Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
from Lyle Richardson of Spector’s Hockey,
Does it strike anyone other than me as more than a coincidence that the Montreal Canadiens went cold right around the time the Vincent Lecavalier trade rumors broke last month?
From early December to a week prior to the 2009 NHL All-Star game the Canadiens had rallied from a minor November slump and were a sizzling 11-2-1, despite losing such notables as Carey Price and Saku Koivu to injury.
Then the trade rumors linking the Habs to Lecavalier broke, and they’re 2-8 in their last ten leading up to February 11th.
I’m a big fan of Habs GM Bob Gainey and overall approve of how he’s built and maintained the current roster, but his cryptic responses to the Lecavalier trade speculation seemed to only stoke the rumors.
It’s unknown if Gainey spoke to any of the players who were rumored headed to Tampa Bay for Lecavalier to calm their nerves.
continued plus some Bouwmeester talk…
from George Richards of On Frozen Pond,
Give the Panthers’ marketing brass credit for one thing: They’re creative. Oh, and they have plenty of brass. So make that two things.
The latest out of One Panther Parkway comes a playoff guarantee.
Basically, the team is saying if you buy a four-game pack of tickets to this year’s playoff run and the team doesn’t make the postseason, you score four freebies next year.
Which you can probably parlay into tickets for 2010-11 if they don’t make the playoffs again next season. It could be the gift that keeps on giving!
From WCBS News Radio:
Ever had to eat tickets to a sporting event which took place while you were on vacation? Get this. New Jersey Nets season ticket holders can get in on the “Snowbird Exchange Program.”
[NJ Nets Press Release]: As cold weather takes hold of the Metropolitan area, the Nets and the Florida Panthers have launched the first-ever Snowbird Ticket Exchange Plan in which south Florida-bound Nets season ticket holders can exchange their unused game tickets for Florida Panthers hockey game tickets at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla.
More on this from the Associated Press.
from David J. Neal of the Miami Herald,
The Panthers haven’t been this happy with their position in the late January standings since 1999-2000, their last playoff year. Now, the question is what the Panthers will do with Bouwmeester at the coming trade deadline—deal their No. 1 defenseman or risk losing him for nothing as an unrestricted free agent?
‘‘I hope he’s here for a lot of years,’’ Weiss said. ``I hope we can all stay here. I’m pretty stubborn that way where you want to finish where you started. I was drafted here and I want to make this work and get this team consistently winning and make the playoffs and do something in the playoffs. I think a lot of guys have that mind-set—you know what, it hasn’t been good here, but we’re going to turn this thing around and make it work down here.’‘
from Steve Gorten of Florida Panther blog at the Sun-Sentinel,
Yes, the Panthers are going to make the playoffs this April.
My prediction isn’t a knee-jerk reaction to tonight’s 5-1 win against the Canadiens. This performance only punctuates the progression of this team.
I watched the third period tonight, seeing the Panthers attack more in those 20 minutes than in some entire games last season. This team plays a fun style to watch. And now its confidence is soaring.
Much of that credit has to go to Pete DeBoer. In my opinion, if the Panthers make the postseason, he will and should be named the NHL’s coach of the year. As a Panthers fan, you should love what DeBoer said tonight when I asked him what statement this win made about where his team’s at:
from The Good, The Bad And The Duthie,
What do you do, Jacques? What in the world do you do?
You trade him. That’s what you do. You cannot watch Bouwmeester walk away for nothing. A couple of (possible) home playoff dates aren’t worth it.
And I believe that Martin will do just that, unless the trade offers are laughably bad, which they shouldn’t be. As trade deadline approaches, they will get better and better. Someone will put together an attractive package that works; perhaps a solid NHL player, a top prospect, and a first round pick. And Jacques will take it.
“This year has been the best year since I’ve been there, in a lot of ways. There seems to be more stability there now and there really wasn’t for a few years. Those are the things you think about. But right now there’s not really a lot going on and we haven’t been talking a whole lot, I don’t think. I haven’t ruled anything out. Money isn’t always everything. I haven’t played in the playoffs and that’s obviously No. 1. Where that is, whether it’s Florida or not, who knows?”
-Jay Bouwmeester at the All-Star festivities yesterday. More ASG topics from Ken Campbell of the Hockey News.
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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