Florida Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle has sensed optimism and excitement from his teammates in the past few weeks. "Just on vacation recently at [Panthers defenseman] Mark Pysyk's wedding and there were probably seven or eight of us on the team at his wedding, and everyone just seemed so ready for the season to start," Yandle said from the Commonwealth Avenue Charity Classic Hockey game at his alma mater, Boston University, on July 14. "I was even talking to [Jonathan] Huberdeau today on the phone and he was like, 'I wish it was training camp right now.' That's a good thing to hear. "Even though it's only mid-July, guys are champing at the bit." How does he know? "Being away with those guys last week at Pysyk's wedding, every day, guys were in the gym," Yandle said. "We're on vacation, but every day guys were in the gym, working out, getting ready. It was just a lot of fun to see that, see how excited guys are." It was roughly three months ago when Yandle and his teammates were trying to escape Florida after a trying season filled with injuries, a coaching change and general underachieving. Yandle performed close to expectations, at least from a production standpoint, with 41 points (five goals, 36 assists), including 18 on the power play, but Florida finished with 81 points and missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs one season after finishing first in the Atlantic Division with 103 points. The Panthers were expected to build off their successful 2015-16 season, but Huberdeau missed 51 games and center Aleksander Barkov missed 21 because of injuries. Florida finished 23rd in goals per game (2.50) and 24th on the power play (17.0 percent).
Yandle believes having Tallon back in charge will galvanize Panthers
NHL.com | Jul 24