Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Chuck Gormley at the Sporting News,
Break out the sun screen and beach chairs. The Florida Panthers are in hot pursuit of a playoff spot.
With a franchise-record seven-game win streak, the Panthers are biting at the heels of the eighth-place Philadelphia Flyers. And with two games coming up against the Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes, they’re even flirting with what was unthinkable two weeks ago: a South-least Division title.
“There’s a good energy going around,” Panthers defenseman Steve Montador said. “There’s a little bit of a buzz.”
Update 4:28pm ET: Eric Duhatschek at the Globe & Mail wonders if this is the Year of the Panther.
Update 5:33pm ET: Apparently Florida is the story of the day. Pierre LeBrun at Sportsnet.ca also checks in with some thoughts.
from On Frozen Pond,
The Panthers have officially suspended Chad Kilger without pay, word is retroactive to March 1. That’s probably a nice chunk of change. Figure he makes $800,000 per season, so during a 28-week season, that’s $28,571 per week on that scale; $15,384 over a 52-game pay period minus taxes, etc.
I now expect Mr. Kilger to clear up those personal issues rather promptly and find an Air Canada flight direct to Fort Lauderdale..
a little more on the Panthers…
from the Miami Herald,
(Craig) Anderson hasn’t surrendered a goal in 2 hours, 27 minutes, 46 seconds of game time. Philadelphia’s Daniel Briere was the last to beat him, on Feb. 23. Anderson, Florida’s backup to Tomas Vokoun, has also stopped 105 consecutive shots. Since the new year began, Anderson has won five of six starts.
‘‘This could happen to anyone, I’m just trying to work hard in practice to make sure I’d be ready when I did get the call,’’ said Anderson, who made 40 saves Tuesday after making 53 Sunday against the Islanders. ``It starts by working hard in practice and battling for the guys there. The guys are definitely pulling together. It’s good to see. These last two have just been terrific.’‘
more on the Panthers…
from the Miami Herald,
‘‘I thought we made progress every season, but I can’t say that about this season. It’s been a major disappointment to date,’’ Panthers majority owner Alan Cohen told us—and that was before Friday’s defeat left Florida one of only three teams with more regulation home losses than wins. ``Not making the playoffs this year is simply unacceptable to management, to our fans, and it should be to our players.’‘
I have been discerning owner-speak for a few decades now, all the way back to Dolphins patriarch Joe Robbie, and I can testify that when an owner publicly calls his team’s season a ‘‘major disappointment’’ and states that not making the playoffs is ‘‘simply unacceptable,’’ that owner might have a beheading in mind.
Chad Kilger, acquired by Florida in a trade with Toronto, was granted a leave of absence by the Panthers on Wednesday due to personal reasons.
Just one day after Kilger was sent to the Panthers by the Maple Leafs, the forward sat out when Florida faced his former team at home.
Kilger flew back to Toronto after meeting with Jacques Martin, the Panthers coach and general manager, and team officials said it wasn’t known when he would return.
from George Richards of the Miami Herald,
Olli Jokinen, favorite son of Canadian rumor mills, remained with the Panthers—as he fully expected.
He was so worried about being traded, he said Tuesday would be pretty routine. ‘‘I’m going to go home,’’ he said, ``eat some lunch, pick up my kids and go to the park like always. Nothing’s going to change.’‘
Florida coach and general manager Jacques Martin said teams asked about Jokinen, but ``from Day One, as I’ve said, you always try to improve our club and I wouldn’t make a deal that wasn’t good for the organization.’‘
‘‘Olli’s here, he should have piece of mind that the trade deadline is over,’’ Martin said. ``But the mandate hasn’t changed. We expect him to get us into the playoffs.’‘
more on the Panthers…
From TSN, Toronto Maple Leafs trade Chad Kilger to the Florida Panthers for a 3rd round pick.
According to TSN, Florida Panthers have sent Ruslan Salei to the Colorado Avalanche for Karlis Skrastins and a third round pick.
No link available yet. More soon.
Updated 12:28pm ET: TSN link
TSN reporting Toronto’s Wade Belak to the Florida Panthers for a 5th Round pick, 2008 draft.
Update 11:19am ET: TSN link
from Russo’s Rants,
Could this team unearth a top player from another team, whether it be a center or a defenseman – maybe a gritty, high-scoring center like Florida’s Olli Jokinen?
After all, a fourth Florida scout watched the Wild play tonight for the fifth time in six games. Like I said a few days ago, I know the Panthers and Wild play this week, but wouldn’t you agree that’s a little excessive pre-scouting?
Of course, I can promise you the Panthers wouldn’t just give Jokinen away. It would have to be a deal that knocks their socks off. They’re under no pressure to trade him — he’s under contract for the next two years at a reasonable price.
more on the Wild…
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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