Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Alanah McGinley on 03/18/09 at 09:01 PM ET
From Wes Goldstein at CBSSports:
Their gamble was keeping Jay Bouwmeester, their much-coveted young defenseman who could walk away for nothing this summer as a free agent and was arguably the most valuable potential asset at the deadline. Bouwmeester has rejected several contract extension offers from the Panthers over the last few years, leading to the widely held assumption around the league that he is just counting the days until he gets out of Florida.
He won’t deny that, but the Panthers still resisted the temptation to deal him because he is their best player in the midst of a strong season and they are real playoff contenders for the first time since the turn of the century. Getting there is critical to an organization struggling to attract fans, and keeping Bouwmeester, despite the risk of coming away empty-handed was supposed to send a vote of confidence to the players along with the message that the future is now.
But if the message was received, something apparently got lost in translation by a team that doesn’t seem to have any real leaders in the dressing room or even a captain.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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