Kukla's Korner Hockey
from George Richards of On Frozen Pond,
Luongo had a triumphant return with the Panthers as he made 25 saves in Florida's 2-0 win over Buffalo at BB&T Center.
It was Luongo's 66th career shutout and 27th with the Panthers. He had three with Vancouver this season before coming back to Florida in a trade Tuesday afternoon.
"It was nice, a great reception from the start and I thought the boys played extremely well,'' said Luongo, in a Florida sweater for the first time since beating the Atlanta Thrashers 2-1 in overtime in the 2006 season finale.
"We're a really fast team. I was impressed by the speed that we generated. The future is very promising.''
from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun,
So having the Panthers take Luongo on Tuesday in exchange for what might be a little something or a lot of nothing was at best a mixed blessing.
On the one hand, the albatross of a contract is gone, or all but $800,000 or so a year. The public relations nightmare that Luongo was becoming, through no fault of his own, is gone. And the ever-present doubt about what would become of the Canucks, with Luongo in net again once the playoffs started, is gone.
On the other hand, though, the playoffs might be gone, too, and not just this year.
That is the upshot of one of the most grievously mishandled talent surpluses hockey has ever seen: it is now rebuilding time in Vancouver. The days of contending for championships are in the past, and whether they’ll return in the middle-to-distant future depends on whether this organization has the savvy to assemble the right pieces to forestall a steep decline.
It has not shown anything like that ability since the nucleus players from previous administrations began to tumble down the far side of the hill.
from the Florida Panthers,
The Florida Panthers and its parent company Sunrise Sports & Entertainment, LLC announced today that Rory A. Babich has been promoted to Chief Executive Officer and President. Michael R. Yormark, the former CEO and President, announced today that he is resigning to accept an offer to join Roc Nation. In his capacity as CEO and President, Mr. Babich will be responsible for all business and hockey operations, where he will partner with Dale M. Tallon, currently the Executive Vice President and General Manager, who will also have his responsibilities expanded to include business operations. Both Mr. Babich and Mr. Tallon have also been named as Alternative Governors to the National Hockey League’s Board of Governors.
Thomas falls, stretches and saves, Mike Green must be shaking his head.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
For his first three years, Tallon had to operate on a shoestring, and two years ago he had to spend $31 million in the summer months just to get up to the salary cap floor. Right now, the Panthers have the lowest payroll in the league at just above $50 million.
Tallon says that’s about to change and by next season the team will be well above a $60-million payroll.
“Vinny wants to win, and he wants to put all his resources into hockey,” said Tallon. “So I’m telling teams that I’m open for business. Now I can take money back if I make a trade, and I can make hockey trades, not ones based on my budget.
“Money is not the issue any more.”
In the short term, the Panthers likely will miss the playoffs again and may look to move veterans such as Tomas Kopecky or Sean Bergenheim before the March 5 deadline. Beyond that, with only about $38 million committed for next season, he anticipates that teams that are up against the cap right now will be looking to create space for next season, and the Panthers may be in a good position to add quality veterans.
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.
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