Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
Driving to the glitzy BankAtlantic Center here on the fringe of the Everglades, Peter DeBoer’s mug can be seen plastered on various billboards along the way.
The billboards are part of an ad campaign promoting the “Panthers Promise,” an innovative plan in which fans purchasing the four-game ticket pack will get priority purchasing rights for the post-season.
Of course, there is no guarantee that the Panthers will make the playoffs. If they, in fact, do not, fans who have invested in the Panthers Promise Plan will get free tickets to four games in 2009-10.
Asked if seeing himself on all these larger-than-life signs makes him the so-called “face” of the franchise, DeBoer chuckled.
“For (the fans’ sake), I hope not,” he laughed.
from Jim Hughson of Blogs and Columns at CBC,
Here are four teams you might not want to face in the first round – that is, if they get in.
Okay, so it’s no revelation that a Stanley Cup finalist with two of the top three scorers in the league would be a tough match up for any team, but consider how bad the Penguins looked before the coaching change.///
Tomas Vokoun has one of the best save percentages in the league and is capable of winning games single handed. In front of him, the Panther defence is as good as any and better than most….
Columbus Blue Jackets
Hitchcock has a playoff-ready style, which means the Jackets don’t give their opponents many chances to score….
more on each team plus the Stars are mentioned too…
From Wes Goldstein at CBSSports:
Their gamble was keeping Jay Bouwmeester, their much-coveted young defenseman who could walk away for nothing this summer as a free agent and was arguably the most valuable potential asset at the deadline. Bouwmeester has rejected several contract extension offers from the Panthers over the last few years, leading to the widely held assumption around the league that he is just counting the days until he gets out of Florida.
He won’t deny that, but the Panthers still resisted the temptation to deal him because he is their best player in the midst of a strong season and they are real playoff contenders for the first time since the turn of the century. Getting there is critical to an organization struggling to attract fans, and keeping Bouwmeester, despite the risk of coming away empty-handed was supposed to send a vote of confidence to the players along with the message that the future is now.
But if the message was received, something apparently got lost in translation by a team that doesn’t seem to have any real leaders in the dressing room or even a captain.
Tomas Vokoun of the Panthers with a great glove save on Thomas Vanek of the Sabres. Buffalo did defeat Florida 3-1.
From Steve Gorten at the Sun-Sentinel:
Winger Richard Zednik skated on the ice at HSBC Arena this morning for the first time since he skated off it Feb. 10 of last year covering his neck with his glove in fear for his life. Zednik’s carotid artery was accidentally slashed by teammate Olli Jokinen’s skate in the third period of a game against the Sabres that night.
Zednik said one of the surgeons who performed surgery on him that night invited him over to her house for dinner last night. He went and they reminisced about the incident and that night.
Here are some of his thoughts after this morning’s skate on what it was like on the ice:
“I was trying not to think about it. I want to just focus on hockey.”
Zednik was the first Panther on the ice this morning and skated toward the boards near where the incident happened, but he said that was simply coincidental.
“I’m not going back. I’m looking forward. I’m not trying to go back. What happened, happened. I’ve already passed that. I don’t want to go back and think about what could have happened.”
from George Richards of On Frozen Pond,
Florida center Nathan Horton will be out an undisclosed amount of time after having surgery to repair the ring finger on his left hand, The Miami Herald’s David J. Neal is reporting.
Horton told Neal today at Incredible Ice that his hand was stepped on right before David Booth scored his third goal against the Blues on Saturday. Horton had surgery following the game and has his hand in a splint. He says the trainers have not given him a timetable for a return.
added 2:00pm, Miami Herald now reporting Horton will miss 2-4 weeks and McCabe dealing with orbital bone issue.
from Greg Cote of the Miami Herald,
A large sign in the Panthers’ dressing room is a one-word declarative in two-foot letters, white on red:
Eight consecutive years out of the playoffs and you lose that.
You have to play your way back in to begin to get some back.
That is where the Panthers are today. This is not a franchise fully reborn. Too many empty seats in the house Thursday to say that.
But blind hope has been replaced by a reason to believe.
It didn’t happen Thursday night, but these Cats are clawing, fighting to make this team matter again in the constant shadow of Dolphins and Marlins, Hurricanes and Heat.
It has been way, way too long.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
The Canucks were willing to give up LW Mason Raymond and a No. 1 draft pick. The belief is Florida wanted either D Kevin Bieksa or D Alex Edler included and GM Mike Gillis wasn’t willing to make the move. That’s where the discussions ended for Vancouver.
The Flyers wanted to move either RW Joffrey Lupul or RW Scottie Upshall (who landed in Phoenix) along with prospect James vanRiemsdyk and a No. 1 pick to the Panthers. It’s believed Florida wanted LW Scott Hartnell as part of the trade.
There is risk involved for the Panthers. A first-round playoff fall doesn’t constitute playoff success.
more and a few more hockey topics…
According to TSN, Tampa’s Steve Eminger traded to the Florida Panthers for Noah Welch and a 3rd round pick.
Update 3:43pm ET: TSN has a link available now.
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
The Philadelphia Flyers are stepping up their efforts to acquire defenceman Jay Bouwmeester from the Florida Panthers, but salary cap constraints are rearing their ugly head.
The Flyers are bumping up against the cap and they are working hard to try to free up some space.
Sources say one of the options is trading goaltender Marty Biron and turning the number one job over to Antero Niittymaki. One potential scenario has the Flyers trading Biron to the Phoenix Coyotes as part of a plan that would see the Coyotes flip Biron to another team.
But the Coyotes aren’t going to make that move unless they have the other deal already set up.
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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