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02-08-2004, 11:27 AM
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I'm compelled to remind the Kozlov bashers here of a few facts. Kozlov remains among the most talented and important players on the Panthers' squad.

Give Kozlov a bonifide scoring talent like Pavel Bure and he'll enable Bure to maximize his abilities, achieving consecutive 60 goal seasons. As much as some might wish to ignore this fact, Kozlov's 53 assist season along side Bure didn't happen by accident. Their synergy was nothing short of amazing.

Give Kozlov a talented but under-achieving youngster like Olli Jokinen who was all but out of the NHL and he'll nurse him along to a breakout season, even changing positions in order to do so. Unlike many here, Olli Jokinen is happy to give Kozlov a great deal of credit for his achievements.

This season Kozlov was the teams leading scorer until injuries struck. He's missed 10 games with a broken jaw, 3 different broken toes and a broken thumb yet still ranks 3rd in scoring.

Kozlov is a consumate professional and team player. He's been praised by every Panthers coach and GM and teammate that's ever been around him. He never complains or makes outrageous demands. His vision, passing and stick-handling are in an elite category reserved for only a few of the very best.

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