Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: florida panthers
The New York Islanders defeated the Florida Panthers 2-1 in double overtime, advancing to the second round, where they will play the Tampa Bay Lightning. John Tavares scored the game-winning goal:
From the New York Post's Larry Brooks:
The odes have poured forth to Jaromir Jagr all season. And though each and every sonnet directed at the fabled No. 68 is richly deserved, so in fact is a larger prize.
For Jagr is not only worthy of admiration, he is in fact worthy of the Hart Trophy as the league’s MVP, 17 years after he won it for the first and only time.
Value is in the eye of the beholder and voter. Remember: The Hart does not necessarily go to the league’s best player, but rather “the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team.”
Judgement, of course, is rendered on a subjective basis, but go ahead, you tell me: What player in the NHL has been more valuable to his team than Jagr, who is having a Second Career Year and around whom the historically ineffectual Puddy Tats have coalesced to become one of the NHL’s emerging nations?
Brooks continues, also discussing Steven Stamkos, the "average" points registered by an NHL team and Braden Holtby's winning record...
From the NHL:
TARASENKO, TROCHECK AND KINKAID
NAMED NHL ‘THREE STARS’ OF THE WEEK
NEW YORK (March 14, 2016) – St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko, Florida Panthers center Vincent Trocheck and New Jersey Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending March 13.
FIRST STAR – VLADIMIR TARASENKO, RW, ST. LOUIS BLUES
Tarasenko tied for the League lead with 3-3—6 in three games to power the Blues (41-20-9, 91 points) to a trio of wins and a share of first place – in terms of points – in the Central Division and Western Conference. He collected one assist in a 3-2 shootout victory against the Chicago Blackhawks March 9. Tarasenko then registered 2-1—3, his third multi-goal and fourth three-point performances of the season, in a 5-2 triumph over the Anaheim Ducks March 11. He capped the week with 1-1—2 in a 5-4 overtime win against the Dallas Stars March 12. The 24-year-old Yaroslavl, Russia, native shares fifth place in the NHL with 33 goals this season (33-28—61 in 68 GP), his second straight 30-goal campaign.
SECOND STAR – VINCENT TROCHECK, C, FLORIDA PANTHERS
Florida Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr tied Gordie Howe for third place in all-time NHL points with a first-period assist against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on Thursday.
Jagr has 1,850 points, equal to Howe and trailing Mark Messier (1,887) and Wayne Gretzky (2,857).
Among the New York Post's Larry Brooks' notes:
*So who in the world made the decision for the NHL Network to cut away from its cut-in to the Panthers-Canucks game on Monday just as the postgame hijinks at the Florida were getting interesting?
By the way, Jaromir Jagr nailed it when the Panthers were 8-8-3 on Nov. 20 and he said: “I thought we would have a better record, for sure.” Since then, the Puddy Tats (No offense, Denis, I’m having a peanut butter sandwich) have gone 18-5-3.
* Parity or parody? Through Thursday, 15 of the NHL’s 30 teams had won between 20 and 23 games, making each an honorary member of the NFC East.
*If the Canadian dollar continues its descent toward 60 cents on the U.S. buck, and thus increases the likelihood of escrow climbing over 20 percent next season, is anyone going to be surprised if the NHLPA does not exercise its 5 percent salary-cap bump, and could anyone really hold it against membership?
If teams are not planning on a decline in the 2016-17 cap — or at best, a flat $71.4 million — they would be making a significant mistake.
Brooks continues, discussing the Islanders' potential to become a playoff contender with the right moves, the John Scott deal, and, well, more Islanders stuff.
Sam Bennett scored 4 goals in the Calgary Flames' 6-0 win over the Florida Panthers:
Daniel Sedin scored the OT winner that ended the Florida Panthers' 12-game winning streak (though they are unbeaten in 13 games), and then his brother Henrik incited...a post-game brawl?
added 7:09am, Florida broadcast of this is below...
added 7:20am, Also below, Daniel Sedin postgame...
According to the New York Post's Larry Brooks, the recent "Paid Patriotism" report reflects poorly upon NHL teams:
Six NHL teams received funds from the U.S. Department of Defense amounting to a sum of $1,040,500 from fiscal years 2012-15 to promote patriotism by virtue of honoring veterans and the military, according to a report released on Wednesday by U.S. Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona.
Boston, Carolina, Florida, Minnesota, Detroit and Dallas participated in the program, with the Wild reaping $570,000 from their partnership with the Minnesota Army National Guard.
The report has sparked questions and even some outrage about whether this is a proper use of government money, but no one should infer or imply that these teams or the league have anything for which to apologize. The NHL didn’t have its hand out here.
There was nothing surreptitious about it within the league, either. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly told Slap Shots the so-called “patriot funds” were reported as hockey-related revenue (HRR) as per the collective bargaining agreement.
“Anything received by Clubs as part of partnership deals with military organizations would have been included in HRR reporting and therefore would have been shared with the Players,” Daly wrote in an email correspondence.
