Panthers Play-by-Play Radio Announcer Steve "Goldie" Goldstein to Post Updates Throughout the Day
The Olli Jokinen saga is over...the Captain is still a Panther and will be until 2010. The Panthers have stepped up to the plate and hit a grand slam. Ownership has clearly shown its desire to win with this deal, the re-signing of Gratton today and the multi year multi million dollar deal on the table for Roberto Luongo. And there will still be cash left to improve the defense. Those are the positive long term ramifications of the Jokinen deal. Short term it gives the players positive reinforcement in the dressing room and with seven of the next eight games at home...who knows? A playoff spot may still be in the cards. Overall, today is one of the best days in Panthers history, signaling a clear commitment to winning and proving there is a plan and clear direction for this hockey club.
Trading deadline day in the NHL is always fun. The Panthers have made news this hour by re-signing center Chris Gratton. He was due to be a free agent and the Cats gave him a new 2 year deal. Super move as Gratton has 14 goals, has played well on special teams and is a player that leads off the ice. But bigger than that, the signing shows the Panthers are serious about building a winning program. In the past, players of Gratton's ilk would have been traded for a draft pick on deadline day. It also shows the players that management believes the team can still make a run at the playoffs. If last night's home win vs. Ottawa is a signal, the next few weeks at the BankAtlantic Center will be very interesting. I'll write updates throughout the day as news breaks.