It’s pretty exciting (for me at least) that the 500th post on this web site is also a post with what should be a lot of great news regarding the future of the Rochester Americans and Florida Panthers affiliation (not just a ‘yay 500 posts’). Jacques Martin (General Manager of the Florida Panthers) and Curt Styres (Owner of the Rochester Americans) held a press conference this afternoon announcing a number of plans they have in place to make the Amerks a Calder Cup contender yet again.
Curt Styres wants to make sure that fans understand that they (Amerks and Panthers) are doing their best to make the team a contender again. The Panthers not only want to develop their players to be ready for the NHL, but they also believe that those players can learn a lot more through success.
The business relationship between the Rochester Americans and Florida Panthers is strong. It seems that the relationship is not only strong in terms of financials, but the way the two teams operate. Jody Gage and Lewis Staats have been working with the Panthers for most of the second half of the season in putting together a plan to improve.
Jacques Martin said, “We realized this year is that we need to have more vets in the lineup so we’re a better hockey team night after night.”
Now as Amerks fans we just need to hope that Martin doesn’t get fired at the end of the season, and if he does someone else is brought in that understands the importance of the AHL team as well.
Both Martin and Styres took time after the press conference that was shown live online to answer more questions. I’ll write more later tonight, but wanted to post some key points that were mentioned.
- They do have plans and are in talks about signing Mike Brodeur to return next season.
- They have a plan to have four of the top six forwards on the team to be veterans.
- It’s not just about veteran players, but also players that can be role players.
- The Amerks will be increasing the money available to help get those veterans under contract.
- They really did have high hopes for Chris Beckford-Tseu and believe he was one of the top goaltenders available last summer.
- The coaching staff has been great.
Jacques Martin said that early season injuries to Sprukts and Meyers, Chris Beckford-Tseu not playing well, and MacIntyre being signed by the Oilers were four key factors that seemed to throw off the whole start of the season.
The last thing I’d like to mention now is that the fans will return when the team is winning. The other news stations, Bob Mathews, Craig Schaller, and anyone else in love with the Sabres needs to move on. The drop in attendance has very little to do with the Buffalo Sabres. Stop asking about it. It was news last year, it isn’t this year.