By Michael Russo
Posted August 29 2003
CORAL SPRINGS -- Veteran defenseman Rich Pilon will attempt a
comeback with the Panthers in training camp.
Pilon, 35, who hasn't played since injuring his left wrist Oct. 25,
2001, has agreed to a tryout with the Panthers, sources said.
The agreement is similar to the one veteran Todd Gill received last
week. If Gill doesn't make the team, he can either play in the minors
or part ways.
Pilon, a physical blue-liner, was injured eight games into the 2001-
02 season after signing as a free agent with the St. Louis Blues. In
a game against the Rangers, he crashed into the end boards while
tangled with a player.
Pilon fractured his wrist, had three subsequent surgeries and missed
all of last season after trying to return in training camp.
He's flirted with retirement a couple times and will first have to
pass a physical with the Panthers.
Pilon, a 15-year veteran who spent his first 11 years with the
Islanders, has 77 points and 1,745 penalty minutes in 631 career
Hrkac on ice
Veteran center and Jupiter resident Tony Hrkac, who spent the past
two seasons with Atlanta, is skating with the Panthers to stay in
shape while he looks for a job.
General Manager Rick Dudley likes Hrkac, but with such an abundance
of forwards, there's currently no room to sign him.
"Right now we don't have a spot for him, but if something happened to
create a spot for him, I like him for a couple reasons," Dudley
said. "He's a very good guy on a team, he wins a lot of faceoffs and
he's a pretty good hockey player. But we'd have to have that hole,
and right now we don't."
Hrkac, 37, said, "I just want to play somewhere, and the Panthers
have been nice enough to let me come here and skate with them. I
don't think I've ever waited this long [for a job], but I've been
around a long time. Hopefully something will open up for me."
Huselius, Kolnik agree
The Panthers have reached agreements with restricted free agents
Kristian Huselius and Juraj Kolnik, but they are still waiting for
the signed contracts. Huselius signed a two-year deal worth $2.5
million. He'll receive $900,000 this season and $1.6 million next
season, plus the opportunity to reach significant bonuses. The only
unsigned player is defenseman Michel Periard. ... The Panthers signed
an affiliation agreement with the Augusta Lynx of the East Coast
League. ... Panthers forwards Olli Jokinen and Niklas Hagman spent
Thursday afternoon delivering tickets to season-ticket holders.