Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Florida GM Jacques Martin was on hand for Wednesday’s game between the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
His presence was notable in that there was a prospects all-star game in Canada on Wednesday night, which suggests he wanted to get a firsthand look at someone taking part in the game in snowy Pittsburgh….
Martin, of course, has to decide what to do with blue-chip defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, who can become an unrestricted free agent this summer. He’d like to re-sign him, but that looks to be a tough sell, so Martin might be more inclined to move Bouwmeester before the March 4 trade deadline.
There are a couple of possibilities.
The Capitals, already blessed with fleet-footed defenseman Mike Green, would look pretty formidable with Bouwmeester along the blue line. It likely would cost them sniper Alexander Semin, but given the Caps’ offensive depth, it would be doable.
from Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald,
...the slumping economy is taking a toll on fan turnout—and in some ways, forcing the Miami Dolphins, Miami Heat, Florida Panthers and the Florida Marlins to rethink how they do business….
The Panthers are averaging 15,156 tickets distributed per game, which is below last year’s 15,436 and 25th among 30 teams. But the number of people who actually attend Heat and Panthers games is lower, sometimes significantly so….
The Panthers also have canceled plans to add a $25 fee to tickets for marquee games this season.
Yormark hopes to boost single-game sales, which he says have been ‘‘somewhat affected’’ by the economy.
The economy has affected the Panthers in other ways, too—the team laid off several support staff employees and is no longer matching employee money in 401(k) accounts.
more Panthers talk along with other Sout Florida teams…
from Dave Joseph at FloridaPanthers.com,
There was the bed shaped like a pony in Edmonton.
Then there’s the moose that got hit on the way back from Sault Ste. Marie. The plane engine that caught fire. The accident in the parking lot of Tim Hortons. The hotel operator needing a snowmobile to get supplies in Winnipeg.
Welcome to life on the road in the NHL.
When the Panthers flight from Toronto to South Florida was delayed nearly 24 hours last week due to mechanical problems and then bad weather, it was an inconvenience. But Panther players and coaches have had their share of strange trips – some scary and others funny – when it comes to life on the road in minor and professional hockey.
from Ethan J. Skolnick of the Sun-Sentinel,
Most are predicting, with good reason, that he will not re-sign. The fact that he hasn’t agreed to an extension, when the Panthers want to retain him, is evidence enough. Why would he go? Well, he’s 25, and he hasn’t played in the postseason since the Panthers drafted him third overall in 2002, one pick after Atlanta took Lehtonen. He is from hockey-crazed Alberta, and while playing in relative obscurity here seems the best fit for Bouwmeester’s introverted personality, his father, Dan, told New Times that South Florida “shouldn’t even be in the NHL” and “it’s not a hockey town.”
So all signs point to relocation to the North, to play for a fan base that better appreciates his attributes, even if it might also be more critical of the inconsistency of his physicality.
This has all inspired the assertion that the Panthers should get value for him now, while they can. After all, better to get 80 cents on the dollar than nothing.
That would be a reasonable argument, and the prudent approach, for any franchise other than this one. The Panthers will never get any traction, or respect, without a playoff appearance.
from Glenn Odebralski for FloridaPanthers.com,
It took awhile for the Panthers to grasp head coach Peter DeBoer’s attacking, aggressive system, starting out the season 7-11-1, but they seem to be playing it now going 12-5-5 in their last 22 games, including a 4-2 victory over Carolina Thursday night.
“We have to be the hardest working team out there,” said winger David Booth who leads the team with 17 goals. “Getting pucks in the offensive zone and cycling teams and wearing them down. Finishing our hits. Getting pucks to the net, jamming, getting rebounds. I think that would be the identity of our team.”
from Paul Branecky of CarolinaHurricanes.com,
As Paul Maurice said in his postgame comments, last night’s game in Florida was indeed unusual, but it wasn’t the first. The Canes’ two games there this season, both losses, have been statistically two of the strangest games in team history.
The first one, which Florida won by a 3-2 score, was the franchise’s first penalty-free game on the road since 1980. Last night’s game, a 4-2 win for the Panthers, was the first time Hartford/Carolina didn’t have a power play on the road since 1981. Each of this year’s games had just two total penalties.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Tonight there will be no homecoming for Chad Kilger, the hockey player who has mysteriously disappeared.
He played his last National Hockey League game on Feb. 25 in Ottawa. The Maple Leafs won 5-0 that night. The next day, knowing nothing of the future, the Leafs traded him to the Florida Panthers.
In the hockey world, that was the last anyone saw of Kilger.
With more than $1 million US still owing on his contract, and without warning, “playing the best hockey of his life” Kilger never reported to the Panthers.
from George Richards of On Frozen Pond,
Here’s what happened: Moments after Campbell and Maxime Talbot fought a good fight, Crosby and McLean lined up in the faceoff circle. The puck was dropped,
Crosby grabbed McLean and took him down, shaking and pulling him around the ice – without throwing a punch.
McLean cut the bridge of his nose when he hit the ice, and Crosby was sent away with four penalties – including instigating and unsportsmanlike conduct. Crosby’s fighting style has been criticized lately, especially after he repeatedly took below-the-belt shots at Atlanta’s Boris Valabik last month.
After the game, coach Pete DeBoer and McLean didn’t have much to say on the subject, but Nick Tarnasky and Nick Boynton sure did. Tarnasky’s comments to me should be construed as off the record since we were just chatting during the second break, but Boynton went off as he finished getting dressed.
We’re you hoping he’d get back on the ice? ‘‘Oh yeah,’’ Boynton said.
more and watch the video below..
via the Florida Panthers Blog at the Sun-Sentinel,
The Chicago Tribune is reporting that the Blackhawks have been invited to open the 2009-10 season in Prague, Czech Republic and that the Panthers will likely be the opponent.
Chicago team president John McDonough told the Tribune that Blackhawks had been extended an invitation, and added, “nothing has been finalized. We’ll know sometime in the near future.” The newspaper cited an unnamed source saying that Blackhawks’ opponent would be the Panthers.
Asked about the validity of the report this afternoon, Panthers team president Michael Yormark said, “No comment” through team spokesman Justin Copertino
from George Richards of the Miami Herald, .
..Florida lost that night, 4-2 to the red-hot Boston Bruins. The Panthers were 7-11-1.
‘‘We had hit a crossroads in the season,’’ DeBoer said.
As soon as the team got back, Martin put enforcer Wade Belak on waivers. Players were shocked.
Belak, who had signed a two-year deal to stay with the team in the offseason, cleared waivers and was welcomed back. Then he was traded to Nashville.
The Panthers haven’t been the same since.
‘‘I didn’t have a problem with Wade; he worked hard every day and did his job,’’ DeBoer said before Florida beat Belak’s Predators 3-0 on Tuesday. ``But at that point of the season, we needed to shake things up. He was a casualty of that. He’s gone on and done good things for Nashville.
``We’ve turned our season around, but it wasn’t because of Wade Belak or because of that trade. That would be simplifying it a bit. But everyone on our team needed to be put on notice, know that status quo wasn’t going to be good enough.’‘
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