Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Palm Beach Post,
Majority owner Alan Cohen denies it, but a well-placed NHL source said Tuesday that general manager and coach Jacques Martin and captain Olli Jokinen must get the Panthers to the playoffs this season or one or both are likely to be gone.
“Jokinen has got to pick up his productivity and leadership and get this team to the playoffs,” said the source, who deals with the Panthers on a regular basis. “And with an excellent draft next year, Jacques needs a playoff berth after giving Nashville his first- and second-round picks in the (Tomas) Vokoun trade.” Cohen was quick to issue denials when Jokinen trade rumors surfaced last weekend, insisting he would never trade the ninth-year center, and Tuesday he was just as quick to underscore his faith in Martin.
From Jim Kelley at Sports Illustrated,
Is it possible that Brett Hull might save Toronto Maple Leafs general manager John Ferguson, Jr.‘s job?
Seems illogical, but then logic rarely is a dominant theme at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, a behemoth in terms of producing revenue, but a consistent failure in terms of on-ice success in the NHL.
The buzz for weeks has been that MLSE’s board of directors has been contemplating Ferguson’s dismissal, but the recent appointment of Hull as interim co-director of the Dallas Stars may have made an impact in Toronto.
The argument in favor of keeping the beleaguered Ferguson has long centered on a simple question: “Who can we get to replace him?” That question gave the board some pause this past offseason when several high profile (and under contract) GMs quietly let it be known they weren’t interested in the board’s plan to bring in an experienced hockey man to “mentor” Ferguson.
continued… including a look at shakeups in Dallas, St. Louis and Florida
from George Richards at On Frozen Pond,
...That said, there is word few people on this team is real happy with how things are going and there has been word of a possible revolt. I’m not kidding about this.
My take: If JM is shopping Olli, not good. He’s the captain and face of this franchise—for better or worse. If this is true, JM needs to come out and say so. I haven’t had a chance to talk to him about it really, but I will in the near future. Probably tonight. Word of Olli being shopped has leaked to the players and it is not, NOT, sitting well in the room.
I don’t think it’s happening….
added 10:28pm, more from George Richards,
Spoke to JM, Olli and Alan Cohen. They say absolutely no truth to the rumors that Olli has been shopped.
from the Palm Beach-Post,
It’s not like these guys are a bunch of losers. Jokinen and linemate Ville Peltonen won silver medals with Finland at the 2006 Olympics. Mike Van Ryn won a national championship at the University of Michigan. Ruslan Salei, Radek Dvorak and Steve Montador have all come within one win of a Stanley Cup. Nathan Horton won gold with Canada in the World Under-18 championships.
But collectively, there’s some mental bridge that has been impossible to cross. Not that there’s any shortage of thoughts on the subject.
“We just have to have the mental preparation and focus, even if it needs to be 30 seconds at a time,” Peltonen said. “Create that as a habit, do it as well as you can every time out there, and the result will come.”
from the Sun-Sentinel,
Standing in the visitors’ dressing room inside RBC Center, goalie Tomas Vokoun pointed out all of this after Florida’s 4-2 loss at Carolina, and then said he couldn’t understand why the Panthers didn’t work hard.
“We’re not consistently doing that enough to be successful on an every-night basis,” Vokoun said. “We are whatever we feel like that day, and that’s just not winning hockey. If you want to be in the playoffs, you have to be a whole lot better than that.
“No team is going to give you an easy game and say, ‘We’ll just let you win tonight.’ Especially with our team, we need everybody pulling their weight. That’s the bottom line for us to win. If that’s not happening, we can’t blame anyone but ourselves. We’re on the ice.”
from George Richards at On Frozen Pond,
At first, I didn’t think much of seeing Joe talk to the team during the second intermission. Especially when Zednik was called for an early penalty giving the Canes a chance to break the game open. But then things started to go Florida’s way, and lo and behold, the Cats took advantage. Haven’t seen much of that.
A lot of the guys were praising Joe’s speech, the captain of the team saying it really inspired them.
Now, why would Joe’s voice hold more credence than that of coach/GM Jacques Martin? Or Olli himself?
from the Tennessean,
Under normal circumstances the Panthers likely would rest their starter tonight. But with the buzz sure to accompany Vokoun’s return, this isn’t a normal situation. Trotz said he would enjoy a matchup between Vokoun and his former backup, Chris Mason.
“I would love that,” Mason said. “I have a lot of respect for Tomas, and it would be a thrill to compete against him.”
Vokoun was not so sure.
“I have mixed feelings about that,” he said. “Sometimes people come back and say, ‘I have something to prove.’ I don’t feel that way. When I got traded I knew the exact reason why I was traded. Everyone was so nice to me from the bottom to the top. I play for Florida and want to win the game, but I wish nothing but the best for the Preds.”
From Sports Network via KETV,
The Florida Panthers signed defenseman Jassen Cullimore on a one year deal Friday and assigned him to their AHL affiliate in Rochester on a two week conditioning stint.
The 34-year-old Cullimore has played in 643 career games with Vancouver (1994-97), Montreal (1997-98), Tampa Bay (1998-2004) and Chicago (2005-06), registering 21 goals and 59 assists.
Last season, the 6-foot-5, 245-pound defenseman played in 65 games with the Blackhawks scoring one goal with six assists.
From Patrick Dorsey at the Miami Herald,
Any remaining doubters of his town’s passion might check [Stefan] Meyer’s calls-received log. After receiving word at practice that he had been called up [to the Florida Panthers], Meyer got excited.
Then, when the town itself got word, Fox Valley got excited. ‘‘My phone just about blew up [Monday],’’ Meyer said. ``It was smoking from my pocket.’‘
Meyer expects similar thrills back home Wednesday, although the locals again might need to hike to Medicine Hat for a TV that carries the game. Meanwhile, more than 2,600 miles away, Meyer expects to feel the same when he first touches NHL regular-season ice.
‘‘A lot of things will flash before my eyes—just growing up as a kid and skating and stuff like that,’’ Meyer said. ``It seems so far away. But I’m here right now, and I can hardly talk I’m so excited.’‘
From George Richards at On Frozen Pond,
Word out of One Panther Parkway is that all is well with the young Mr. Booth, and his scheduled MRI is now not needed.
According to spokesman Justin Copertino, Booth flew home with the team last night and met with team trainer Curtis Bell today. All seems fine. David is hurting a bit, understandable, and is wearing a precautionary neck brace.
Booth will not practice Monday at the Ice (10:30 a.m., open to public) and isn’t expected back until later in the week. So it’s good news: no permanent damage, just some soreness. “Kind of like he was in a car wreck,’’ Copertino said. Yep, that’s about what it looked like last night.
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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