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Panthers Mailbag: 01.29.10

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers

Welcome to the Panthers Mailbag, a feature that can be found only on

Questions from around the world came in for our players and coaching staff so look below to see if your question was answered. If not, don't worry, it could be answered in future mailbags. And if you haven't submitted a question or would like to, just fill out the form found on this page.

Questions can be found in bold. And if something needs additional commentary or clarification, it will come in italics before the player provides his answer.

And away we go.

Question for Peter DeBoer - How come you look so calm during games and how can I achieve the same level of zen?

Lorenza Nogueira – Coconut Creek, FL

DeBoer -
(laughing) "I think it’s a little bit of a situation where on the outside you’re calm but on the inside, you’re not. I think during the game, you save most of your emotions for the moments between periods when you can address your team as a group, not in front of the cameras. So I think that’s where you can cut loose a little bit. I think your role during the game as a coach, for the most part, is to remain calm and have the guys stick to the game plan and not get caught up in the moment."

Question for Tomas Vokoun - Hey Tomas, simple question. Have you found any good Japanese steakhouses to cook in down in Florida?

Ethan Regen - Nashville, TN

Vokoun -
"Yeah i did. I used a couple of people or go to a couple around here. I think anywhere you go there's something. I found one pretty quickly."

Question for Radek Dvorak - What made you come back to play for the Panthers after playing with some other NHL teams?

Thomas Neufeld – Sunrise, FL

Dvorak -
"The Panthers were my first team. They gave me a chance to play in this league and I felt like when I signed with the Panthers two years ago, I was just coming home.

"It was my first choice. I know this team didn't make the playoffs for some time but I was coming down here to help try to get them back. I like it here. The management, fans, all these people are very nice to me.

"We have a great chance to have a good season this year. We finished ninth last year and just missed out on the playoffs by a game against Montreal. This year we are picking it up. We had a busy schedule the first half of the season, especially with the Finland trip. Right now we are coming together as a team and start playing good hockey. It's not like we weren't playing good hockey before, but we're scoring and playing better defensively and there's a very good chance this year. It's been a great journey. We still have about 30 games left and we'll do anything to make the playoffs.

Question for Bryan McCabe - What is/are your favorite song(s) or band(s) to listen to before games?

Vanessa Kezwer - Toronto, CA

McCabe -
"I listen to anything from Linkin Park, Metallica and Tool. Those are my bands."

Question for Stephen Weiss - Against which team and player is it most unpleasant to play? Please make it to the playoffs this year!!!
All the best from Estonia

Jaak Kuuse - Kehra, Estonia

Weiss -
"It would probably be Washington, just because on how skilled they are. They're a very dangerous team. We play them six times so they're probably the best team we play for me.

"I don't know about a player. For me, it's probably a defenseman. I would have to go with Zdeno Chara. He's a big, strong defenseman. For forwards, it would have to be Ovechkin/Crosby, guys like that are pretty tough to play against."

Question for Gregory Campbell - Did Anyone inspire you to play hockey, if so who?

Grant Lee - Coconut Creek, FL

Campbell -
"My dad obviously. When I was born, he was playing his last year in the NHL and he continued on to be a coach. He took me to the rink every day when I was young and I just fell in love with hockey from those experiences."

Follow Up - Is it different with your father being the Senior Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations for the National Hockey League?

"I don’t really spend much time thinking about that. To me, we have a relationship like any other father and son would. I don’t see him as his job or what he does. To me, it’s just like any other guy on the team; he’s just dad to me."

Question for Kamil Kreps - Players choose their number for many reasons. As a fellow #28, what made you choose that number? Also, I recently purchased one of your game used sticks (a One95) and was wondering what the flex is on it.

Jose Rocha – Miami Gardens, FL

Kreps -
"They gave me 54 when I first came to camp so that stayed with me for a while. Then when I was allowed to make a choice for a number, I took 28 because when I first came to juniors, it was my first number and it was pretty much my number for six years in a row before that.

"It’s a 95, like middle curve. It’s what I like. I tried different kind of flexs and that ended up being the one I liked the most."

Question for Peter DeBoer - Hi, Coach. My daughter and I reside in section 426, above the north net, so we see a lot of Panthers' offensive action reasonably close-up. What we rarely see is a Panther posting in front of the opposing goaltender during offensive opportunities. The last guys we saw consistently in front of the net were Joe Nieuwendyk, Gary Roberts and Chris Gratton, all long since departed from the Panthers.

Shawn Matthias had a great game vs. Montreal on 1/26/10. I noticed that he scored his second goal (and the game-winner) by crashing the net. Also, in his other two-goal game, he scored both goals by posting in front of the net and tipping in shots. Is there a reason why the team doesn't make more of a habit of posting in front of the opposition net?

Jim Mood – Tamarac, FL

DeBoer -
"Well we try to. We talk about it on a daily basis. There’s a reason that the guys, like Niewendyk and Roberts, scored a lot of goals in the NHL. It's because they go there (to the front). If everybody did that, we’d have a lot more goal scorers in the league. But that’s as big a skill going to that area and hanging around there and scoring goals as skating and stickhandling is. It’s something that you work on but you have to have some natural ability to go there. It’s not as simple as saying ‘hey, go in front of the net and stand there.’”

Follow Up - Does it take a different kind of player to put himself in harms way and stand in front of the net?

DeBoer - "Sure it does. You look at some of the great scorers of all time, Joe Nieuwendyk, Dave Andreychuk, those guys did what they did because they had a certain skill. They might not have been the best skaters, the best stickhandlers, but they were willing to go to those areas and that’s something you preach to your team on a daily basis."

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