Brooks continues, discussing Alain Vigneault's candidacy for Team Canada's World Cup team, goal-scoring disparities and James Neal's "hit list."
From the Florida Panthers:
Florida Panthers Executive Vice President and General Manager Dale Tallon announced today that former National Hockey League defenseman Hal Gill will join the Hockey Operations staff as the club’s Manager of Player Development.
Gill will work closely with newly-appointed Director of Player Development Bryan McCabe in monitoring the progress and development of the organization’s prospects.
“We are very pleased to welcome Hal to our organization,” said Tallon. “We are honored to have someone with his level of hockey experience work with our prospects and assist them in developing their young careers.”
A veteran of 1,108 regular season NHL games, Hill, 40, recorded 184 points (36-148-184) and 962 PIM for the Boston Bruins (1997-2006), Toronto Maple Leafs (2006-08), Pittsburgh Penguins (2007-09), Montreal Canadiens (2009-12), Nashville Predators (2011-13) and Philadelphia Flyers (2013-14).
The 6-foot-7, 243-pound, Concord, Mass., native won the Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh in 2009.
Gill has represented the United States in five IIHF World Championships, winning a Bronze Medal in 2004.
Gill was selected by Boston in the eighth round (207th overall) of the 1993 NHL Entry Draft.
From NHL.com's "Around the League" notebook:
LUONGO, JAGR CLIMB RECORD BOOKS IN PANTHERS WIN
Roberto Luongo made 24 saves and Jaromir Jagr (2-1—3) factored on all three Florida Panthers goals to help them improve to 11-1-2 in their past 14 games against the Sabres dating to March 17, 2012 (BUF: 3-8-3).
* Luongo won his 403rd game, tying Grant Fuhr for ninth place on the NHL all-time wins list. Glenn Hall is eighth with 407 wins. Luongo's next game will be his 868th, tying him with Fuhr for ninth in games played among goalies. Luongo is the active leader in games played, wins and shutouts (68).
* Jagr, who has 4-2—6 in four games this season, had his 124th career NHL multi-goal game and second of the season; his other was Oct. 10 against the Philadelphia Flyers. Elias says Jagr had at least three points in a game for the 192nd time in his NHL career. Only three players have more three-point games: Wayne Gretzky (459), Mario Lemieux (272) and Marcel Dionne (202).
* Overall, Jagr (726-1,082—1,808 in 1,554 GP) is five goals shy of matching Dionne (731) for the fourth-most goals in NHL history.
* Jagr had two of his points while on the man-advantage (1-1—2). His 205th power-play goal propelled him past Gretzky (204 PPG) and into a tie with Joe Sakic for 13th in NHL history. With 587 power-play points, Jagr also moved within one point of tying Teemu Selanne (588) for third all-time in power-play points.
SI's Allan Muir looks at the Eastern Conference's "also-ran" (i.e. non-playoff) teams, determining whether their summertime moves have improved the respective 8 non-playoff finishers or whether the teams are just treading water, and he discusses a team not talked about very much in the Florida Panthers:
Florida Panthers (91 points, 10th)
You have to give them credit. The Panthers proved to be surprisingly competitive last season, far exceeding expectations for a roster that relied so heavily on youth and fading glory. They’ll go with a similar formula next fall, hoping that youngsters such as Aaron Ekblad and Jonathan Huberdeau continue to progress and veterans like Jaromir Jagr have more than fumes in the tank.
The team’s one major move of the summer saw it ship out one inconsistent forward in Jimmy Hayes for another in Reilly Smith. The former Bruin is the more established of the two with 33 goals and 91 points during the past two seasons, and he fills a need at right wing created by the buyout of Brad Boyes. As far as upgrades go, it’s not going to get Florida over the hump. Unless GM Dale Tallon has something else up his sleeve, it looks like the Panthers are hoping for significant internal growth. That should keep them in the hunt, but they’ll need to catch a few breaks to make the cut.
Among the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch's weekly trade rumors and scoops:
There will be plenty of eyes on Florida after the Panthers waged their future with two draft picks at the deadline to get veteran winger Jaromir Jagr from New Jersey to try to make a push for the playoffs. Florida is about to come up short again and don't be surprised if former Pittsburgh GM Ray Shero lands in the organization in some capacity. He has a close relationship with Panthers' executive chairman.
You have to give the Coyotes credit because going into Saturday's action they had a legitimate shot of getting the best odds (20%) of winning the draft lottery. Because Coyotes GM Don Maloney did a teardown at the deadline by dealing the likes of forward Antoine Vermette (Chicago) along with defencemen Keith Yandle (Rangers) and Zbynek Michalek (St. Louis) and goalie Devan Dubnyk (Minnesota), Arizona is in a position to get a strong pick. On March 2, the Coyotes were four points ahead of the Sabres with 47. You have to wonder how much Arizona wants to improve next year because 2016 top prospect Austin Matthews, who is with the U.S. national team development program, is from the Coyotes' backyard and would be a huge get. Captain Shane Doan has always maintained he doesn't want to go anywhere but this could be a test of resolve.
