SUNRISE, FLA. (WSVN) - The Florida Panthers are making another run for the Stanley Cup and General Manager Bill Zito, who is half-Irish, tells 7Sports’ Mike DiPasquale that the team’s roster is part luck of the Irish and part gameplan.

Bill Zito: “I wish I could tell you it’s fun. There’s a few different aspects of, I guess, a GM’s existence and then Bill Zito as the GM’s existence.”

Zito considers himself a problem solver, always thinking how he can make the Panthers not just a good team, but a Stanley Cup contender.

Bill Zito: “What can I do more? What can we do to make it better? What can we do to try to help the guys, help the coaches win more.”

Zito is currently in his fourth season with the Panthers. During that time, he’s had three different coaches and has shaken things up.

There are only four players on the active roster who were with the Panthers prior to Zito joining the team: Aleksander Barkov, Sergei Bobrovsky, Aaron Ekblad and Eetu Luostarinen.

Mike DiPasquale: “How did you get from what you have, let’s go back to last season, and what you have this season, people buying in [and] wanting to be here?”

Bill Zito: “The character of the player. The personality of the player. The people that we are able to bring in who want to win.”

The culture overall falls in line with Zito’s belief in the game.

Bill Zito: “If you don’t love hockey more than me,

Last season, the Panthers made it to the Stanley Cup Finals for only the second time in franchise history. Soon, they’ll prepare for yet another run at the Cup.

Bill Zito: “The script is to be as prepared as you can be, to do as well as we do in the playoffs. Right? There’s injuries, there’s just any number of factors that we can’t control but so long as we control the ones that we can, to the best of our ability, we’ll get a lot of them right.”

Zito priority is the team, but there is another side of him that many fans are unaware of — he’s half Italian.

Mike DiPasquale: “I’d like to eat a cannoli with you.”

Bill Zito: “Oh my God. I’m going to start crying.”

Mike DiPasquale: “So as we say in Italy, ‘Buon Appetito.’ Tell me what you think” This is from my momma.”

Bill Zito: “Thank you.”

Copyright 2024 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox