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Dave Strader's Playoff Blog for April 24th

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers

Hello Panthers fans! Let me begin my first Stanley Cup playoff blog by thanking all of you who watched the Panthers on FSN this season. I know you'll all agree that the second half run by the Panthers re-energized South Florida and gave us all a good feeling heading into next season!

Although the Panthers missed the playoffs this season, I am fortunate to have been hired by NBC and OLN to cover the first two rounds of the playoffs. I will then move on to NHL Radio for the conference finals (probably in the West) and wrap it all up with the international telecasts of the Stanley Cup finals. By the way, Denis Potvin will be busy during these playoffs as well. Anyone with XM satellite radio can catch Denis Monday through Friday on the XM hockey channel!

For those of you who think that life on the road is glamorous, let me share my itinerary over the past six days since Denis and I signed off the air last Tuesday following the Cats 2-1 OT win over the Thrashers. I was in my car by 10:15pm and headed to my home in upstate NY. (Once the Panthers were eliminated from playoff contention, I had made plans to get back to my family as soon as possible.) I drove as far as Jacksonville after the game. Six hours later, I was on the road again and made it just north of Wilmington, Delaware for another six hour nap. On Thursday, I arrived home around 2:30pm, attended my son's lacrosse game, had a home cooked meal, and I was picked up at 8:30am on Friday for my trip to Dallas...playoff assignment #1!

The atmosphere inside American Airlines Center made me realize why I love this job(even with the travel...and there's more to come on that). The place was sold out and rocking. We were in the low broadcast position (instead of the normal press box above the nose bleed seats) right behind the last row of the lower bowl. My partner, Brian Hayward, and I could feel the energy in the building right from our on camera open. Our second analyst, Peter McNab, was our "Man Inside the Glass", positioned right between the benches. If you haven't checked out an NBC telecast yet, make it a point to watch next Saturday at 3:00pm or Sunday at 1:00pm (or set the Tivo!). The Man Inside the Glass is not a "sideline reporter", but someone who participates throughout the telecasts (NBC is taking a page from their NASCAR coverage).

After the game, a surprise 5-2 win for the visiting Avalanche, it was in a car and off to the airport to catch a 6:30pm flight to Toronto. I had to connect there to a midnight flight to Ottawa for Sunday's OLN coverage of Tampa Bay at Ottawa. Despite some weather issues, I made it to Ottawa about 1:00am....but my luggage didn't!!

Today I will travel to Tampa for games 3 and 4 of that series for OLN (Tuesday and Thursday) and then it's back to NBC for a Saturday game in Detroit (Gm 5: Wings-Oilers) and then Sunday back in Dallas (Gm 5: Stars-Avs).

I'll be back at the end of the week with another playoff update!!

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