Garrioch continues, discussing the possibility of Las Vegas being awarded an NHL team this year, the World Cup's "Young Guns" team, the Olympics and Todd McLellan...
Amongst the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch's trade-and-rumor talk for this Sunday, from a column which begins by discussing the Connor McDavid sweepstakes:
Rangers winger Martin St. Louis may be a UFA on July 1 and doesn't have a contract but don't be surprised if at some point he re-signs with the club. The Rangers have cap so you'd think if they do sign St. Louis the deal will be structured with attainable goals for games-played. When he left the Tampa Bay Lightning last year at the trade deadline, St. Louis only only wanted to go to the Rangers. It would be hard to believe he'd want to move on this juncture.
Florida GM Dale Tallon took a gamble at the deadline acquiring winger Jaromir Jagr from the Devils in exchange for two draft picks. The Panthers remain on the outside looking in for the final wild-card spot and need a strong push down the stretch plus some help to make it to the post-season. Jagr went into Saturday's game vs. the Bruins with a 2-5-7 points in nine games with Florida ... According to a league executive, here are some deadline acquisitions that have worked out well: Winger Drew Stafford and defenceman Tyler Myers (Buffalo) have both played well in Winnipeg; Forward Curtis Glencross (Calgary) has made an impact for the Capitals and Chris Stewart (Buffalo) has picked up some points for the Wild ... Keep an eye on Colgate forward Tyler Baun. He's getting plenty of attention from NHL scouts. Chicago GM Stan Bowman along with representatives from Colorado, Toronto, Philly and the Rangers were in Lake Placid Friday at the ECAC championships to watch Baun play ... Lots of people wonder if Arizona (don't call me Phoenix) Coyotes coach Dave Tippett will be back behind the bench next season? He's a lot better coach when goalie Mike Smith stops the puck.
Garrioch continues, discussing the All-Star Game format, the Sharks' issues and unrestricted free agent-to-be goalies...
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Tags: chris+stewart, curtis+glencross, dave+tippett, drew+stafford, florida+panthers, jaromir+jagr, martin+st.+louis, mike+smith, new+york+rangers, phoenix+coyotes, tyler+myers
Elliotte Friedman and George Strombolopolous engaged in the usually Cox-and-Friedman-headlined Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada, and Friedman discussed:
Andrew "the Hamburglar" Hammond's future with the Senators, which won't involve contract talks just yet;
Topics regarding the GM's meetings on March 16th may include the Florida Panthers' starter-and-back-up-goalie-get-injured situation, expanding video review via giving officials a monitor in the penalty box to review goals that cannot be reviewed in Toronto;
And Friedman says that it's entirely possible that IOC president Thomas Bach and Bettman/Fehr will discuss NHL and NHLPA participation in the Olympics when the World Championships are held in Prague this May:
Among the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's Michael Russo's Sunday notes:
Looking ahead perhaps: One reason why the Tyler Myers pickup by Winnipeg could really be bright? Dustin Byfuglien, the thorn-in-the-Wild-side hybrid defenseman, is potentially a year from becoming an unrestricted free agent.
If Myers develops, he could replace Big Buff if he departs. If that happens, he’s exactly the type of player the Wild needs. Rumor has it he’s from Minnesota, too.
Kessel moving? The Toronto Maple Leafs have lost 21 of 25 games with Phil Kessel scoring four times in those games. He has since been demoted to the fourth line.
“I go where they want me. I love Toronto, but [if] it’s not here, it’s not here,” Kessel said.
Don’t be surprised if the Florida Panthers try to trade for the high-priced Kessel. He has a place in Palm Beach, the Panthers might have the assets to give up, and Kessel, not exactly fond of the spotlight, would be able to get out from under the microscope.
The Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson's main Hockey World column is a good read, discussing the post-firing life of coaches who rebounded in their own ways in Tom Renney and Rick Bowness, but his "Short Shifts" are probably more pertinent:
- St. Louis Blues phenom Vladimir Tarasenko, who just turned 23, has 20 goals on the year, but he might have scored 30 if he had shot more. He’s got 113 shots but that only puts him seventh behind Ovechkin, Karlsson, Seguin, Giroux, Pavelski and Pacioretty. “He could be more selfish,” said an NHL pro scout, marvelling at the Russian youngster’s release. Tarasenko, who may get to the $5-million to $6-million per season range in a new contract this summer, has 16 even-strength goals, second only to Tyler Seguin’s 17. “Twenty goals before Christmas? That’s special,” said teammate Steve Ott.
- If Vincent Lecavalier is playing right wing with Zac Rinaldo and French rookie Pierre-Edouard Bellemare in Philly, this is the end of the line for him, no?
