Panther GM Jacques Martin spoke to the media Thursday afternoon regarding the 2008-09 schedule.
What do you think of this schedule?
Martin: “I think one good thing about the schedule is we get to play everyone this year. I like our month of October. I think the start of the schedule and the end of the schedule is in our favor. So I think, overall, it’s pretty good.”
Does it help getting those west coast games out of the way early?
Martin: “I think that what serves is that it helps with team bonding. I think that the first trip, especially the Canadian one helps with the team development, team bonding, and team unity. And then maybe when you look at it, when we play Ottawa, and then we have a couple of days to regroup and then go out west and then we have the back-to-back games with Edmonton, Calgary, and then Vancouver on the Sunday. I think that should be a pretty good trip.”
You talked about team bonding, last year you did the West Point trip. Is there going to be anything added in that you see as you go along?
Martin: “I’ll have a meeting with Peter DeBoer on Monday so that’s something we are going to discuss whether we want to do something. This year we open up in Carolina, it could be something we do at home or maybe we go up there a couple of days earlier and do something. It’s something I will discuss with him and see how he feels about it.”
You guys don’t have the back-to-back as much this year as you did last year, what are your thoughts on that? Obviously, it’s something that you are probably happy about.
Martin: “Definitely. I think we have 10 this year, 14 last year. I think that its good, it helps. I think what we’ve done with the schedule, because of our location…we’ve really tried to go on more trips that are multiple games, versus two years ago where we had a lot of single games. So you hope that it saves, because from Florida it’s not an easy trip to go to New York compared to the teams in the east and the New York area. It’s an hour flight, but for us it’s almost three hours. I think to have those multiple games on a trip, I think will help.”
I haven’t heard a date yet of when training camp opens, has that been set?
Martin: “Yes, I want to say that’s its on (Sept.) 19th. It’s going to be the medicals and physicals.”
So then you have 2-3 days and head west?
Martin: “Yes. Exactly. We’ll have the Saturday, Sunday and Monday morning workouts in Florida and then leave on the Monday afternoon.”
Lots of day games this year, how do you feel, home or away, about day games? Make any difference to you?
Martin: “I don’t think so, I don’t think the players mind that. I think sometimes it’s a hassle with the traveling, but it’s a change too. You don’t have the pre-game skate.”