Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 02/07/06 at 11:34 AM ET
This spring, the Panthers will pay. Maybe overpay. Because they won't have a choice. When doing their ''Up With People Under the Salary Cap'' act during the NHL's lost winter, franchises such as the Panthers claimed that only a cap would allow them to keep the core talent they develop. Well, no two players occupy more of the Panthers' nucleus than the two who have evolved so well since their 2000 draft-day acquisition from the Islanders. Remove either, and the team is set back two or three seasons while all the young talent reforms itself into a new core. Luongo knows it. Jokinen knows it. Believe that neither one wants to stay here if he has to go through that.more
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