- It should be noted that Roberto Luongo has a much better (2.35) goals-against average and way higher (.925) save percentage than Ryan Miller (.267) and .900 in Vancouver right now, but Miller has 16 wins. His team gives him way more run support than Luongo’s (11 wins) in Florida. Miller’s numbers are five-alarm stuff, but he is in the first year of a three-year, $18-million deal and he’s 34, not, say, 28.
This is probably true of more general managers (and coaches) than not, too:
-New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello is almost always around his team, home and away, but he knows exactly what’s going on with his farm team and their prospects. “He gets tapes of the games and the practices,” said former Devils defenceman Mark Fayne.
Matheson continues, and while we're doing short quips and quotes, Yahoo Sports' Nicholas J. Cotsonika penned a superb "Three Periods" column discussing the Blue Jackets' resurgence and Patrik Elias' pluck, but the "Third Period" sticks:
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Tags: bill+daly, bob+hartley, buffalo+sabres, calgary+flames, dallas+eakins, edmonton+oilers, florida+panthers, las+vegas, lou+lamoriello, new+jersey+devils, philadelphia+flyers, roberto+luongo, ryan+miller, st.+louis+blues, toronto+maple+leafs, vincent+lecavalier, vladimir+tarasenko
The Florida Panthers defeated the Washington Capitals 2-1 on Tuesday night, and they did so by taking a 20-round shootout, with Nick Bjugstad scoring the game-winning, 6-shooters-to-5-shooters-scoring goal:
Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman summarized his "mini Hotstove" set of news items shared with Hockey Night in Canada viewers--because Sportsnet geo-blocks videos to Canadian IP's only--on Twitter:
1) SAT night newz...@DamoSpin reports Josh Harding returning in AHL this weekend, will be interesting to see if ends up in MIN or elsewhere
2) Several reports from FLA this week about potential UFAs being available, but hearing there is interest in [Brad] Boyes. Wonder if a fit in PIT.
3) VAN guarded on [Dan] Hamhuis injury (groin?), but hearing he will be re-evaluated in two weeks and he may hold off on surgery.
4) Other teams saying that EDM/PHI being careful, not make a move that hurts them long-term.
Sportsnet's Luke Fox expanded upon Friedman's report that the Florida Panthers might want to send their unrestricted free agents elsewhere:
Damien Cox and Elliotte Friedman had about 70 seconds' worth of time to issue their version of the Satellite Hotstove on Saturday's Hockey Night in Canada broadcast, but they sped-talked their way through the following topics:
1. Cox says questions were surrounding Kaberle-Rangers participation in Kaberle's skate in Toronto today as the New Jersey Devils have had Scott Gomez around for over a month, but he can't travel with them on the road as he's not under contract/can't be paid;
Kaberle is allowed to travel with the team, per an NHL memo, for about 10 days before the team has to sign him or let him go, so the Rangers have to make their decision in another 7 days.
2. Friedman reports that while Taylor Hall remains on the IR with a sprained knee, Hall can at least skate early next week, though his timeline has not changed;
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Tags: alex+ovechkin, chicago+blackhawks, colorado+avalanche, dmitry+kulikov, edmonton+oilers, florida+panthers, luke+schenn, nathan+mackinnon, new+york+rangers, niklas+hjalmarsson, philadelphia+flyers, taylor+hall, tomas+kaberle, washington+capitals
This time the Hockey Night in Canada segment in which Elliotte Friedman and Damien Cox dish news and notes has been geo-blocked to Canada only (Paul sent me an email informing me of the "stuff we already know" in that Red Wings prospect Anthony Mantha is skating with the Grand Rapids Griffins, hopefully making his pro debut in about two weeks, but Daniel Alfredsson is not and may retire), but Friedman did offer some Twitter quips from his exchange, beginning with Ryan McDonagh's separated shoulder yielding interest in Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Andrej Sekera (who is "on the block"):
Ekblad scored his first goal, a game-winning marker in Florida's 2-1 win over Philadelphia on Saturday evening...
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Tags: aaron+ekblad, andrej+sekera, boston+bruins, carolina+hurricanes, claude+julien, daniel+alfredsson, detroit+red+wings, florida+panthers, new+york+rangers, ryan+mcdonagh
As the Hockey News's Adam Proteau pointed out, the Florida Panthers' relatively new owners are well aware of the fact that they're skating uphill in terms of increasing their team's attendance...
But when you see pictures like this from the Panthers's home-opening 1-0 loss to Ottawa, whose announced attendance was 7,311, you think, "Woah"--before remembering that this is kind of normal when the Panthers aren't playing a team that draws the snowbirds in:
Roberto Luongo shrugged it off while speaking to the Miami Herald's George Richards...
The announced crowd of 7,311 was lowest in franchise history, beating the 10,063 from a Halloween game against Carolina in 2007. Capacity at the building, which opened in 1998, is 19,250.
