Stewie leaves earlier than planned

NHL lock-out signing Anthony Stewart is on his way back to North America.

Negotiations aimed at ending the lock-out appeared on the verge of success and the call came in from coaches and his agent that he should get back to Carolina as soon as possible.

A GMB Panthers spokeswoman said tonight : "After the call came in there was a flurry of media reporting that a problem had surfaced and the talks were deadlocked yet again. We waited for the dust to settle to see if there was to be a change of mind over Anthony but that didn't happen. It was always part of his deal that when the time came he would immediately go back.
"It's a shame because he's been such a great guy and we all wanted to make a fuss of him at the end of his time with the club. His last home game should have been against Belfast and possibly later than that, even Boxing Day, those details were a little fluid and they were always dependent on the lock-out talks. Anthony has been great for us both on and off the ice and we wish him and his family every success. Who knows we may not have seen the last of him, we'll have to wait and see, but for the time being it is a case of thanks for everything and bye for now."

Fit again head coach Corey Neilson will jump into the line-up this weekend at Cardiff and home to Hull, so the Panthers will still be at full-strength.

New signing Kelsey Wilson is well ahead of the game on the visa front and it should be back from the visa office in New York in a week or so. He's waiting for the mailman to deliver his passport and flights have been put on hold.

Anthony can be heard on Panthers Radio with Xynomix. Just click on the link.