Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Craig Davis of the Sun Sentinel,
Q. What is your assessment of your first few months as owner?
A. We have been learning an awful lot. It's kind of like drinking out of a fire hose. If I had to sum it up in a couple of sentences: We're more committed now to the principles that we believe in that produce long-term excellence in organizations. The team is, I think, starting to understand that everyone must work and everyone has to be absolutely committed to excellence. We're not going to tolerate anything but 100 percent dedication to the culture of the team first.
Q. Was the Panthers' poor start rougher than you expected?
A. I didn't know what to expect ... We won our opening night, and I was like, 'all right.' … Was I surprised at the patch of losing we kind of took on? Yes, absolutely, after a decent start.
via George Richards of On Frozen Pond,
The Panthers put up what looked like a piece of plywood after a piece of plexiglass broke behind the Red Wings net in the third period.
The 'plywood' was actually a piece of plexiglass with its protective backing still affixed.
According to a Panthers spokesman, the original piece of replacement glass broke on its way to the ice and the 'third string' piece wasn't fully ready to go.
Another piece - minus the paper backing - was put up before the overtime.
This reminds me of a time long ago. I was watching on TV the Wings playing Chicago in the old Chicago Stadium probably sometime in the mid 1960s.
A piece of glass broke and the crew actually dropped two replacement pieces and then realized they were out of stock.
What to do? Well they took apart a chain link dog cage used to keep security dogs in, rigged it up to fit and boom, the game continues, after an hour and five minute delay.
Watch a video below of the covered plexiglass at the BB&T Center last night.
via George Richards of On Frozen Pond,
The Panthers had their smallest announced attendance in six seasons on Tuesday against Ottawa.
An estimated 500 fans were in the building for warmups. Approximately 8,000 watched the game in an arena that holds close to 20,000.
Florida's official announced attendance of 10,074 was just a handful more than reported for a Halloween game in 2008 against Carolina.
"In Florida, if you have a good team, people will come,'' defenseman Mike Weaver said.
"We're not winning at home right now. Now is the time to move forward.''
“There were a couple of incidents where he (Bryzgalov) wasn’t happy with the way our team played in front of him and he did a few things that caused us to say something to him and put him in his place. [He called us out] in not a very professional way. We had to take care of him because it wasn't always about him. It was about the team.
"He was unbelievable, a Vezina candidate, he got us to the playoffs. There's no question he probably played a little harder knowing that he was coming into free agency. Right now he's in a spot where he has to prove himself again.''
-Scottie Upshall on Ilya Bryzgalov when they were teammates in Phoenix. More from Harvey Fialkov of the SunSentinel.
from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province,
Wednesday morning this will echo throughout the Lower Mainland:
“They lost the Florida freakin’ Panthers.”
As should: Where were the Sedins? Where is Ryan Kesler?
The Canucks played entitled, sloppy hockey and their coach let them have it in the intermissions and after the game.
“We sucked, it was easily our worst game of the year,” Tortorella said. “We didn’t deserve a point. I don’t think anyone played well.
“This clunker makes no sense. It was a total lack of respect (for the Panthers). This one kicks me in the side of the head.”
read on and below, watch Tortorella post-game.
from Harvey Fialkov of the SunSentinel,
Thomas was the backup to starting U.S. Olympic goalie Ryan Miller in 2010 when America reached the gold-medal game only to lose 3-2 in overtime to Canada. Although Thomas only played briefly against Finland, he said Monday that returning to the Olympics in Sochi, Russia this February was one of the main reasons he decided to end his one-year hiatus.
"Absolutely, absolutely,'' Thomas said emphatically when asked about his Olympics hopes. "Yeah, it's one of the major factors. I only got to play [part of one period] against Finland. But the whole experience was awesome. It doesn't matter if you're playing or not in the Olympics you want to be a part of it, and I'd love to be a part of it again.''
Predators General Manager David Piole, who's also the GM of the U.S. Naional team, told the Sun Sentinel last month in Nashville that although Thomas wasn't invited to the tryouts last summer because he was still retired, he's in the picture.
"We have a lot of good options,'' Poile said. "We didn't know Timmy's situation then but he's in the program and if he's one of the best three goalies, he's going to Sochi.''
Miller is 4-11 and in the midst of a dreadful season in Buffalo, and other potential U.S. goalies such as Ottawa's Craig Anderson (5-6-2 with a 3.26 goals-against-average) and Detroit's Jimmy Howard (5-5-6 with a 2.68 GAA) are struggling.
"I'm not happy with the situation our team is in as far as wins and losses. The effort has been better lately. We're going to continue to be aggressive and make changes that are important for our franchise moving forward keeping our focus on the future.
"We're excited about where we're headed, the foundation being built. We added two young pieces to an already deep foundation of players and prospects. This is a step in the right direction for the Florida Panthers.''
-Dale Tallon, GM of the Florida Panters. More from Georg Richard of On Frozen Pond including this..
Versteeg went on WGN radio in Chicago this morning and not only said he hoped former Chicago defenseman Brian Campbell would eventually follow him to the Second City, but that other teammates sounded a little jealous in their text messages to him.
As far as waking up went, Versteeg thought the trade might have been a dream.
Brendan Shanahan explains the suspension.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
Dale Tallon will tell you the rebuild began when he got there, so this would be year three. After three wins in 16 games this season, the GM fired all of his coaches, then got on a conference call with reporters and spoke words that long-suffering Panthers fans have surely heard before. “This is just the beginning,” Tallon warned. “If our players don’t respond to this then they won’t be Panthers for very long. We want people that want to be Panthers, and if they don’t want to be, we’ll accommodate them.”
The Panthers are finding out exactly what the Oilers are learning: That you can’t win when your best players are all in their early 20s. That you need commensurate veteran leadership around those young players to carry them through their inevitable runs of inconsistency, and teach them how the NHL game is played. You also need stellar goaltending, because breakdowns occur more and the chances allowed tend to be of a higher quality.
The problem is, when you are Florida there is never enough money to attack the free agent market in search of those veterans. And when you are in the early stages of a rebuild, you can only entice second-tier UFAs, or oldsters on the comeback like Tim Thomas. Because the good free agents all want to chase a Stanley Cup....
As you are undoubtedly aware, we have decided to make a change behind the bench for your Florida Panthers with Peter Horachek becoming the team’s new interim head coach, replacing Kevin Dineen.
Peter brings years of NHL experience and, more importantly, the right character and drive to lead our team.
We thank Kevin and his family for their passion, sacrifice and dedication to this franchise, but at this time we felt a change in direction was absolutely necessary.
Our goals are simple: to win and to build a team that our fans can be proud of. After 16 games it is clear that we have not lived up to those expectations.
We must all be accountable for the results thus far – from ownership to coaches to players – and we felt strongly that a coaching change was necessary for this team to reach it’s potential.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org