“I don’t pay attention to that stuff when I’m playing, I just focus on my job,’’ goalie Roberto Luongo, who made 22 saves, said afterward. “If we want to get some people in the stands, we need to start winning some games.’’
But the Sun-Sentinel's Harvey Filakov reported that Panthers fans are embarrased about their team's attendance woes, too:
Oilers TV's Tom Gazzola caught the Florida Panthers' #1 overall pick meeting the press after exiting stage right:
Gary Bettman isn't kidding when he shakes the hand of every kid who shows up to the draft and takes the stage in the first round and says, "Welcome to the NHL."
In the 2nd through 7th rounds, picks are made at teams' draft tables, but the Globe and Mail's James Mirtle noted that Calgary Flames prospects will see something that might stick out a weeeeee little bit, as posted by the Score's Thomas Drance:
Welcome to the Flames, where truculence is mandatory and flow is optional.
TSN's posting double doses of Insider Trading videos due to the massive amount of pre-draft trade talk, and I should've known better than to simply post the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch's update on Jason Spezza's situation without looking for a rumor-related column on other Sun newspaper sites (the Ottawa Sun doesn't always post articles on his columnist page in a timely manner).
The Toronto Sun posted Garrioch's wining-and-dining update, and I need to say this out loud: while this summer's class of unrestricted free agents-to-be is particularly thin, I have the sinking feeling that we're going to see more classes like these--where second-line players and second-pair defensemen are the ones who hit the market and make top-player money, serving as the main source of player-value inflation (as yahoo Sports' Nicholas J. Cotsonika suggested).
The wining-and-dining period is great in terms of allowing teams to explain their expectations for players, and vice versa, but the number of offers these players are receiving over the course of consecutive days are driving up their asking prices considerably (of course, there are no numbers being exchanged ), and I really get the feeling that we're going to see Paul Stastny and Matt Niskanen become $7 million players come July 1st.
Anyway, here are Garrioch's updates regarding Stastny...
The free agent "wining and dining period" has been a bit of a pain in the rear to keep up with, but it's at least intriguing to witness player agents just cut out the middleman and tell actual reputable sources, "Oh yeah, we met with team X, team Y and team Z" instead of having to read someone's column about "league sources" (who are almost always agents or hopeful GM's).
But the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch has arrived in Philadelphia, and it wouldn't be the draft or five days till free agency if Garrioch didn't provide us with both an update on Jason Spezza's status...
It's believed as many as five teams -- including St. Louis, Anaheim, Phoenix, Nashville and Florida -- have made calls on the Ottawa captain. The club is mulling over what route to take.
With Spezza requesting a trade, the Senators would like to have a deal in place by Friday, but the club would like to get a No. 1 pick to replace the one Ottawa gave up in the deal for Bobby Ryan with Anaheim last summer.
Murray along with assistant GM's Pierre Dorion and Randy Lee were expected to sit down Wednesday to discuss the different scenarios because this is a deal that has a chance to be a game-changer.
Updated with LeBrun stuff at 6:57 PM:
TSN's Darren Dreger and Bob McKenzie discussed pre-draft trade and free agent discussions in an edition of Insider Trading that lasts for nearly four minutes. TSN usually posts a summation thereof, but if you don't want to wait until 7:30 or 8...
1. McKenzie says that there are 3 teams in the Western Conference (Anaheim, St. Louis +?) and 1 "mystery team" in the Eastern Conference who are talking to the Ottawa Senators about Jason Spezza (who has a no-trade list of 10 teams, incl. Florida, Carolina, Columbus and the Islanders). McKenzie says the Senators want a 1st-round draft pick as part of the compensation package.
2. Dreger says that David Bolland wants "maximum value," and he wants an 8-year deal at $4.9 million to remain with the Leafs. Toronto probably won't give him the term he wants, but Bolland believes he'll be healthy by training camp;
3. Dreger says that the Oilers are looking for a center and a defenseman, and they're willing to trade the 3rd overall pick and/or Sam Gagner in their efforts to improve the team, which may include trading for the Panthers' 1st overall pick;
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Tags: anaheim+ducks, chicago+blackhawks, dale+tallon, dan+boyle, edmonton+oilers, florida+panthers, jason+spezza, joe+thornton, paul+stastny, ryan+kesler, sam+gagner, san+jose+sharks, st.+louis+blues, toronto+maple+leafs, vancouver+canucks
ESPN's Scott Burnside penned a fascinating article about the NHL draft as witnessed through the eyes of general managers and assistant general managers, including Toronto Maple Leafs assistant GM Claude Loiselle, Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen, Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon, Pittsburgh Penguins assistant GM Tom Fitzgerald and Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill.
Nill suggests that, at some point, the management staff has to relinquish control to the amateur scouting staff and hope for the best:
Nill was at the Detroit draft tables when the Wings repeatedly came up with the proverbial diamonds in the rough: Datsyuk with the 171st pick in 1998; Zetterberg at 210 in 1999; Tomas Holmstrom at 257 in 1994. The Red Wings rarely drafted anywhere near the top of the first round thanks to their winning ways during that time, but the mandate was still the same, Nill said: Find good players who could help the team, no matter where the Wings were drafting.
