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Welcome Back...Sort of

Keenan_2 Mike Keenan didn't lace up his skates Tuesday, didn't take a sentimental stroll around the BankAtlantic Center ice, you know, just for old time sakes.

No, while his Calgary Flames were working out on the ice, Keenan was roaming the press parking lot out back. Keenan had his shades on, a cellphone planted to his ear. Yeah, somethings never change.

"It was an optional skate,'' Keenan said with his usual sly grin. "I take the option as well.''

Keenan said a few team employees came down to say hello, and he seemed to enjoy that. Not all bad memories of South Florida for Iron Mike, for sure. Of course we went into his return, the Luongo trade, his time here. Nothing new to report. Mike was very politically correct, didn't throw anyone -- including himself -- under the proverbial charter bus.

The Luongo deal, he said, was a decision made by everyone -- Alan Cohen, himself, JM and others -- and Luongo was part of the problem. The Panthers' -- err, Mr. Cohen's -- offer of $30 million for five years was "more than fair" Keenan said, and Luongo lost money on the deal when you figure in Canadian and provincial taxes he now has to pay in Vancouver.  Keenan also laid blame on Luongo's agent and added the player's union was involved, saying they were in cahoots to drive up salary.

Would like to say this is the end of this, but with Roberto coming to town in February, we'll visit this topic again I'm sure.

-- No real news out of Panthers today. JM made it an optional skate as well. Like Keenan, he took the option to not skate too.

-- No TV for tonight's game because of the Versus blackout. If Versus broadcasts a game nationally on Mondays or Tuesdays, local teams aren't allowed to broadcast their own games during that time slot (so Blues going at 9 p.m. EST are safe).

Stupid policy, one meant to artificially inflate Versus meager ratings. Anyway, game is on Canadian TV so check it out on Center Ice.

-- So, GR, why isn't Thursday's game on TV? Or Saturday's ratings-whopper at Detroit? Don't have an answer about Thursday, other than this: Fox Sports told the Panthers there was no way Saturday's game was going to be televised.

The network plans to cover the Class 6A high school football title game, and in an effort to get their channel more exposure up north, won't switch it to Sun Sports. Believe it or not, a lot of people from Orlando north don't get FSN Florida. By putting important programing -- like prep football, Magic basketball, Gator hoops -- on FSN, they hope people complain enough to get it on their cable boxes.

The good folks at FSN resume coverage Sunday in Chicago.

-- PS: Since tonight's game isn't on, LIVE BLOG...

-- Weird night for former Florida goalies, no? First, Alex Auld was lights out Monday, beating Buffalo 4-1 by making 44 saves. Then Luongo gets hurt in warmups and can't go and the Canucks lose.

-- Speaking of Canucks, ran into a kid at Epcot wearing a Luongo jersey. Also, the Canada store at Epcot is a veritable NHL Canadian team store. Thought about bringing home some gear, but changed my mind.

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