of Free Agency by Puck Daddy.

The Toronto Maple Leafs did nothing on day one.  Brian Burke was out of town, but that’s no excuse is it?  Pension Plan Puppets.

Tomas Vokoun takes a huge discount for a chance at success.  I wish him well, except the 6 games he plays against us.  TSN.ca.

Dany Heatley gets to take his no show playoff game to Minnesota for Marty Havlat.  Mike Russo.

Justin Bourne tells us why long term deals in the NHL are a bad idea.

Thanks for reading.   We welcome your comments and opinions.

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Tags: Dale Tallon Florida Panthers Get Off Our Back Jacques Martin Mike Keenan Rick Dudley Talk Of The Town The Pretenders Tomas Vokoun

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