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Making An Impression

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers
Tanner Glass (37) is one of those players trying to make a name for himself in the exhibition games and hopefully land a spot on the Cats roster come opening night against Carolina. (Omar Vega)
By Dave Joseph for floridapanthers.com

 
CORAL SPRINGS - For several members of the Panthers, the next six days will be some of the most important of training camp.
 
Embarking Monday afternoon for Calgary to begin a schedule of six preseason games in six days across Canada – it all begins Tuesday evening against the Flames – coach Peter DeBoer and his staff will have to begin the process of deciding who will be on the roster come opening night Oct. 10 in Carolina.
 
And several players will have to convince DeBoer and his staff they are worthy to make the team.
 
“It’s huge for guys like me,” said forward Tanner Glass, who played 41 games with the Panthers last season and 43 at the team’s American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate in Rochester, N.Y.
 
“I remember (GM) Jacques (Martin) saying it’s a chance to show your identity as a player and what you’re going to bring to the team,” he added. “It’s tough to do in scrimmages because you’re all friends and you’re a team. So exhibition games is when you can really show what you’re made of and what you’re going to bring to the team.”
 
Glass is one of several players trying to earn a roster spot out of training camp. The list includes Anthony Stewart, Shawn Matthias, Michael Frolik, Mike Duco and Stefan Meyer.

“I want to play and whatever it takes to be on the team I’m willing to do,” said Anthony Stewart, who played 20 games last season with the Panthers and 54 in Rochester. “I’ve got to be the guy who’s first in the forecheck and uses my size as much as possible and try to be intimidating.”

DeBoer makes it clear, the six upcoming games – two each against the Flames and Oilers and one against the Canadiens and Islanders (in Prince Edward Island) – will go along in deciding where players find themselves in October.
 
DeBoer said the games are “going to be everything.”
 

PANTHERS
PRESEASON LINEUPS

Team A
Team B
Forwards
Belak
Booth
Brine
Campbell
Calla
Dvorak
Collins
Larman
Duco
McArdle
Frolik
McIntyre
Glass
McLean
Horton
Repik
Kreps
Sprukts
Matthias
Stewart
Meyer
Sweetland
Olesz
Weiss
Peltonen
Zednik
Stillman
 
 
Defenseman
Ballard
Allen
Boynton
Aston
Caruso
Beaverson
DeLory
Bouwmeester
Ellerby
Garrison
Fitzpatrick
MacDonald
Henry
Murphy
McCabe
Skrastins
Welch
 
 
Goaltenders
Plante
Anderson
Vokoun
Beckford-Tseu
 
Shantz
  “You have a coach in place who’s really come into camp with a clean slate on everybody,” he said. “My determination on these guys will be made through the exhibition schedule.”
 
When asked how much he takes from preseason games as opposed to practices and scrimmages, DeBoer replied; “I think you start to form an opinion every time you watch a player play when you’re on the ice with them.”
 
“I believe practice tells a big story for a coach,” he continued. “It’s an opportunity to really isolate on some players with some drills and some things. But at the end of the day, it’s really what you do in games. I’ve had players over the years who don’t look good in practice, but you drop the puck in the game and that’s when they come to play.
 
“The key part of our evaluation is going to be through the seven exhibition games.”
 
Before leaving Monday, the Panthers practiced on and off ice at IncredibleIce in Coral Springs.
 
“We condensed practice a little bit,” DeBoer said. “We got more of the NHL group together today, which was nice to start and implement some systems. I think the guys are ready to play some other teams.”
 
DeBoer said his plan the next six nights is to split his squad into two teams and play each team three games.
 
“We’re going to mix and match a little, but I think the general framework of the trip will be two teams and play them three games each,” he said. “We’ll move some guys in and out depending on injuries and add some people here and there, but from an evaluation point of view we’re not going to have the NHL group together until we get back.
 
“We’ll have a good two weeks of practice (when the Panthers return) and we’ll have the game (Oct. 6 at BankAtlantic) against the Islanders, but this is still an evaluation period, and I think the concentration will be more on our work ethic and evaluating the young guys and see who’s ready.”
 
ROAD TRIPPING
Teams will bus to-and-from Edmonton for games Wednesday and Thursday. After Friday’s game against the Flames, some players will go to Prince Edward Island to play Saturday against the Islanders while the other group will spend that evening in Montreal awaiting Sunday’s game against the Canadiens.
 
The six-game, eight-day road trip works for the team, according to Ville Peltonen.
 
“For the team, it’s good to get together and have that time off the ice and get to know everyone and be together,” he said. “The seasons comes up pretty fast, so we can use the time off the ice.”
 
Said goalie Tomas Vokoun; “We’re going to be together, and that’s good because there’s a lot of new faces. No matter where you are, it’s your time to prepare so when they drop the puck in Carolina you’re ready to play and play well.”
 
“Whether you like to be on the road or hate to be on the road, it doesn’t really matter.”
 
CAPTAIN MY CAPTAIN
DeBoer said he’s made no decision on a team captain, but says there’s no shortage of leaders in the lockerroom.
 
“I think the nice thing for me is a few days in there’s a big leadership group here, maybe bigger than I expected,” he said. “Those decisions (on captain and alternates) are going to be tough as far as actually naming the captain. I still don’t have a framework or a time frame on that. I’m just going to continue to evaluate, but I see some real positive signs. I see a real good group of leadership and I think the tough part for me will be who’s going to wear a letter and who isn’t because there’s going to be some guys who aren’t wearing a letter who could be.”
 
FOUR SENT TO JUNIORS
Adam Comrie, A.J. Jenks, Colby Robak and Corey Syvret were returned Monday to the junior teams.
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