Kukla's Korner Hockey
from E.J. Hradek of ESPN,
After near identical back-to-back seasons (they finished with 85 and 86 points, respectively), the Panthers seem ready to make a little more of a jump forward. They finished six points out of a playoff spot last season. If they can avoid another bad start to the season, maybe they can finally end their postseason drought.
I figure they’ll have more points and challenge for a playoff spot. I hope they get there. It would be nice to see one of the game’s most underrated players—Panthers captain Olli Jokinen—get a chance to show his stuff in the postseason.
Florida Panthers defenceman Jay Bouwmeester pleaded guilty to drunk driving charges in an Edmonton Provincial Court on Tuesday.
He was given a one-year driving probation and a $1,000 fine.
Bouwmeester was arrested on Aug. 12, 2006 near a Whyte Avenue bar in Edmonton’s nightclub area, and was charged with impaired driving and operating a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol level of more than .08.
from the Tennessean,
Only a couple weeks ago, Gelinas and about 10 other NHL players accompanied Florida Panthers strength and conditioning coach Andy O’Brien to Vail, Colo., where they underwent a regimen of three-hour workouts per day — half the time on the ice.
“We did a bunch of different things — you’re just trying to challenge yourself in the summer time and find ways to push yourself,’’ Gelinas said. “Vail is high altitude, so one day we went for a two-hour hike that was a little bit of a challenge. We finished up about 10,000 feet above sea level.’‘
Gelinas believes those kinds of offseason workouts will allow him to battle younger foes once again.
“You know the young guys are only getting bigger and faster and stronger, so you need to do more to keep up,’’ he said. “I do love to work out and stay fit. I love to compete. And to be able to compete against younger players, you have to put in more effort off the ice.’‘
from Ryan Kennedy at the Hockey News,
Markov, a solid contributor to Detroit’s conference finalist team last season, balked at the Wings’ $2.5 million contract offer, revealing he was thinking of something more in the range of $3.5 million. Is he asking too much?
Have you seen this guy play? He’s a pitbull. He doesn’t back down, he was a plus-25 last season and he doesn’t take a lot of penalties considering his physical game. I’m cool with the Wings passing, but the fact no one has picked him up is rather stunning.
And you know where Markov should go? Florida.
from On Frozen Pond,
The Panthers locked up another of their young stars Thursday, signing center Stephen Weiss to a six-year deal.
Terms were not immediately available, although winger Nathan Horton recently received $24 million over his six-year contract. Horton’s six-year contract was the longest awarded in franchise history.
from Tripp Mickle at Sports Business Journal (paid sub.),
Some teams struggle to get their players to meet sponsors at all, but this week Florida Panthers captain and center Olli Jokinen not only will meet with team sponsors, he’ll invite them into his home.
Jokinen and his wife, Katerina, will host close to 60 executives from the Panthers’ top corporate partners on Saturday at their Heron Bay home in Parkland, Fla. Ten to 12 other Panthers players are expected to attend, as well.
“We want to pull these partners in and have them feel like part of our family,” said Panthers Chief Operating Officer Michael Yormark. “What better way to do that than to invite them into our captain’s home?”
More than 95 percent of those getting invitations committed to attend, the club says.
On a side note… A make-up a rumor guy has mentioned Jokinen’s name in trade talk, which just doesn’t make sense now, does it?
from the Sun-Sentinel,
The 1995-96 Panthers team was back on the ice Saturday, and so were the rats that symbolized that group and their magical run to the Stanley Cup Finals.
The announced crowd of 11,817 fans, many of whom waited beforehand in long lines that snaked through the arena’s concourse for autographs and pictures with the players, tossed the rodents with glee onto the ice — the first time they’ve been able to at a game since the league banned it after the 1995-96 season.
“I was amazed at the amount of people in the building and the excitement,” retired winger Dave Lowry said. “It was overwhelming.
At the event, the Panthers also displayed their new uniforms (video).
from Inside The Panthers,
News that Nathan Horton’s contract was used as a comparable by the Buffalo Sabres in working up a contract proposal for center Derek Roy borders on the amazing. Ultimately, Roy was given the same six-year, $24 million package Horton got.
Let’s see who turns out to have the better career. The betting here is it’s Horton.
via Russo’s Rants,
I know this doesn’t affect those in Minnesota, but Florida Panthers owner Alan Cohen asked me to put this on my blog regarding the Hockeybuzz.com report that he’s meeting today with a group looking to purchase the Panthers.
“I am in the front row at Saratoga today watching the races and I am not selling the Panthers now or ever.”
Geez Dwayne, what kind of spin will you put on this one?
from Spector at Fox Sports,
What re-ignited them was a report by TSN on July 1 suggesting the Calgary Flames might consider offering up Alex Tanguay to the Panthers for Jokinen.
Panthers GM Jacques Martin (who replaced Mike Keenan last year) and Flames GM Darryl Sutter both denied the report. Still, it was enough to spark internet chatter claiming Jokinen was available, based on the Panthers supposed desire to dump his salary in hopes of landing good young players for their “rebuilding project”.
But the Panthers are no longer rebuilding. This is a team that has made continual improvement since the 2001-02 season, and came oh-so-close to making the 2007 Stanley Cup playoffs. Indeed, had former GM Keenan not traded away Luongo to Vancouver in one of the worst deals in NHL history (a move that likely led to Keenan’s firing), the Panthers probably would’ve made the postseason.
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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