The Florida Panthers wrapped up Development Camp on Friday morning at the Panthers IceDen in Coral Springs. The Red Team and the Blue Team competed in an intrasquad scrimmage with the Red Team winning in a shootout.
The team experimented with the overtime rules that the AHL Board of Governors announced the league will use for the 2014-15 season, going to a seven-minute extra frame and to 3-on-3 after the first whistle past the three-minute mark.
“It was fun; there’s a lot of space,” said goalie Evan Cowley, who was drafted by the Panthers (92nd overall pick) in 2013 and will be a sophomore at Denver this year. “It’s always fun when you are getting a little action there in overtime. You get to see the players skills really come out. A couple more odd man rushes here and there but at the same time it’s good competition. It makes the game a little bit more exciting.”
“It was really good. It opens it up a little more; there are a lot more chances,” added defenseman MacKenzie Weegar. “You have to play defensively, man on man. It’s active, and it’s exciting for the fans.”
Defenseman Jonathan Racine, who is coming off a strong rookie campaign with the Rampage this season, was impressive at Development Camp.
Racine has really been improving in all aspects of the game. If he gets the skill side of it with his toughness, he becomes a really valuable asset.
--Executive Vice President and General Manager Dale Tallon
He’s got the heart of a lion, that kid. Nothing is going to hold him back. There is no off switch. He works all the time, tirelessly. He is a great teammate. He’ll do anything to get to this league. I am really excited for him. He’s making strides.”
--Manager of Player Development Brian McCabe
McCabe also had positive comments about defenseman MacKenzie Weegar:
"He is a smart smart player as we saw last year at rookie camp and at main camp. He earned an invite to main camp last year just by his instincts alone. He may not be the biggest guy or the fastest guy but he thinks the game better than anyone out there I think. His ability to read the play and have gap control powerplays is awesome. He’s a special guy."
Thoughts from Vincent Trocheck
How is camp going so far?
Good. It’s been tough and it is always nice to see new faces and meeting some of the new guys out here on the ice and the staff.
You’ve been here before, so you know what to expect. In a group like this you are one the veterans – do you try to take on a larger leadership role or do the younger guys look up to you?
I definitely like to see myself as a leader to some of the guys who are here for their first time and help them out. I like to think if they need anything I am here to answer any questions or help them both on and off the ice and just try and help the younger guys out.
You had a busy season that stretched into the World Championships. How have you been spending your off season?
After a very long season because it went on so long it took some time away from training for this upcoming season, so I was really excited to get back into it and start training.
You are obviously familiar with a lot of the guys here but have any of the new faces impressed you? Anybody in particular that stood out?
There is definitely some great young talent here, but Ekblad has really impressed me the most. I have been spending a lot of time with him since he is on my practice team, and he is in great shape and is an unbelievable hockey player and has really shown what he’s got since camp started.
How much does getting that NHL experience under your belt last season help you as you prepare yourself for next year?
Definitely a ton, just being able to go out there and play against other NHL players and teams has really gotten me prepared as far as going into this season knowing exactly what to expect whenever I am playing.