Panthers president on marketing a post-Bouwmeester team

In updating this morning's story about the inventive Drew Rosenhaus/Florida Panthers viral marketing campaign, in which the agent will "negotiate" lower season-ticket prices "on behalf" of the fans, we had a chance to speak with Panthers President Michael Yormark.

The timing of the campaign is a pretty convenient for Florida, as it temporarily distracts from the impending signing of standout defenseman Jay Bouwmeester in another NHL city; after his rights were traded to the Calgary Flames at the NHL Draft. But Yormark said this Rosenhaus campaign has been planned for "months," and that the official multimedia launch for the movement next week is timed to be right after July 4 and roughly 14 weeks from opening night.

"Normally, we would do our new business push right after the season," said Yormark. "We decided to hold off on that because we didn't want to come out too early; especially since we're going to be investing significant dollars into our ad campaign. We felt July was a better time for us."

We asked him how marketing a team without Jay Bouwmeester compares with marketing a team without Olli Jokinen, as the Panthers did after trading him to the Phoenix Coyotes last summer. Yormark brought the conversation back to the new campaign and why losing Bouwmeester was the player's decision:

"This [marketing campaign] had nothing to do with Jay. To be quite frank with you, as far as we were concerned, Jay made a decision a long time ago that he probably didn't want to re-sign with the Florida Panthers. I'll tell you personally that if Jay Bouwmeester doesn't want to be part of the Panthers organization, then it's probably better that he goes elsewhere.

"I've very confident in Randy Sexton, our assistant general manager, and [coach] Peter DeBoer and our entire hockey operations department that we will do whatever we need to do in order to make sure that the absence of Jay is minimized as much as possible."

TSN reported this morning that the Flames were expected to present a formal offer to Bouwmeester today.

As for the Panthers ... look, Jordan Leopold isn't Bouwmeester. Just like Keith Ballard and Nick Boynton weren't Olli Jokinen, and Todd Bertuzzi wasn't Roberto Luongo. At some point, the Panthers need to become the team that acquires a gate attraction rather than the one waving goodbye at the airport. This Drew Rosenhaus thing is a very clever way to communicate that tickets are more affordable at Panthers games; but it's beyond time to give fans something worth watching again.

In other news: Montreal Canadiens defenseman Mike Komisarek will test free agency, via Max Hockey.

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