Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
We sought out Bryon Baltimore, the elusive agent of Jay Bouwmeester, who, like his client, keeps a low profile and stays out of the media spotlight. But he was kind enough to chat with ESPN.com before rushing off to the airport and heading back to Edmonton.
“I can’t say that it’s that interesting a week in the sense that Jay’s focus in on the playoff run and helping the Panthers get there,” said Baltimore. “That’s been his focus all year.”
The Panthers have been unable to get Bouwmeester, a pending unrestricted free agent July 1, to agree to a contract extension and that’s why they are contemplating moving him next week if the deal is right.
“We’ve had ongoing dialogue and whatnot,” Baltimore said of contract talks with the Panthers. “I’ve always treated the business end of it and the negotiating end of it as confidential, so I can’t say that we have not spoken, but I have to leave it at that.”
read on and other NHL topics discussed…
from Anthony J. SanFilippo of the Delco Times,
The Flyers would like to improve their blue line and Bouwmeester would be a significant upgrade.
There are a few problems getting in the way of a possible deal.
First and foremost, the Flyers have salary-cap issues. They would need to trade the equivalent or greater salary to Florida in order to fit Bouwmeester on the roster. Bouwmeester makes $4.875 million.
Secondly, Bouwmeester, 25, is an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of the season. If the Flyers were to make a deal for the defenseman, they would want to make sure they could sign him to a long-term deal. Trading for him as a rental wouldn’t be prudent, especially considering what he’s going to cost.
Which leads to problem No. 3: The Panthers want an NHL-caliber defenseman to replace him and an NHL forward, yet they don’t want to take too much salary back in return.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
The Panthers are one of the more interesting stories of the second half of the season precisely because they haven’t followed their patented script—go to camp with promise, stumble out of the gate, play well for a time, then disappear into the mists.
This is a team whose leading scorer, Stephen Weiss, has just 41 points (tied for 79th among all NHL players). But the Panthers are unified by one thing, defenseman Keith Ballard said.
“There are a lot of guys here who are sick of losing,” Ballard told ESPN.com this week.
What makes the Panthers a compelling story is they began the season with the usual expectations of win a couple, lose a couple. “We were under .500 and not sure what kind of team we were going to be,” Ballard said.
more topics including Osgoood…
from the Sun-Sentinel,
Florida Panthers general manager Jacques Martin spoke with reporters on an NHL conference call Monday afternoon. Here are some of Martin’s thoughts on defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, whose current contract runs out after this season, as the league’s March 4 deadline draws closer.
When the team is in a playoff race how much does marketing and the trust of the fans play into any personnel decisions you make at the deadline?
“We appreciate our fans a great deal, but from a management standpoint, you can’t manage your team according to the fans. The last couple of years we’ve tried to build a team that would this franchise in the playoffs moving forward and we evaluate our strengths and areas we need to improve.
“When you get into the trading deadline, you look to improve for the stretch drive if you can. At the same time, we like our hockey club. We think our club has grown a great deal since last summer. We made a lot of moves in the offseason and we feel our team is improving as the season is moving along.”
more including Bouwmeester thoughts…
from George Richards of On Frozen Pond,
We haven’t seen rubber rats in large numbers on Florida ice in quite some time, although the rubber rodents are definitely making a comeback.
Sure, the NHL came up with a rule to block the practice of throwing objects onto the ice during a game soon after the Panthers’ 1996 run to the Finals were over. That doesn’t mean people haven’t been doing it in smaller numbers since.
from Bomber’s Blog (Bill Lindsay) at FloridaPanthers.com,
We are getting down to crunch time in the NHL season, and the race is on to make the playoffs. The good news if you’re a Panther fan is that the Cats are one of the few teams headed north in the eastern standings. An amazing run since the start of the New Year has the Panthers poised to end their long playoff drought.
Florida is a team on the rise, which is more than can be said for some of the other teams in the East. I wrote in an earlier blog, that I would much rather have a player that performs well in the second half of the season than the first half. That adage would hold true for teams as well. This is money time, when you really start to find out about your hockey club.
Three teams that had good first halfs, and are now headed south are the Rangers, Canadians and Penguins.
from Ethan J. Skolnick of the Sun-Sentinel,
This statement is so startling that it can’t wait for a second paragraph: the Panthers’ plan appears to be working.
Collect yourself. Call a witness.
“It’s important to have a plan,” Panthers general manager Jacques Martin said.
It sounds simple. You would assume that every self-respecting sports franchise would conceive one, develop one, follow one. A plan making sense. A plan seen through, tweaked when necessary but abandoned only in emergency. For too many years, however, even the Panthers’ best-laid plans were prematurely laid to rest, buried alive when the team got buried again in the standings. Play the kids. Bring in vets. Play the kids. No, go with vets. The Panthers switched strategies like teens change crushes.
from Lyle Richardson of Spector’s Hockey,
Does it strike anyone other than me as more than a coincidence that the Montreal Canadiens went cold right around the time the Vincent Lecavalier trade rumors broke last month?
From early December to a week prior to the 2009 NHL All-Star game the Canadiens had rallied from a minor November slump and were a sizzling 11-2-1, despite losing such notables as Carey Price and Saku Koivu to injury.
Then the trade rumors linking the Habs to Lecavalier broke, and they’re 2-8 in their last ten leading up to February 11th.
I’m a big fan of Habs GM Bob Gainey and overall approve of how he’s built and maintained the current roster, but his cryptic responses to the Lecavalier trade speculation seemed to only stoke the rumors.
It’s unknown if Gainey spoke to any of the players who were rumored headed to Tampa Bay for Lecavalier to calm their nerves.
continued plus some Bouwmeester talk…
from George Richards of On Frozen Pond,
Give the Panthers’ marketing brass credit for one thing: They’re creative. Oh, and they have plenty of brass. So make that two things.
The latest out of One Panther Parkway comes a playoff guarantee.
Basically, the team is saying if you buy a four-game pack of tickets to this year’s playoff run and the team doesn’t make the postseason, you score four freebies next year.
Which you can probably parlay into tickets for 2010-11 if they don’t make the playoffs again next season. It could be the gift that keeps on giving!
From WCBS News Radio:
Ever had to eat tickets to a sporting event which took place while you were on vacation? Get this. New Jersey Nets season ticket holders can get in on the “Snowbird Exchange Program.”
[NJ Nets Press Release]: As cold weather takes hold of the Metropolitan area, the Nets and the Florida Panthers have launched the first-ever Snowbird Ticket Exchange Plan in which south Florida-bound Nets season ticket holders can exchange their unused game tickets for Florida Panthers hockey game tickets at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla.
More on this from the Associated Press.
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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