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Nine: Happy holidays

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers
Panthers center Stephen Weiss is back for another season of his blog, 'Nine. Weiss will bring you closer to Panthers action both on and off the ice as he talks about his experiences throughtout the 2008-09 season. Nine is in it's second season and can only exclusively be seen on

The popular first-round draft pick (4th overall) in 2001, is in his seventhh NHL season, all with the Cats. The Toronto, Ontario native had his second straight 40 point season, finishing with 13 goals and 29 assists in 74 games. He also set a career high in game-winning goals with four.

Nine Archive

I’m looking forward to the holidays.

We’re getting two days off and I’m going to relax and enjoy a few days with my family. My mom and dad, aunt and uncle, and niece and godson are coming down. We’ll just wake up whenever on Christmas morning, open some presents, and enjoy the time with my family, who I don’t get to see too often.

I think, overall, the way we’re playing as a team is a lot better. We’re all on the same page. We’re doing the same things, which makes it a lot easier. And our work ethic has been great. We’ve been working really, really hard and when you do that you get rewarded with breaks and things like that. We have to make sure we keep our work ethic up and everything else will fall into place.

We played well on the road trip. The key was picking up most of the points there because we could have went one of two ways – up or down. We battled through and we’re able to hang around and give ourselves a good chance going into the Christmas break by being in a playoff spot or being right there.

In Carolina, we had an almost completely different lineup. When you add four, five guys it’s going to change the dynamics of the team. But those guys knew the way we were playing and came in and did a good job. We started slow, it kind of took some time to get into the game – it’s tough when you haven’t played in a while – but, hopefully, Sunday against Colorado we’ll start the way we finished and carry it through the entire game.

I missed a few days after taking a hit in Vancouver. I felt like almost a pop. A couple shifts later I was having a tough time moving. I didn’t want to leave the game, but for precautionary reasons they wanted to take me in and have it checked out. All I needed was some rest and I felt good to play in Carolina.

I think right now, the main things for us, is to just keep going like the way we have been. Staying healthy will give us more depth.

I don’t think we’ve been this close or had this kind of momentum going into the holidays for a while. Before it was we had a lot of work to do to get back into the race. It’s nice to go into a break being either in a playoff spot after these next few days or at least right there where we don’t have to win 10 in a row to get back into it.

I’m excited about the second half of the season and the push we need to catch Washington or get into the top eight. It’s going to be exciting. We want to be inside looking out. It’s certainly a much better position than the last few years.

Happy holidays to all of you. Talk to you soon.
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