Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Dave Joseph at FloridaPanthers.com,
Vokoun, who has always worn his heart on his sleeve, enters the season more comfortable. He’s settled with his family in Florida, he feels optimistic about the team’s direction, and, more importantly, he returns for his second season with the Panthers looking at a new and improved blue line.
In fact, some consider the Panthers’ blue line to now be one of the elite in the league. Start with Jay Bouwmeester and Bryan Allen, a healthy Noah Welch and Cory Murphy, iron man Karlis Skrastins, and add veterans Keith Ballard, Bryan McCabe and Nick Boynton.
“We’ve definitely improved,” Vokoun said.
from Kelli, the Panthers Ice Dancers Captain,
The girls and I had our annual initiation dinner a few weeks ago giving us the chance to take a break from all the hard work put in and really get to mingle with each other and get to know one another a little bit better.
read more from Kelli’s Korner and some pictures too.
from Alan Schwarz of the New York Times,
A dozen athletes, including six N.F.L. players and a former United States women’s soccer player, have agreed to donate their brains after their deaths to the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy….
Among the dozen living athletes, most with a history of concussions, who have agreed to donate their brains for examination after their deaths are the former N.F.L. players Johnson, Frank Wycheck, Isaiah Kacyvenski and Ben Lynch. Also participating are Noah Welch, who played hockey for the Florida Panthers last year, and Cindy Parlow, a former member of the United States national soccer team.
From Mark Herrmann at Newsday
No one could say for sure Zednik, the former Islander, would survive the horrifying, gruesome, freakish injury he sustained in Buffalo that night when teammate Olli Jokinen’s skate accidentally slashed Zednik in the throat and cut his carotid artery. Zednik lost five pints of blood.
“Every time I think about it, I get chills,” teammate Jason Cullimore told the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, recalling having helped Zednik off the ice.
Surgeons spent an hour reconnecting the artery. The operation left a long scar but saved Zednik’s life and restored his career.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
“I didn’t want to leave,” he said. “I signed to play there. I wanted to win there. But circumstances change.
“We didn’t make the playoffs for three years, they bought Darcy out, they bought Razor [Raycroft] out. Who knew if Mats was going to come back or not? When we looked at it, we thought it was time for a fresh start.”
McCabe told Fletcher the Panthers were his top choice. He said the acquisition of defencemen Keith Ballard and Nick Boynton in a trade with the Phoenix Coyotes, plus the presence of Jay Bouwmeester, meant he would be joining an up-and-coming defence corps.
from the Sun-Sentinal,
Bouwmeester said he’s frustrated with not making the playoffs in his five NHL seasons with the Panthers and wasn’t going to decide this summer whether to re-sign or leave as an unrestricted free agent after all the latest edition of offseason changes.
“If I wasn’t [unsure], I would have signed something,” Bouwmeester said, adding that he’s “not closing doors” on the possibility of signing long term.
He said the team’s lack of success “absolutely” is why he’s hesitant to commit long term.
from Brian Biggane of the Palm Beach Post,
DeBoer, who will begin his first camp Saturday as an NHL head coach, will institute an aggressive, puck-possession game patterned after that of the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings.
“We won’t be sitting back. We’re going to be in your face,” said Stephen Weiss, who enters camp as the team’s No. 1 center. He played the same role for DeBoer seven years ago at Plymouth of the Ontario Hockey League.
“Our bread and butter is going to be forechecking,” Weiss said. “It’s going to be up-tempo all the time.”
From George Richards at On Frozen Pond
The Panthers just called to tell me that defenseman Keith Ballard has signed a six-year contract extension. Ballard, the key part of the Olli Jokinen deal, was set to become a restricted free agent after the coming season.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
If you want to know why the Maple Leafs gave up on and gave away Bryan McCabe, here it is in a nutshell:
McCabe got to pick where he wanted to play and he chose the Florida Panthers. Translation: He doesn’t give a hoot whether he wins or loses and the Leafs were well aware of that. Who would want an apparent leader who is happy playing for a team in a messed-up market that never contends?
more hockey topics discussed along with other sports notes.
“Jacques was the ‘D’ coach (at the Olympics) so I got to spend some time with him,” McCabe said. “Jacques went out of his way to bring me here and I’m happy to be wanted. Jacques has done a great job (in Florida). He’s got good young talent. And, obviously, the acquisitions this summer have been great.
“Bringing in Cory Stillman, a guy with two Stanley Cups…guys like that are few and far between. And the acquisitions of (Keith) Ballard and (Nick) Boynton is a big upside. With myself added, and Jay Bouwmeester, who is one of the best defensemen in the league, hands down, I think we have one of the best defensive units out there. Plus you have an All-Star goalie.”
more from Bryan McCabe at FloridaPanthers.com.
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.
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