"Those were special players. But at the time we didn't know that. You don't know it until three or four years down the road," Nill said.
This year's draft will be Nill's second as the GM of the Dallas Stars. It has been a period of evolution for someone who used to be one of the guys who put eyes on hundreds of youngsters at hundreds of games every season. Living in Detroit, he could see junior, college, AHL and NHL games all within a few hours' drive. Not so in Dallas, and his job description precludes those kinds of trips anyway.
Just as longtime Detroit GM Ken Holland had to trust Nill and his scouting staff to identify the right players for the Red Wings, Nill now has to step back and convey that trust to the Stars' staff.
"I had to hand over the reins," Nill said. "If you're going to be a manager, you're going to have to let it go."
Updated 2x at 9:19 PM: Paul did a helluva job of covering the "gist" of the GM's meetings, but here are some items that I noticed on Twitter and feel merit mentioning, starting with Craig Custance's chat with Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman...
In Penguins and Maple Leafs news, from Sportsnet's Chris Johnston...
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Tags: brooks+orpik, bryan+murray, buffalo+sabres, chicago+blackhawks, dale+tallon, dan+bylsma, dave+nonis, david+poile, florida+panthers, gerard+gallant, james+neal, jason+spezza, jim+rutherford, jonathan+toews, marc+crawford, matt+niskanen, nashville+predators, ottawa+senators, patrick+kane, pittsburgh+penguins, ron+wilson, shea+weber, stan+bowman, tim+murray, tom+renney, toronto+maple+leafs
The Florida Sun-Sentinel's Harvey Filakov reports two important items regarding the Florida Panthers' coaching and draft plans.
First, Filakov reports that the Panthers will interview former Penguins coach Dan Bylsma before circling back to a set of coaches who will speak with the Panthers' new ownership regarding their coaching philosophies...
The Panthers coaching search will pick up steam this week as six front-runners for the vacancy, including fired Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma, will meet with the team's brain-trust in New York City, according to a team source.
Other than Bylsma, the other five leading candidates have all met or spoke to General Manager Dale Tallon, but now will also sit down with the team's co-owners, Vinnie Viola and Doug Cifu, as well as CEO/President Rory Babich.
Those repeaters are believed to be Ron Wilson, Canadiens' assistant Gerard Gallant, former Stanley Cup — winning coach Marc Crawford, and Red Wings' assistants Tom Renney and Bill Peters.
While Filakov continues at significant length regarding the coaching search and the Panthers' hopes that they can land one of Brooks Orpik or Matt Niskanen if Bylsma joins the Panthers, this tidbit about the Panthers' draft plans is a wee bit more newsworthy:
Those of us who've worked several jobs know that the term "Under New Management!" can mean very, very bad news for one's job security, especially in sales or service professions, because "new management" tends to want to bring in its "own people." Oftentimes the "new boss" also likes to make a sacrificial firing or three to prove that they "mean business," too, but the story that came out of South Florida today had me shaking my head.
The boss just Tweeted this one out, but I've got a serious case of "What the *#$%@&?!??!-itis," so I'd like to post it. The Miami Herald's George Richards reports that the Panthers' new ownership made some massive cuts today...
The Panthers laid off approximately 30 employees today with most of the damage coming within the team's sales department.
I was told at least one Vice President was fired as well as a long-time employee within the team's public relations staff. Other positions from throughout the organization were closed. I've been told many won't be replaced, at least not anytime soon.
According to someone who spoke with me this afternoon, the team called a meeting in a conference room at the arena and told those employees there they were being let go.
The message: The team is losing money and needs to save some.
And the Sun-Sentinel's Harvey Filkaov notes that the firings were particularly ironic given the team's new ownership's purported financial commitment to putting a winning product on the ice (and his number's at 25...I read a Tweet that suggested 35 people were fired, so the official number of employees "let go" is sketchy):
This is one of those incidents where you watch a player do something stupid and wonder, "What the hell are you thinking?" and then you listen to the announcers and go, "Oh, so that's a player's thought process...Dear Gord, they're lunkheads."
Cue all of the above from this clip of Florida Panthers defenseman Ed Jovanovski going after Columbus Blue Jackets forward Corey Tropp-who was out of his mind in trying to charge Jovanovski's face--with a dim retaliatory cheap shot (he received 5 and a game for his endeavors), then explained in equally dim fashion by the Blue Jackets' announcers, per Pro Hockey Talk's James O'Brien:
Florida actually scored a shorthanded goal whlie killing off the 5-minute major, but they lost 3-1 to Columbus.
Per the Chicago Sun-Times' Mark Lazerus, the Florida Panthers made a move that makes no sense cap-wise given that Capgeek estimates that the Chicago Blackhawks are now $282,628 over the cap...Wait, wait, here we go...
