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Paul Maurice Takes the Heat for Lackluster Loss to Jets

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Panthers training camp
Paul Maurice ran his team hard during training camp — and gave them a little taste of that in practice on Sunday. // Training camp photo courtesy @FlaPanthers

SUNRISE — Not long after his Florida Panthers got skunked 3-0 by the Winnipeg Jets on Friday night, coach Paul Maurice was more than willing to take some of the blame.

“I thought Lomberg and Gadjovich got on the body,” Maurice said in his postgame comments. “The rest of them were about as good as I was because I couldn’t figure out what we were trying to do out there. We’ll fix that in a couple of days.”

He did not let go of those sentiments on Sunday — a couple of days after the loss.

Maurice was in a very vocal mood as the Panthers were back on the ice for the first time since that loss, colorfully shouting missives as he ran his team through an uncharacteristically tough in-season practice.

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Usually when the team is headed to the airport right after a workout, Maurice keeps things kind of light.

Not Sunday.

“We all get paid to perform and when you have 16 of 19 guys who played were lousy, the coach has to take some heat for that too,” he said. “I did not like the job that I did, I did not get my job done the other night. … The easiest thing in the world is to say ‘the guys were no good.’ But I get paid for the simplest thing and that is to prepare a hockey team. It’s not that simple, but that’s my job. And I didn’t like my performance, I didn’t like their performance. So we dealt with it today. We didn’t want to just go out there. We put a good days work in.’’

Maurice had the team running full out up and down the ice before putting them in 2-on-2 puck battle drills.

While Sunday was nothing like the skate-a-thons he ran during training camp, certainly a few players welcomed the long flight to Ottawa in order to get a little rest.

Maurice said there was no rest for him as he was back in the office on the team’s Saturday off day.

With three divisional games coming up in this Canadian roadie, the Panthers have a chance to make up for their Thanksgiving turndown.

“Great place for us to get it right, get it together and push for those next 20 games,” Maurice said. “It’s a good starting point.”

MAHURA RETURNS

Defenseman Josh Mahura was back on the ice Sunday skating in no-contact gear. Maurice said he could be back next week although he was not saying whether Mahura would travel with the team to Canada.

With the Panthers not having a practice day on this quick three-game, four-day trip, Mahura might be better off skating at home with Patrick Hornqvist.

“A few days ago, I said 7-10 days and I think we’re still on that,” Maurice said.

Mike Reilly was waived by the Panthers on Friday and claimed by an Islanders team which sustained some recent injuries.

Reilly was scheduled to meet the Islanders on Sunday and should see some immediate playing time — something he did not get with the Panthers.

“You know what? Good for him,” Maurice said. “I am happy for him. We would have loved, selfishly, for Mike to have cleared waivers so we have a good, NHL depth defenseman playing in Charlotte we could call up. …

“Mike didn’t do anything wrong, the other guys just had great camps. He got caught up in not playing. He worked hard every day, he was a positive around the group. He’s a man who wants to play in the NHL and now he gets a chance. He’ll be a good player for them.”

PANTHERS ON DECK

FLORIDA PANTHERS @ OTTAWA SENATORS

  • When: Monday, 7 p.m.
  • Where: Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN+
  • Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL App
  • Last Season: Florida won 2-1
  • This Season — At Ottawa: Monday, April 4; At Florida: Feb. 20, April 9
  • All-time Regular Season Series: Ottawa leads 57-44-5, 3 ties
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Tuesday at Toronto, 7 p.m.

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