And so it begins.
It's a pretty darn good move for the Cats, who've again managed to convert an impending free agent into a solid pick at the entry draft, just as they did with Dominic Moore right before the Games. It's an even better move for Leopold, who now has a shot at a Stanley Cup.
(Somewhere, Tomas Vokoun cries.)
Which isn't to say losing Leopold doesn't hurt just a little bit. After all, the Panthers aren't technically not knocked out of the playoffs yet, and Leopold was a decent replacement (7 goals, 11 assists in 61 games) for Jay Bouwmeester, for whom he was traded last summer -- but we can't say the Panthers didn't warn us, and warn us good.
In an Apacolyptic letter to fans earlier this month, new managing partners Cliff Viner and Stu Siegel promised a purifying firestorm would rain down on Sunrise, reduce the Jacques Martin-tainted roster to smoldering ruins, and raise up a new, shiny, winning team in its place.
Or something like that. It was terrifying and titillating, and, to be honest, about freakin' time:
It is clear that our team, the way it is currently structured, is not equipped to meet the goals and objectives that we have set for ourselves, our fans and our partners...it is obvious that significant change is required.
Unfortunately, these changes will not always be easy for our fans and supporters to accept or understand. These changes also may not be easy for our coaches, players and staff. But they are necessary. No small changes or quick fixes will do...Clearly, we are not satisfied with some of the players on this team that do not possess the characteristics we need to be successful...
We must move quickly and efficiently to overcome these shortcomings and reshape this franchise on a much more solid foundation.
YEAAAAAAAAHHH! BRING US A BAT THAT WE MIGHT BITE ITS HEAD OFF! AND THEN A BRICK WALL FOR SMASHING! OR...oh, yes. GM Randy Sexton announced yesterday that he's skipping this week's road trip to work through Wednesday's trade deadline; it appears, then, that Leopold is just the start of many moves to come.
And honestly, in light of ownership's declaration, what fan is no longer willing to lose anyone on the roster? Bring on the hurt so good, we say!
Janie Campbell loves ball park hot dogs and fat guys running back fumbles. Her work has appeared in irreverent sports sites around the Internet.