Kukla's Korner Hockey
from George Richards of On Frozen Pond,
Last time Florida won four straight on the road prior to this season: Last year at this time; 1997, ‘96 and ‘95.
—Panthers pull into a tie with Buffalo for eighth in the East. From last in the NHL to Top Eight in the east, second in the division. Not too shabby.
Says Pete DeBoer:
“It wasn’t that long ago we were sitting at the bottom of the league. They’ve picked themselves up and it hasn’t been easy with the injuries we’ve faced. It would have been easy at that point to pack the season in, lose three or four in a row and be totally out of it in December.
‘‘Instead, they’ve kind of beaten the odds here. We’ve used different guys and they’ve clawed back into it. We have a long way to go. As I said a few games ago, we’re not throwing any parades around here.’‘
via the Miami Herald, I
njured winger Nathan Horton said the deep cut on his ankle ‘‘looks fine and has healed up nice,’’ but he’s still out of the lineup because he’s having trouble skating.
On Wednesday, he found out why after an MRI revealed a small fracture around his heel that is the source of his discomfort, he said. Horton said he’s day to day, although there is no timeline for his return. Horton missed his sixth consecutive game Thursday.
‘‘I tried to skate a few times, but it’s still sore,’’ Horton said.
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
The $575,000-a-year goalie, whose paycheque is 10% of Tomas Vokoun’s, went into the game with the best save percentage in the league at .941 and a 2.09 goals against average and improved on both numbers to go 5-1-2 in his last eight games and 16-4-3 since Jan. 3 last year.
(Craig) Anderson left the building with one of the most fascinating stats you’ll ever find for a goaltender as he stretched his career record to 10-1-4 in games in which he faced 40 or more shots.
But sorry, he wasn’t the story.
Lots of shots. No chances.
That was the sorry story as the Oilers booted yet another home game as they began the stretch of games in which they’re supposed to reboot their season.
from George Richards of On Frozen Pond,
As expected, the local buzz surrounded Jay Bouwmeester and his contract. The general consensus around here is that Jay won’t be with the Panthers (big shock), and that Edmonton could offer some serious jingle to get their hometown boy back. I don’t think Jay will sign here to play under a microscope, and two people I talked to up here agree with that assessment. The Oilers are going to try to get him, though.
Pete (DeBoer) on Jay: ‘‘He’s been outstanding. I didn’t have a real appreciation for how good he is. He has that unique combination of speed and range where he can shut down the best players on every team. He’s also found his offensive game, something that started last year when he put up 15 goals.
more on Bouwmeester and the Panthers as the prepare to face the Oilers tonight in Edmonton…
from John Grigg of the Hockey News,
He’s a top-10 goalie having a down season on a bad team. Over the past three seasons, he’s averaged 31 wins, a 2.60 GAA, .919 save percentage and four shutouts. No goalie averaging 50-plus games played over that period has a better save percentage than Vokoun. To put it simply, he’s good and a number of teams will likely fall all over themselves for a shot at acquiring him.
The Panthers have little to play for over the next few years. Their future is not now and once other goalies begin to be traded, Vokoun loses value as an asset. So as Denis Lemieux might say, “Trade heem right #$@*~!& now!”
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
Florida GM Jacques Martin hasn’t given up hope of signing Bouwmeester long-term and indicated he’ll hold contract talks next month when discussions are allowed to resume.
“I don’t think it has changed with (Bouwmeester),” said Martin, the former Senators coach and Rockland native.
Sources say Martin is taking one more stab at locking up Bouwmeester before sending him packing.
The Panthers hoped the hiring of coveted junior coach Peter DeBoer would send the message that the franchise is serious about getting back on track and into the playoffs.
more on Bouwmeester…
from Steve Gorten of the Sun-Sentinel,
As long as the Panthers keep winning with Craig Anderson in goal, he’ll remain the starter.
Coach Pete DeBoer said after Thursday’s 2-1 win against the Sabres at BankAtlantic Center that Anderson will make his fifth consecutive start Saturday against the Bruins.
Anderson began the season clearly the team’s No. 2 netminder behind Tomas Vokoun, but has emerged as a co-starter the past nine days.
Anderson made 45 saves Thursday while facing 46 shots both season highs. The Panthers finished with 25 shots.
continued with more on Anderson…
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Major Le-Brownie points for those of you who can guess off the top of your head which goaltender leads the NHL in save percentage with a sparkling .948 and is second in goals-against average at 1.87.
Tick-tock, tick- tock ...
That would be Craig Anderson, who tonight is making his third consecutive start for Florida as the Panthers play host Washington.
“You just have to seize the moment when it comes and be ready for it,” Anderson told ESPN.com last night, explaining his recent success. “If you’re not ready when you get your opportunity, you’ll look foolish.”
from the Miami Herald via the Palm Beach Post,
The Panthers’ anemic offense took another hit when center Nathan Horton was lost for an indefinite amount of time after sustaining a deep leg cut in the third period of Wednesday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the New Jersey Devils.
Horton got tangled up with a Panthers player and New Jersey defenseman Colin White against the boards and had his leg stepped on; the skate blade cut through Horton’s boot and left a deep gash….
“He’s out through the weekend, then we’ll go from there,” DeBoer said. “It’s tough to see on the video how it happened.”
The Panthers already are missing two of their top forwards in Richard Zednik and Cory Stillman.
read on for more on the Panthers…
From George Richards at the Miami Herald:
Wade Belak was back on the ice for the Panthers on Wednesday night, two days after clearing waivers.
His return was short lived.
The Panthers sent Belak to Nashville on Thursday afternoon, bringing back center Nick Tarnasky. Belak, 32, signed a two-year deal with the Panthers during the offseason and makes $650,000 per year. The 24-year-old Tarnasky is also signed through the 2009-10 season, but the Panthers will see a savings as Tarnasky makes $525,000.
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