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Road Trip

SmonicapierWhile it's nice to be home after a season filled with travel, I would much rather be watching these playoff games from close rather than afar.

Good thing I have someone to live vicariously through. His name? Dave Strader. Dave, you may remember, is the TV play-by-play voice of the Florida Panthers. In the Panthers offseason (AKA: The Stanley Cup Playoffs), Dave works for Versus calling said playoff games.

Dave is in Anaheim for the opening two games of the Anaheim/Vancouver series, and seems to be having fun. He's blogging on floridapanthers.com, so if you'd like to read his rants and ravings, check out his blog page: DAVE STRADER AINT NO DENIS POTVIN

See, I don't mind a little blogging competition. There's plenty of room for hockey talk out here in cyberspace.

-- Speaking of cyberspace, the Panthers change up their official website Thursday morning. Check it out at, uh-huh, floridapanthers.com

-- The Panthers two minor league affiliates are doing OK in their respective playoff seasons. In the AHL, the Rochester Americans tied up their series with Hamilton, Ont., with a victory on Tuesday. That series is 2-2 and headed back to War Memorial (not the one from Slap Shot) on Thursday.

In the ECHL, Estero's very own Florida Everblades went into their game Wednesday with a 1-0 series lead against  Texas, only to watch that lead disappear as the Wildcatters won 5-0 Wednesday at Germain Arena. Speaking of the Wildcatters, can't find out whether Jamie "Whacking Stick" McLennan is still a part-owner of that team or not. He was, don't know if he still is.

-- Post below states the Panthers only have two players competing in the World Championships. Well, forgot that D Cory Murphy (famously of Kanata, Ontario) is playing for Team Canada. Murph the Surf has never suited up for the Panthers but I'm counting him anyways.

Petegriffin Also, JM says he plans to be at the arena Thursday night for the big BBQ; he flies to Russia for the WC on Friday. Got to love that flight to Russia. Think I'll loan him my PSP and Wayne Gretzky game (actually, I'm betting JM would rather watch Family Guy Seasons 1 and 2).

-- Speaking of JM, Russia and the World Championships: the big news out of Stockholm is that former Florida GM Mike Keenan is back in the hockey business as a senior advisor to the Swedish National Team. Keenan, who "resigned" from the Panthers last Sept., had been working at TSN as an analyst. According to TSN.com, Keenan's primary concern will be Sweden's under-20 and under-18 programs. They say Iron Mike has always worked well with kids. It must be his patient way. (Hope you got the sarcasm!)

"To be involved with a group and a country who have performed so well on the world stage with a strong emphasis on improving is very flattering," Keenan told TSN. 

"I'm looking forward to another opportunity to learn more about hockey and I'm humbled they respect me and the Canadian perspective enough to ask me. It's all about new ideas. Both for Sweden, and for me."

Good luck to Mike and his new endeavors. And here's to hoping the Herald sends me to Sweden this summer to do a big story on Mike (and all the scenery that country is known for). Giggity, giggity.

Sweden Quagmire