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Rapid Fire: A Happy Birthday And Return Engagement

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers
Welcome to Rapid Fire. Panthers broadcasters Steve Goldstein and Bill Lindsay will hit five different thoughts on a daily rotating basis. It's up to them as far as what topics they want to talk about as teams, and more specifically the Panthers, make a push towards the playoffs and the Stanley Cup.

With Rapid Fire falling on April Fool's Day, Steve Goldstein topics of choice are things that have fooled him this season and one that he hopes doesn't.

1. Home Early, Again: Former Panther Jay Bouwmeester will finish his ninth NHL season this week. He has yet to play in the playoffs. 18 games into next season he will unfortunately set the NHL record for most games played without appearing in the playoffs. It's been a rough go for Bouwmeester in Calgary. He had two 15-goal seasons with the Panthers before deciding he didn't want to play in Florida anymore. Since signing as a free agent with the Flames, Bouwmeester has scored 15 goals in three years combined in Calgary! The old saying applies, the grass isn't always greener.

2. Road To The NHL. Literally: Goalie Shawn Hunwick's college career at Michigan ended when the Wolverines lost in the NCAA tournament. Columbus had goalie injuries and called Hunwick to come to the Blue Jackets. He skipped his astronomy class, got in his 1992 pickup truck and drove from Ann Arbor to Columbus, Ohio! Hunwick still has his Michigan pads while being an NHL backup. He dressed for the Panthers/Blue Jackets game last week. It's not always big money first round picks that reach the big show. Adding to the story is the fact that Hunwick was a walk-on at Michigan. You just never know what can happen in life!

3. Happy Birthday!: Oh the irony! Today is Stephen weiss's birthday and a win gives the Panthers their first ever division title. Would like to be part of THAT celebration. The longest tenured Panther has been through it all and to see him reach the postseason would be nice. To do it on his birthday would be fitting.

4. A Return Engagement: A Panthers win (or two points in the last three games) nearly ensures the Cats will meet former coach Peter DeBoer and his New Jersey Devils in the first round of the playoffs. I guess one could say things worked out for both the Panthers and DeBoer.

5. Admit It: OK, no hard feelings...just come forward and admit you were wrong. This is for all of those so called experts that claimed the Panthers overpayed for players and didn't improve their roster. No shame in being incorrect. Shame in not owning up to it.

Finally, to all Panther fans, enjoy it tonight. You've stuck by this team through many downs, the up is here! Let's rock the rink tonight.

Author: Steve Goldstein |

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