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Category: Florida-Panthers

Morning Line- Luke Fox

If Bill Zito was the general manager who signed Sergei Bobrovsky to his massive contract, and if head coach Joel Quenneville wasn’t one of the most powerful coaches in the game, no way $70-million investment the two-time Vezina winner is a healthy scratch for back-to-back elimination games.

This is an embarrassing situation. And in a flat-cap world with cost-effective Spencer Knight here, it’s difficult to see a way out.

Yes, GMs can buy players out or attach incentive and trade bad contracts.

For example, Toronto’s Kyle Dubas gave Carolina a first-round pick to take one year of Patrick Marleau’s paperwork off his hands.

What’s the going rate to take five years and $46.5 million in real dollars owed ($19.5 million of which is signing bonuses) for a goalie with a .906 save percentage?

Luke Fox of Sportsnet who has more weekly observations...

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Future Is Bright For The Florida Panthers

from Dave Hyde of the South Florida Sun-Sentnel,

It was a good series, a fun series — a season in a series, really. Game 1′s thriller was a reason to fall in love with hockey. Down 2-0, if the Panthers continued quickly out the door they’d have squandered all the good edge and positive energy of their regular season.

Even pulling to within 2-1, there were lingering questions about what it all meant. Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky was benched, then returned — and then was benched again in Game 4. He’s never played like the goalie with the NHL’s richest contract.

That money looked to weigh down the offseason, and maybe the next season or two, with five years left on a $70 million deal.

And then Game 5 happened.

Rookie Spencer Knight’s performance didn’t just make Bobrovsky’s story a secondary concern — one more for General Manager Bill Zito to solve this offseason than anything else. If possible. If someone wants to take that contract.

As it is, Knight became the future of the franchise. It seems crazy to anoint him that after he’s only played six NHL games. But sometimes you know. Dolphins coach Jimmy Johnson needed two weeks of summer practice to make a fifth-round pick in Zach Thomas his middle linebacker and cut the veteran Jack Del Rio. Jack McKeon took one September of Miguel Cabrera and said, “He’s in the lineup for as long as I’m here.”

Knight looks to be that guy.

more

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Playoff Goalie Issues May Be Solved By Spencer Knight

from George Richards is Florida Hockey Now,

The Panthers can only hope so.

Knight was fantastic, as you may have heard on Monday night. After giving up a goal on Tampa Bay’s first shot of the night (off a 2-on-1 due to botched defensive coverage), Knight settled in and stopped the Lightning’s next 36 offerings.

Once you let one in you kind of just reset and you’re like, ‘Alright, this is how it’s going to go, can’t do anything to change it so let’s just go play now,'” Knight said. “That’s how it was. It was a good goal by them, great play, but I just tried to recover. Just smile and have fun.”

The kid from Connecticut went from playing in the NCAA tournament with the Boston College Eagles — he was named the school’s male athlete of the year — to the Stanley Cup playoffs.

He got his first playoff game under his belt Monday night but Wednesday will be his first in enemy territory. Amalie Arena is going to be rocking for Game 6. Are the Panthers worried their goalie can handle that pressure?

“You don’t see any nervousness on him,’’ Sasha Barkov said. “He’s a special kid. You don’t see that often. He’s so young, he’s so confident, technically really good. I could be here until tomorrow if you want me to say everything about Spencer. He’s just great.”

read on

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Videos- With The Tampa Bay Lightning Up 6-2 With Nine Minutes Left In The Final Period

The Florda Panthers decided to send a message.

 

Then more of the same below.

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Video- Sam Bennett Suspended One Game

Boarding.

 

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Video- A Hearing Today For Sam Bennett

Watch the hit below.

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The Florida Panthers Had The Tampa Bay Lightning, Then They Didn’t

from Greg Cote of the Miami Herald,

This was the best regular season in club history. But does that make this the best team the Cats have had?

Prove it.

The chance started Sunday night, but ended in a crushing 5-4 home loss to Tampa Bay to begin the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Florida rallied from two deficits to lead 4-3, only to lose Game 1 of this Sunshine State Showdown series in the first round of the postseason, with Game 2 back in Sunrise Tuesday night.

Tampa tied it 4-4 with its third power-play goal of the night, and won it with 1:14 left in regulation. The Panthers’ penalty killing was the deflating factor.

“Five on five we played well,” said Aleksander Barkov. “On the penalty killing we needed to be a little bit better.”

The Cats played with maximum heart. That isn’t enough to beat the reigning league champions.

“It’s a long series. We just have to put it behind us and be fresh for the next one,” said Cats goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. “They have a good team and we have a good team. We just have to forget this one.”

Said second-year coach Joel Quenneville: “A lot of positives. But also things we need to work on.”

Regular seasons don’t mean much now. Here forward is all that matters.

The Panthers are South Florida’s best major team right now; sorry Miami Heat. But the onus was on Florida to prove that it should be nobody’s underdog in these teams’ first-ever postseason meeting.

Sunday was only the 26th home playoff game in Panthers history, and only the 15th since 1996.

It makes this feel like the club’s biggest series in 25 years.

more

Below, watch the game highlights.

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Evening Line- Pat Maroon

First time the two Florida teams will meet in the playoffs.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

A Look At Spencer Knight

from Emily Kaplan of ESPN,

The NHL is a league of time-tested traditions, and one of the players' favorites is the rookie solo lap. Last week, before Florida Panthers goalie Spencer Knight made his NHL debut, it was his turn.

"Usually guys are excited, pumped up, going full speed," said former NHL goaltender Roberto Luongo, who now oversees the Panthers' Goaltending Excellence department. "I was watching Spencer, and he was just like strolling around the rink. Casual."

After the game -- in which the 20-year-old Knight stopped 33 shots in a 5-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets -- Luongo went down to congratulate the rookie in the locker room.

"I was talking to him for a couple minutes, asking him, 'So, how do you feel? Were you nervous?'" Luongo said. "And he was like, 'Oh, no, I was good.'"

Luongo laughed recalling the moment. "I mean, my first game I was so nervous I could barely hold it in," said the 42-year-old, who ranks third all time among NHL goaltenders with 489 wins. "But Spencer was like, 'I just told myself to enjoy the game, and I did.' ... I was like, oh my God, this is great."

Hype and hoopla have surrounded Knight ever since he played for Avon Old Farms prep school as a first-year student.

continued

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Video- Radko Gudas Being Radko Gudas

No penalty on the play.

 

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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