Versteeg's signed through 2015-2016 at a cap hit of $4.4 million per season, but Capgeek pegs his real-world salary for the this and the next two seasons at a total of $14 million real-world dollars, so the Panthers are paying $7 million to make Versteeg go away.
The Panthers and Blackhawks confirm:
Via Puck Daddy's Harrison Mooney, Florida Panthers scrapper Krys Barch lost a tooth during the course of the Panthers' 3-2 shootout loss to Washington, and when he was being "chirped at" by a few unruly Capitals fans, Barch chose to mockingly offer a pulled-out tooth to the gents jabbering at him:
Per NHL.com's Alain Poupart, Tim Thomas seems to be suffering from Dominik Hasek syndrome (goalie returns after semi-retirement, deals with chronic injuries as he gets back into game shape):
Florida Panthers goalie Tim Thomas left Tuesday's game against the Chicago Blackhawks with an apparent lower-body injury and did not return.
Thomas left the ice with 2:59 remaining in the third period and the score tied 2-2. He was replaced by Jacob Markstrom, who was beaten twice in the shootout as the Blackhawks won 3-2.
Thomas went down to make a save and lay on his stomach in obvious discomfort. After the next whistle, he skated to the Florida bench, moved his leg to test it and showed obvious pain, at which time Markstrom replaced him.
Thomas was making his third start after missing four games with a groin injury he sustained during a 2-1 loss against the Philadelphia Flyers on Oct. 8. Florida coach Kevin Dineen said after the game he had no update on Thomas' condition but that the injury Thomas sustained on Tuesday was not the same as the one he suffered in Philadelphia.
Here's NHL.com's video of the injury:
The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch suggests that the Florida Panthers' new owners plan on shaking up the team, with just about everyone who's not a top prospect up for grabs:
Three weeks into the season — and less than a month since Vincent Viola and Douglas Cifu took over the franchise — sources say the Panthers are prepared to move any of their veteran players.
Forwards Tomas Fleischmann, Kris Versteeg, Scottie Upshall, Shawn Matthias, Brad Boyes and Marcel Goc are among those available along with Tom Gilbert and Dmitry Kulikov, just to name a few.
After making the playoffs two years ago, the Panthers haven’t gotten off to the kind of start anybody expected, especially after signing veteran goalie Tim Thomas.
While Viola and Cifu are willing to commit cash to the organization, the belief is they don’t want to throw good money after bad. The only thing GM Dale Tallon doesn’t want to do is trade any of the club’s good young prospects.
Continued with many more rumors...
As Paul noted, Tim Thomas appeared to tweak his groin or some othe part of his "lower body" in the Florida Panthers' 2-1 loss to Philly on Tuesday, and while I was preparing to have my beard trimmed for the first time in six years, Pro Hockey Talk's Ryan Dadoun notes that Niklas Backstrom got dinged in the Wild's 3-2 loss to Nashville...
[T]he Minnesota Wild are reporting that netminder Niklas Backstrom is done for the night due to a similar problem.
Backstrom lasted just 11:14 minutes against the Nashville Predators and surrendered two goals on five shots. He sustained the injury when Nashville forward Eric Nystrom crashed into him and seemed to accidentally jam Backstrom’s leg against the post.
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Tags: brad+stuart, eric+nystrom, erik+gudbranson, florida+panthers, minnesota+wild, nashville+predators, new+york+rangers, niklas+backstrom, philadelphia+flyers, rick+nash, san+jose+sharks, scott+hartnell, tim+thomas
ESPN's Scott Burnside's relieving Pierre LeBrun in the "rumblings" department today, offering "ramblings" instead. Among them:
Like most people, we’re fascinated to see how the Daniel Alfredsson experiment turns out in Detroit. But the one thing that we still can’t get over is that the NHL decided not to act on Alfredsson’s blunt acknowledgement that his previous contract with the Ottawa Senators was, in fact, a blatant attempt to circumvent the salary cap under the previous collective bargaining agreement. Alfredsson told reporters before training camp that when the four-year deal was signed neither side expected Alfredsson would play in the contract’s final year -- worth only $1 million in real money even though the cap hit was $4.875 million annually. It was exactly that kind of wink, wink, nudge, nudge deal that the league had been warning teams about for years -- Alfredsson made $7 million in each of the first two years of the pact -- and which ultimately cost the New Jersey Devils mightily in their first attempt at a contract for the erstwhile Ilya Kovalchuk. The so-called cheat deals were, in theory, eliminated by new parameters put on contracts in the new collective bargaining agreement and the league’s position is that they are going to look forward instead of back. Good news for the Senators, but maybe in the spirit of CBA détente, the league should forgive the Devils the first round draft pick they must forfeit next spring for having done no worse than what Alfredsson admitted the Senators did in his case.
I'm curious as to why the Flames aren't being dinged for allowing Miikka Kiprusoff to retire early, too, but that's just me...
