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Booth Eyes Friday Return

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers
LW David Booth
By Dave Joseph for

David Booth is back.
Less than a week after being carried off the ice in Ottawa on a stretcher, the Panthers energetic forward is ready to return to the lineup Friday when the Panthers play host at BankAtlantic Center to the Sabres.

“I’m excited to come back so soon,” said Booth, who suffered a sore neck after being knocked into the boards Saturday evening at Scotiabank Place by the Senators’ Anton Volchenkov. “Even watching one game (from the sidelines) you get the itch.”
Volchenkov’s hit was scary enough to necessitate Booth being carried off the ice and sent to Ottawa Civic Hospital for tests. But after working the past five days on his range of motion, Booth is ready to return almost a week sooner than originally speculated.
“It could have been a lot worse,” Booth said. “I really believe God was watching over me and made my recovery time quicker than I thought. When I was laying (on the ice) I said, ‘I think I’m going to be out a while.’ ”
Booth asked to get up and leave the ice under his own power. “But when I couldn’t move my neck (trainers and doctors) said, ‘Hey, we don’t want to take any chances.’ ”
“I guess there’s nothing wrong with too much safety,” Booth added. “If I got up it could have made it much worse.”
GM and coach Jacques Martin said he was glad the necessary precautions were taken on the ice.
“When our trainer Curtis (Bell) got there, David’s neck was really sore,” Martin said. “(Booth) never lost consciousness. He didn’t have a concussion. But because there was soreness there were precautions taken. That’s why we sent him to the hospital, too. You want to make sure everything checks out. But Davis is a well conditioned athlete, and that helps, too.”
Martin was pleased with the Panthers 4-3 victory Wednesday against the previously, once-defeated Flyers. The Panthers outshot, outworked and outchanced the Flyers.
“I thought our game last night was our best game of the season,” Martin said. “I thought our intensity was better. I thought we outworked the Flyers (Wednesday) night. And I think we made much better decisions. In other games we play well for a period and it seems we deviate or try to play a (different) game. I thought (Wednesday) we stuck with making good decisions and not putting ourselves in trouble.”
Martin was also pleased with the way his team responded after allowing the Flyers to score two quick goals to tie the game.
“I really liked after they scored their second goal, the next two shifts we had the puck in their zone the whole time,” he added. “We kind of took the momentum back and showed some good poise. So that’s encouraging.”
So was the fact the Panthers outchanced the Flyers 18-7.
“Those are the kind of games you want to see,” he added.
Tomas Vokoun is expected to start Friday’s game against the Sabres. Martin said he hadn’t decided whether Vokoun would play Saturday in Nashville against his former team.

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