Even though the Florida Panthers were outclassed and outscored by Chicago last night, the club is still among the Eastern Conference’s top eight as we speak, and Greg Stoda of the Palm Beach Post gives a bulk of the credit for that fact to Panthers rookie head coach Pete DeBoer.

Stoda writes about DeBoer, whose Panthers host the Boston Bruins Saturday night: “His best work might have come when times were worst. The Panthers were 7-11-1 in November and coming off back-to-back road losses when DeBoer assembled the team to deliver a scalding message of a demand for change, though hardly in Obamamanian language.”

The Panthers are 22-10-7 since the moving speech.

MK: As I mentioned a day or two ago, if Florida’s in the playoff when the season’s over, DeBoer is a Jack Adams finalist. The Panthers are a perfect example of what a team can do when it builds from the goal out with top-flight D-men and adds a little structure from a coach with fresh ideas.

Steve Gorten of the Sun-Sentinel has the details of the Panthers’ loss to the Blackhawks. And in the Miami Herald, George Richards gets the Panthers’ take on their opening next season in Finland.