Bill Lindsay played in the National Hockey League for the Quebec Nordiques, Florida Panthers, Calgary Flames, San Jose Sharks, Montreal Canadiens and the Atlanta Thrashers. He was drafted 103rd overall by the Nordiques in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft. Lindsay played in 777 NHL regular season games, scoring 83 goals and 141 assists for 224 points and picking up 922 penalty minutes. Lindsay was a part of the Florida Panthers team that made it all the way to the Stanley Cup finals in the 1995–96 NHL season, on April 27, 1996 Bill Lindsay scored the winning goal to give the Panthers their first-ever playoff series victory. Now he is a tv analyst with the Panthers.
I got a chance to talk with Bill about the state of the Florida Panthers team last Friday…
Josh: Bill it’s such an exciting day, you’ve been here a long time…what’s it like seeing such change?
Bill Lindsay: I’m excited it’s been a long time since the team had such direction. There was a commitment last year to make movements to free up salary, so they had some money to spend, they wanted to remake this team and start over with draft picks and get a new nucleus involved and there was some backlash from the fans last year who didn’t quite understand…but you get here to July 1st and see some of the draft picks the Panthers made, some of the signings they have made and you can see there is a clear direction in which they are going. They want to be younger, faster and stronger…and you see there is now a heavy North American influence and a strong core of guys who compete and who have strong personalities. Dale did this before in Chicago and that’s what he is trying to do here.
Josh: Tell us what it’s like having Ed Jovanovski back in the lineup?
Bill Lindsay: I’ve known Eddie a long time, played with him a lot of years and he has lived here in the offseason the last few seasons. He has gone from a kid who grew up here with the Panthers to being and All-Star to playing 1,000 games and now he comes back in a totally different role. Now he is a veteran leader on this team, he still has some gas in the tank as far as playing and he still competes on a very high level, and now he will provide solid leadership for the team on the backend.
I think if you asked Eddie he had so many mentors here in South Florida with Gord Murphy and Scott Mellanby. Eddie has seen a lot in his career and now he comes back home to Florida to provide a stabilizing influence in the locker room.
Josh: How do you feel about the new coaching staff, some of these guys you played under or with…?
Bill Lindsay: Well, Craig Ramsay was my first assistant coach here and Gord Murphy I played with for many years. Craig Ramsay may be one of the most positive people I’ve ever met in my life, he taught me a lot about the game as he coached me back in the day. His X and O’s strategy in the game was the best that I was ever around and Gord Murphy was that way when he played.
Of course I never played under or for Kevin Dineen, but I played a lot against Kevin Dineen and I know how he was on the ice, mean, nasty, tough and I think that is what he’s going to bring here. With that coaching staff comes a lot of accountability, there will be no shortcuts for players anymore, you are going to be asked to do your job, if you do, you will be rewarded with ice time. I think it will be extremely fair, and that’s why we got players who are going to be accountable and do what needs to be done here on the ice.
Josh: How do you like the new Red sweaters?
Bill Lindsay: I like the Red jerseys and always have. It’s nice to see the guys wearing it. We are back…it’s not an expansion team, but a rebuild, however it feels a lot like it did when the Panthers started. There is a lot of excitement and with 11 new players the time has come for change, there is a new, clear cut direction and I can’t understate how important that is, we are focused on one thing and that is building this thing the right way.
Thanks for talking to me Bill!
…and thanks for reading!
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