Kukla's Korner Hockey
via Darren Dreger of TSN,
Sources tell TSN Randy Sexton has accepted the job of general manager of the Florida Panthers.
The Panthers are expected to announce Sexton’s official role before today’s game in Finland.
A native of Brockville, Ontario, Sexton is being promoted from his current role of Assistant General Manager with Florida. He was appointed to that role in early 2007.
from David J. Neal of the Miami Herald,
Northerners, rooted and transplanted, sniff at the travails of Phoenix, Atlanta, Tampa Bay and the Panthers as proof that hockey should remain the province of cities that have snow days. It doesn’t fit their prejudices to note that each of those four franchises has a history of ineptitude that few markets would support these days. You don’t, for example, hear much griping about a team in San Jose. And the last time a lake froze in St. Louis, a glacier covered Chicago….
Fans of a team rebuilding a fan base can’t enjoy the championship the following season because of a money move by management—attendance springs back instantly from that within a year or two, right, Marlins?
Besides, warm weather doesn’t cause bad decisions. Rick Dudley’s office needing air conditioning in January isn’t why he traded up one spot to draft Petr Taticek ninth overall in 2002, leaving division rival Washington to take Alexander Semin three spots later.
It’s also not why, with the No. 1 overall pick in 2003, Dudley traded down to No. 3 and chose Nathan Horton. Horton’s a good player who hasn’t lived up to being the No. 3 overall pick in one of the best drafts ever. Dudley could have taken center Eric Staal, a great, clutch player who Carolina snapped up at No. 2 and followed to the Stanley Cup three years later.
from Steve Gorten of the Sun-Sentinel,
Center Stephen Weiss, and defensemen Keith Ballard, Bryan Allen and Jordan Leopold all missed practice this morning because of the flu. All will be game-time decisions, Coach Pete DeBoer said.
“We just have to keep those guys away from the other guys and hope to get through Friday and Saturday without spreading it any more,” DeBoer said.
Not sure about the other three, but I’d be surprised if Weiss plays Friday. If he does, he deserves a tremendou s amount of credit for gutting it out. I saw him in the hotel elevator this morning as I was leaving for practice and he looked as awful as he said he felt.
“I was told by a lot of people in hockey that they felt he was one of the most ready guys in the draft to step in. And you can see why. …He’s got a real confidence to him, which is critical for young defensemen. It’s unwavering. He’ll make a mistake and have no fear of going back out there the next shift and trying things again.
“That type of confidence, you have to have that if you’re going to try and step into this league at 18, 19, especially as a defenseman. ...Now he’s got nine games to prove he can handle the next test which is NHL regular season hockey. Exhibition games are a version of American League hockey and there’s another level it goes to on Friday night.”
-Panthers Coach Pete DeBoer on rookie defenseman Dmitry Kulikov via Steve Gorten of the SunSentinel.
from George Richards of the Miami Herald,
The Panthers are at the deadline to sign rookie defenseman Dmitry Kulikov, and if they don’t, the 18-year-old would have to be returned to his junior team in Quebec on Tuesday. Kulikov is negotiating a buyout of his contract with the Russian professional league. Until that happens, he cannot sign with the Panthers.
``I don’t really have an update, but we have until [Tuesday] to get him released and signed, and we are working on it,’’ acting general manager Randy Sexton said. ``There is a little time zone difference. His agents are in New York and the Russians are in Moscow. So it takes a little time to work through.’‘
The Panthers want to sign Kulikov and see him try to take the seventh spot on defense. This year’s first-round pick has looked like he belongs in the NHL—at least through his first five exhibition games.
from Hal Habib of the Palm Beach Post,
It’s a business trip. Florida Panthers goaltending coach Robb Tallas is the first to say that, no matter how hopeless the mantra may sound. He and the team are embarking Friday on an eight-day tour of Finland in which they’ll have four games to sweat out, including two counting toward the regular season, but the operative word is “games.”
The kind of save Tallas will have in the back of his mind is infinitely more serious.
This is where Tallas came close to dying. While in Finland to play professional hockey, Tallas broke into a sweat one night, drove himself a hospital, walked into the emergency room - and went into cardiac arrest.
from Ethan J. Skolnick of the Sun-Sentinel,
So this column won’t move many. And even for the 10,000 or so who still give a puck, there won’t be much that Sexton could say to persuade them that his Panthers will fare better than the Panthers of Bryan Murray or Rick Dudley or Mike Keenan or Jacques Martin, all names with more pizzazz whose teams petered out prior to the postseason.
Nor did Sexton completely persuade me, either, not even with his perfectly sensible talk about building through the draft, continuing to remake the culture, trying to upgrade the “level of nastiness” and insisting that every acquired player passes “the character sniff test.”
He didn’t persuade me that Stephen Weiss will finally emerge as an 80-point front-line center, or that there’s enough added mobility on defense to compensate for Jay Bouwmeester’s absence, or even that “knock on wood, if we can stay healthy, we’re going to stay in the [playoff] hunt.” He didn’t persuade me only because, after all that’s not occurred under his predecessors, you must wear your trusty shield of skepticism whenever encountering a Panthers executive.
from Steve Gorten of the Sun-Sentinel,
Tomas Vokoun acknowledges he needs to be better early in the season. It’s the main reason the Florida Panthers goalie was on the ice in late July long before teammates arrived.
But Vokoun is a bit perplexed by some people’s perception that he didn’t play well at all last season.
“You know what? People make such a big deal. There were a couple, few parts I didn’t play and [Craig Anderson] played, but Andy played great. He totally deserved his playing time,” Vokoun said.
“I finished second in save percentage in the league. I can tell you, if that’s the case this year, I’ll take it right now. . . . As goalies, we both did very well. I think it was the strength of our team. That’s my opinion. Some people may have a different one.”
from Steve Gorten of the Sun-Sentinel via the Santa Barbara News-Press,
They were the young trio of forwards Florida Panthers fans fell in love with during the 2007-08 season, so much so that the team had a contest to name their line.
Center Stephen Weiss and wingers David Booth and Nathan Horton became known as the ‘‘Sunrise Express,’’ a nickname not so loved by Weiss, but, he joked, ‘‘It’s better than people calling us the three bums.’‘
Not likely. From the moment they got together, they were the team’s best line. Before last season started, though, the line was broken up. Horton was moved to center on another line out of necessity, and while Weiss and Booth still achieved success, their line lacked the chemistry it had with Horton.
Now the Sunrise Express is back together, and there’s a chance the Panthers will finally have a stable, cohesive No. 1 line for an extended period of time. Booth, 24, signed a six-year deal in July. Weiss, 26, and Horton, 24, did the same two summers ago.
from Steve Gorten of the Sun-Sentinel,
The Panthers are close to signing free-agent defenseman Dennis Seidenberg and a deal is imminent, an NHL source said Sunday.
According to the source, the team and Seidenberg’s agent, J.P. Barry, have been feverishly negotiating and have agreed to a one-year contract. They just need to settle on salary before the contract is finalized, which could happen as early as today.
Seidenberg’s signing would be a boon for the Panthers.
added 10:17am, TSN reporting 1yr for $2.25M.
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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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