Via CBS Sports' Brian Stubits, the Florida Panthers seem to have no problem existing as the Island of Misfit Players, having signed Tim Thomas and now Ryan Whitney:
The Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons offers a scattershot slate of mostly Maple Leafs-related observations this morning, and the train of thought in this particular paragraph struck me as most intriguing:
Would love to know why Sergei Makarov, who was a top-10 player in the world from 1979-1989 is still not in the Hockey Hall of Fame....
Ran into Paul Coffey, Darryl Sittler, Marcel Dionne and a few more all-time greats at the Road Hockey To Conquer Cancer event at Ontario Place. If there’s a better charity event than this one, I haven’t seen it ...
Maybe it’s personal, but it makes me just a little uncomfortable to see Sheldon Keefe honoured this coming week for his time coaching in Pembroke. Maybe I’m too old to forget and or maybe I just know too much...
The best supporting actors in [Paul] Ranger’s return to the NHL: David Branch and Dallas Eakins...
If I was Dale Tallon, I would have given Tim Thomas the $3.75 million the Florida Panthers gave him but if I was paying him that much, I wouldn’t have given him a no-trade contract.
TSN's Bob McKenzie, Darren Dreger and Pierre LeBrun discussed David Clarkson's suspension, Paul Bissonnette's appealing of his suspension, the probability of the NHL and NHLPA adopting hybrid icing and even expansion to Seattle in an "Insider Trading" segment, but pre-season hockey games aren't exactly covered with the intense scrutiny of regular-season games, so the most intriguing part of their segment involves, well, assessing which players have played well and which ones have played poorly during the part of the season that theoretically doesn't count:
From the Miami Herald’s George Richards:
With the type of season the Florida Panthers went through last year, coach Pete DeBoer said one would have to expect plenty of changes.
Since finishing 14th in the Eastern Conference and last in the Southeast Division for the first time in franchise history, the Panthers brought in a general manager not afraid to shake things up.
You want change? Dale Tallon is ready to bring it.
According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie’s tweet, the rumored deal of the Panthers’ Nathan Horton to the Bruins is a “done deal”.
UPDATE: Per Bob, the deal is Horton and Gregory Campbell for Dennis Wideman, 15th overall pick and another draft pick.
From NESN.com’s James Murphy:
Well, it appears Chiarelli could already have a trade in place that would bring a current NHLer to Boston.
While the parameters of the trade are unclear at this point, a very reliable source told NESN.com on Friday that the Bruins are closing in on a trade with the Florida Panthers that would see them acquire winger Nathan Horton, who was drafted third overall by the Panthers in 2003, but in six NHL seasons, has cracked the 30-goal plateau only once and—in the eyes of fans and media—failed to reach his potential and use his 6-foot-2, 229-pound frame properly.
There were no specifics on what else may come to Boston in the deal or what the return would be to Florida, but it has been well documented that Chiarelli would love to move into the top 5-7 picks overall to get one of the top defensive prospects available, so this could be a package deal involving roster players and picks.
Earlier today, Denis Potvin was on “Hockey This Morning” (NHL Home Ice XM 204) describing the scene last night in Buffalo regarding the horrific injury to Richard Zednik. Denis was doing color for FSN Florida last night.
Our thanks to Hockey This Morning on NHL Home Ice XM 204 for the providing the audio for KK readers.
Note: details of last night’s events were previously posted here on KK (including video).
Update 2:04pm ET: An update from the Panthers states that Zednik is still in stable condition, but remains in the intensive care unit.
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Tags: buffalo+sabres, denis+potvin, florida+panthers, media, neck+injury, nhl+today, olli+jokinen, richard+zednik, xm+radio
from the Sun-Sentinel,
While his teammates left for Washington on Tuesday, Panthers defenseman Mike Van Ryn went to receive a cortisone injection in his right wrist.
It’s likely the last resort for Van Ryn before he’s forced to have surgery on that wrist for the third time in a year and a half — surgery that would end the 28-year-old’s season and possibly his seven-year NHL career.
from the Sun-Sentinel,
At any time inside both the Panthers’ and Rangers’ dressing rooms this season, you can hear Czech spoken.
Both rosters have six players from the former Czechoslovakia, now split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia….
“It’s not something I can’t be without, but it definitely helps, no question,” Vokoun said. “You’re always close to people who grew up the same way and have gone through the same things. It’s very good for family life.”
from On Frozen Pond,
JM got testy today when asked about the reported division in the room, telling us to name our sources. That, of course, is not going to happen. And it can’t happen. But none of this is new. JM hasn’t been a good communicator and I don’t think he thinks he needs to be.
JM is an old-school guy in the thought he feels these guys should be able to motivate themselves from within, that they make enough money they should play with pride and be up for every game. Yet this is the real world. That always isn’t the case.
Has Jacques lost the room? I don’t think he has.
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 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.”