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What Changed With The Florida Panthers?

from Dave Hyde of the South Florida Sun Sentinel,

That sounds lofty, even theoretical. Here’s what it means: Patric Hornqvist, one of the veterans Zito brought in this season, said something as everyone moved off the ice after a pre-season practice.

“He said, ‘Where’s everyone going? We’re not done,’ " Zito said. “Did some players need to hear from a guy like him about putting in more work? He even said it to [goalie Sergei Bobrovsky], who’s one of the hardest-working guys I’ve seen. ‘Hey, we need to work on the penalty kill.’ "

Maybe the change in the standings started there. Maybe it started with coach Joel Quenneville getting some players he needed for this team. Maybe it just was Zito signing Hornqvist, Carter Verhaeghe, Radko Gudas — you can go down the roster of new, supporting names brought in before this season.

This moribund franchise had signed new players for years. Just the previous year, they brought in so many players the news conference had to have two shifts because there weren’t enough seats at the table to accommodate them all at once.

Here’s the difference: These signings led to wins. Again, serendipity? Again, luck? The nucleus of this team, the stars like Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Frank Vatrano and until his injury Aaron Ekblad, were brought in by previous general manager Dale Tallon.


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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.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com