Craig Minervini sits down with Panthers coach Bob Boughner ahead of season opener

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FOX Sports Florida's Craig Minervini sits down with Florida Panthers coach Bob Boughner to chat about his growth, the development of the team and the goals for the upcoming season.

- Bob, one point I got to ask you about. Is that a source of frustration now, or is it a rallying cry for the 2018-2019 season?

- Well, I would say at the end of the season it hurt. I mean, we missed them by a point-- 96 and not making it. I mean, in the run we had at the end we couldn't catch anybody, and it hurt. And it took a while to get over in the summertime, I'm not going to kid you, but it is a motivating factor now.

I think we've talked about it a lot during training camp in our team meetings, and it's helping because we know we have to be a real detailed team. And it could be-- it could be a point or two here and there that gets you in or gets you out. And that's helped me sort of stress the details of our structure.

CRAIG MINERVINI: In that second half, as everybody around you are excited-- which is good. That incredible second half. It wasn't a week. It wasn't two weeks. It was the second half of your team.

- Yeah, and you know, at that time, we couldn't set our sights too far ahead. We were just taking it a game at a time, a week at a time, and then we just kept piling up the points. And it's amazing when you get confidence and you're at the top of your game and you're playing consistently. Then you get the bounces, then you get the goaltending, and then you get the-- you know, your special teams work.

So it's tough to replicate what we did in the second half. We're being realistic about that. I think that we don't expect to go 28, 25 and 3 coming out of the chute here.

CRAIG MINERVINI: It'd be nice.

- Yeah, it'd be nice. But we also know that our start hurt us last year, and that's an important part of what we need to do is get off to a good start.

CRAIG MINERVINI: When you look at the first half there were a lot of breakdowns. How much would you attribute that to learning a new system because that seemed to clean up by the second? And then obviously, that's going to help you come into the season.

- I think a lot of it had to do with that. I think a bunch of new faces-- including the coaching staff-- new system, guys learning it, taking time to learn it, but we made a lot of mistakes early on. We hit some injuries early on. Always that plays a factor. But you know, it took a while for me to get the players to trust that it was going to work and get that total buy in. Once they did, you see what happened.

So it was a process you had to go through. Everything was new, and in saying that, there's a lot of excuses. There's not that many excuses this year. So it's a great teaching tool that-- everybody is familiar with the system. We only got a couple of new faces on the team. They know my expectations. We've built that trust and that back and forth between the players, so there's no excuses. The expectations are higher, and we expect to be a better team day one.

CRAIG MINERVINI: They learned a lot about you. You learned a lot about them. You've had two full training camps and a full season. How does that help you with personnel, knowing your club in year two?

BOB BOUGHNER: Immensely. I think that different players have different tendencies and everybody, including myself, has their strengths and weaknesses. And now I know that of each guy and I know certain situations to put players in. Over the past year I've learned that, and I didn't have that knowledge last year. I think that's only going to help us this year.

But you know, it's still moving forward. You're learning every day something new about somebody or you're trying to learn something new about the game everyday. So there'll be a lot of situations that we encounter that will be new as well, and we've got to be-- we've got to be solid in adjusting to those.

CRAIG MINERVINI: What did you enjoy about coaching your first full season in National Hockey League?

- I love the challenge. There's times where it's tough, and you know, in the beginning of the year you're doubting yourself a little bit. And then you always revert back to your instincts and what you've learned over the years, and I love the challenge. I really do. There's so many great coaches in this league, and every game-- there's no easy game for anybody. It doesn't matter how good your team is. And it's putting a plan in place. And once you see that plan work, that's a pretty gratifying feeling.