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Island Freeze

ColisieumUNIONDALE, N.Y. -- It's a glorious day out here on Long Island, seemingly perfect for a day at the beach or even out on the golf course.

There isn't a cloud in the sky.

Too bad it's just 15 degrees out there.

But it's not too bad. I have a nice patio with a nice view of Denis Potvin's former home. The big news in South Florida, obviously, is the firing of Cam Cameron. Saw a story where it said the Dolphins hadn't fired a coach in 30-plus years (George Wilson, the Phins first coach, was let go so Joe Robbie could hire some guy named Shula).

Wannstedt So what happened with Dave Wannstedt? Oh that's right. He resigned. Right.

-- Hard to believe, but tonight is Florida's 41st game. The midway point. The 50 yard line. We're making the turn, heading to the 10th tee..

It seems like the Panthers are ahead of the curve, but really, are they? They're five points out of first in the SE, sitting in third place. They have 39 points right now. Through 41 games last year, guess how many Florida had? 37 points. So, they are better off, but not by much.

Wondering your thoughts on the first half of the season and the expectations for the second half. Is this a playoff team right now? I don't really know. They need to pick up the pace, win more consistently. Can they? I'm not so sure. This team gets to the verge of something big, then can't finish, get over the hump. This team should be on Carolina's heels right now, if not overtaken them by now.

Maybe it turns around tonight against the Islanders, a hodgepodge of a team that finds a way to win. Call them scrappy, call them passionate, but the Islanders are winning. Would like to see some more moxie like that out of the Panthers. Someday, maybe.

-- Got some New York stuff for ya...Isaiah Thomas says the Knicks are going to be a championship caliber team, and he's going to build them. Also took credit for everything the Pistons have ever done -- including the move from Fort Wayne to Detroit.

Also, according to old friend Anthony McCarron of the Daily News, the Yankees have no interest in bringing Roger Clemens back next year. That one shocked me. I thought for sure Rocket was coming back to New York.

And, the Bucs are trying to keep Giants fans from buying tickets by making them available only to folks with Florida addresses. Think anyone from the Tampa Bay organization has ever been to South Florida?

Tip of the Day: Avoid Alligator Alley/75 North early Sunday morning. Going to be a whole lot of "Floridians" heading to Tampa for the football game. Hey, it's not the Giants fault Tampa Bay can't sell out a playoff game. Whatever happened to that billboard on Dale Mabry claiming there were 70,000 or so people on a season ticket waiting list?

-- And, finally, some more hockey news (not from The Hockey News): Anthony Stewart is back. Might be on the verge of a Florida record for most call-ups in a season. This is stint No. 6 for Tony (who should change his number to 20 IMHO).

This means someone is hurt -- or about to find the bench. Meeting with JM in a little bit to find out.

-- UPDATE: Zednik apparently got hurt last night, but is fine and in the lineup. So, too, is Stewart. Tanner Glass is on the bench.

-- Rick DiPietro was told to take his new prototype pads off during the first intermission. And the Panthers have score twice in the second..

Grimley -- Pat Sajak is here, but no sign of Vanna. I don't want to buy a vowel, but I do need a new W key for my laptop. I wonder if Pat Sajak is a cool guy?

-- Sajak got a nice round of applause when he went onto the big screen, but nothing like the warm welcome given to Florida TV voice -- and four-time Cup captain of the Islanders -- Denis Potvin in the first period.

Brinkley_2 -- Where, I wonder, is Islanders super fan Christie Brinkley? I'm sure an appearance by her would bring many a cheer.

At least from the press box.

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Awwww, you media big shots always get the rooms with the best views.

Seriously, that arena looks like hell but has some of the best sight lines in the league. A lot cozier than "the Rock."

Take a cab to Vincents, 10 mins. away on Old Country Road, for some mean pasta.

sounds great...love me some pasta...ever hear of 'Olive Garden?' Great local joint in Jersey. They have these breadsticks that are just terrific! Anyway, thanks for the tip...got a car, might head that way...And I got no problems with Nassau...

Your golf gam must be pretty good that you skip the tee-box on the turn and head straigh for the green on 10

Nice catch Mike. And my golf game sucks. But I got a travel bag for Christmas, which means golf in the Commonwealth this summer...

We will not win without another goal scorer. Our 3 free agents are solid role players; but not game breakers. Horton and weiss are not having breakout seasons; horton espcially not living up to his contract. Vokun is living up to his. We really miss Murphy; only when he was in did we have a productive power play.
Coming full circle, GM had a responsibility to fill the gap; we past up Ricci et.al. The status quo leaves us on the outside once again, losing a chance to fill buildings, and gain fans....maybe its time Martin take GM full time and let Neuiwendyke take over...

They actually had 37 points at the 41 game plateau last year.

This is the yahoo sports preview for last years 42nd game of the year, take a look at Florida's record (15-19-7), this year we are (18-19-3)at the 40 game mark.

http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/preview;...gid=2007010206

Think 15 is cold? It was -10 at my home this morning when I left for work. The high today wasn't supposed to get out of single digits.

The Panthers are indeed just two points ahead of last year's pace, but on the other hand being 5 points out of the playoffs isn't too bad when you consider they were probably about 12 points out at this point last season. Less of a hump to climb over, y'know?

Vokoun has kept the Panthers in many games. He has the most saves of anybody in the NHL right now. If the Panthers would have come out with 1 or 2 points in any of the countless games where Vokoun had kept it close or even brought the lead into the 3rd, this team would be first in the SE.

they are not a playoff team until they realize that they have to work hard every game.

When they have people in the slot they score goals, when they don't they get a lot of shots from the outside.

They need someone that is willing to cause problems for the other teams goalie, screen shots and rebounds. When they do this they win when they don't we have a game like the flyer game.

They need to be more consistent. Their best bet to make the playoffs would be to win the division. In order to win the division they have to beat Carolina and Atlanta a lot more than they have the last few years.

If they don't beat Carolina and Atlanta then the playoffs will not happen

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