Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Dave Joseph at FloridaPanthers.com,
Unable to fly due to an ear infection, Vokoun was joined by strength and conditioning coach Andy O’Brien and head athletic trainer Dave Zenobi while driving the approximate 640 miles between Washington, D.C., and Atlanta.
Due to a winter storm dumping snow along the east cost, the trip, which began Sunday after the Panthers 6-2 victory in Washington, took 14 hours and was spread over two days.
After covering only 200 miles in six hours Sunday evening, the three decided to rest in Oxford, N.C., before driving the remaining distance Monday morning. Vokoun was in Atlanta by early afternoon and was practicing with some of his teammates at 2:30 p.m.
“I felt pretty good,” said Vokoun of his Monday practice. “You know, I haven’t played in a little time. I haven’t done too much the last four days. I felt terrible at first (in practice) but I knew I would improve.”
from Steve Gorten of Florida Panthers blog at the Sun-Sentinel,
I spoke to Nick Boynton by phone on Friday, and as you might expect, he said, “I’m pretty upset about waking up this morning and getting sent home.” He also said he was still in a little bit of shock.
I understand where Boynton is coming from. I also understand where coach Pete DeBoer and general manager Jacques Martin are coming from.
I think the argument between DeBoer and Boynton after Thursday’s game was a little more heated than Boynton described it—although Boynton admitted he raised his voice and used an expletive when asking DeBoer if he was good enough to play—but definitely not so intense that Boynton charged in and got in DeBoer’s face.
First, Boynton’s side.
from George Richards of On Frozen Pond,
Florida defenseman Nick Boynton has been dismissed from the team for disciplinary reasons and will not be with the team for the remainder of the team’s three game road trip.
Boynton, acquired from Phoenix over the summer as part of the Olli Jokinen trade, played Thursday in New York and traveled with the team to its suburban New Jersey hotel after the game. According to roomate Keith Ballard, Boynton was upset with the team’s decision to send him back to South Florida. It’s possible, with the NHL trade deadline coming on Wednesday that Boynton has played his last game with the Panthers.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
We sought out Bryon Baltimore, the elusive agent of Jay Bouwmeester, who, like his client, keeps a low profile and stays out of the media spotlight. But he was kind enough to chat with ESPN.com before rushing off to the airport and heading back to Edmonton.
“I can’t say that it’s that interesting a week in the sense that Jay’s focus in on the playoff run and helping the Panthers get there,” said Baltimore. “That’s been his focus all year.”
The Panthers have been unable to get Bouwmeester, a pending unrestricted free agent July 1, to agree to a contract extension and that’s why they are contemplating moving him next week if the deal is right.
“We’ve had ongoing dialogue and whatnot,” Baltimore said of contract talks with the Panthers. “I’ve always treated the business end of it and the negotiating end of it as confidential, so I can’t say that we have not spoken, but I have to leave it at that.”
read on and other NHL topics discussed…
from Anthony J. SanFilippo of the Delco Times,
The Flyers would like to improve their blue line and Bouwmeester would be a significant upgrade.
There are a few problems getting in the way of a possible deal.
First and foremost, the Flyers have salary-cap issues. They would need to trade the equivalent or greater salary to Florida in order to fit Bouwmeester on the roster. Bouwmeester makes $4.875 million.
Secondly, Bouwmeester, 25, is an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of the season. If the Flyers were to make a deal for the defenseman, they would want to make sure they could sign him to a long-term deal. Trading for him as a rental wouldn’t be prudent, especially considering what he’s going to cost.
Which leads to problem No. 3: The Panthers want an NHL-caliber defenseman to replace him and an NHL forward, yet they don’t want to take too much salary back in return.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
The Panthers are one of the more interesting stories of the second half of the season precisely because they haven’t followed their patented script—go to camp with promise, stumble out of the gate, play well for a time, then disappear into the mists.
This is a team whose leading scorer, Stephen Weiss, has just 41 points (tied for 79th among all NHL players). But the Panthers are unified by one thing, defenseman Keith Ballard said.
“There are a lot of guys here who are sick of losing,” Ballard told ESPN.com this week.
What makes the Panthers a compelling story is they began the season with the usual expectations of win a couple, lose a couple. “We were under .500 and not sure what kind of team we were going to be,” Ballard said.
more topics including Osgoood…
from the Sun-Sentinel,
Florida Panthers general manager Jacques Martin spoke with reporters on an NHL conference call Monday afternoon. Here are some of Martin’s thoughts on defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, whose current contract runs out after this season, as the league’s March 4 deadline draws closer.
When the team is in a playoff race how much does marketing and the trust of the fans play into any personnel decisions you make at the deadline?
“We appreciate our fans a great deal, but from a management standpoint, you can’t manage your team according to the fans. The last couple of years we’ve tried to build a team that would this franchise in the playoffs moving forward and we evaluate our strengths and areas we need to improve.
“When you get into the trading deadline, you look to improve for the stretch drive if you can. At the same time, we like our hockey club. We think our club has grown a great deal since last summer. We made a lot of moves in the offseason and we feel our team is improving as the season is moving along.”
more including Bouwmeester thoughts…
from George Richards of On Frozen Pond,
We haven’t seen rubber rats in large numbers on Florida ice in quite some time, although the rubber rodents are definitely making a comeback.
Sure, the NHL came up with a rule to block the practice of throwing objects onto the ice during a game soon after the Panthers’ 1996 run to the Finals were over. That doesn’t mean people haven’t been doing it in smaller numbers since.
from Bomber’s Blog (Bill Lindsay) at FloridaPanthers.com,
We are getting down to crunch time in the NHL season, and the race is on to make the playoffs. The good news if you’re a Panther fan is that the Cats are one of the few teams headed north in the eastern standings. An amazing run since the start of the New Year has the Panthers poised to end their long playoff drought.
Florida is a team on the rise, which is more than can be said for some of the other teams in the East. I wrote in an earlier blog, that I would much rather have a player that performs well in the second half of the season than the first half. That adage would hold true for teams as well. This is money time, when you really start to find out about your hockey club.
Three teams that had good first halfs, and are now headed south are the Rangers, Canadians and Penguins.
from Ethan J. Skolnick of the Sun-Sentinel,
This statement is so startling that it can’t wait for a second paragraph: the Panthers’ plan appears to be working.
Collect yourself. Call a witness.
“It’s important to have a plan,” Panthers general manager Jacques Martin said.
It sounds simple. You would assume that every self-respecting sports franchise would conceive one, develop one, follow one. A plan making sense. A plan seen through, tweaked when necessary but abandoned only in emergency. For too many years, however, even the Panthers’ best-laid plans were prematurely laid to rest, buried alive when the team got buried again in the standings. Play the kids. Bring in vets. Play the kids. No, go with vets. The Panthers switched strategies like teens change crushes.
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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