Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Dave Joseph at FloridaPanthers.com,
Rewind: The Panthers are languishing. They’re 30th, dead last, in the NHL and they’re clearly at the crossroads. One road leads to significance and the long road out of the league basement. The other? Obscurity.
After a dull 4-2 loss Nov. 21 in Boston, the Panthers return to South Florida and coach Peter DeBoer begins his daily press briefing by saying, “Everyone here should be on notice.”
“The status quo isn’t good enough,” he added. “There’s going to be consequences throughout the lineup because of that.”
And that begins three weeks that will change a season.
from George Richards of the Miami Herald,
Florida Panthers general manager Jacques Martin said winger Rostislav Olesz needs surgery to repair a sports hernia that already has cost Olesz six weeks of his season.
Olesz was injured Dec. 4, with the original diagnosis being a pulled groin. Olesz returned to practice a few weeks ago before being shut down after the pain failed to subside.
from Steve Gorten of the Sun-Sentinel,
Caught up with GM Jacques Martin before the game. Here are his thoughts on several issues:...
Martin said he hasn’t spoken with D Jay Bouwmeester’s agent and that “there’s no change in his status.”
“We’ll talk to him in the near future,” Martin said. “The closer we get to the trading deadline, it’s an issue we’ll have to resolve. Right now, he’s playing his best hockey.
more Panthers issues….
from Erik Erlendsson of Bolts Report,
There is a good chance that Evgeny Artyukhin will at least receive a phone call from the league office, if he hasn’t already, regarding his knee-on-knee hit with Florida’s Ville Peltonen. It appeared that Arthukhin stuck out his knee as the two collided at the end of the second period. Peltonen lay on the ice for several minutes and had to be helped off the ice. The Panthers scored the eventual game winner on the penalty (which was called tripping, not kneeing).
more on the Lightning…
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.
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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