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28 posts from April 2008

April 30, 2008

Now, More Marlin!

Marlin1Another day of baseball here at Joe Robbie Stadium in south Miramar, your Miami Marlins getting set to take on the Los Angeles Dodgers in game two of a three-game set.

Looking forward to seeing Scott Olsen on the mound tonight, and while I know we're only a month into the season, but I guess you can call the 24-year-old the ace of this staff. He is 3-0 after all, the Marlins winning all five of his starts.

Marlinolsen And if Olsen is the ace of this Florida staff, is it safe to call him Marlin Olsen?

Anyways, little bit of news out of the Marlins clubhouse today. Mike Jacobs is out tonight, he took a cortisone injection into his injured right middle finger. Fredi Gonzalez says Jacobs is back starting at first in tomorrow's noon game against the LADs.

Also, Josh Willingham is still hurting, his back really stiffening up during the night although Hammer said it loosened up as the day wore on. He won't start tonight but will hit if needed. Willingham says he expects to be back Thursday, and if not Friday at the latest.

-- Flag presentation done by the fellas at Cypress Bay High in Weston. Where is that bay, exactly?

-- Walked around the club section here at JRS today and came away impressed not only with the new amenities, but with the mini Hall of Fames they have built -- and stocked -- every few feet or so. Built into the walls, there are displays honoring past Super Bowls played in South Florida and for the Dolphins Super Bowl championship teams, the Marlins, the Hurricanes, the (FedEx) Orange Bowl and South Florida high school football.

Liked them all, although the folks from UM really need to spruce up their collection. The football side looked like it had all been purchased at the Pembroke Lakes Mall.

-- Pirates thump the Mets 13-1 today, so no matter what happens tonight, the Marlins head into May atop the National League East.

Don't think too many people predicted that turn of events.

-- Someone just called me on my cellphone to remind me "it's early. Real early."

-- Don't forget to vote on the previous two 'Frozen Polls.' One directly below this entry has to do with the low attendance at Marlins games, the one below deals with the Panthers coaching search. Feel free to leave a comment after voting. It'll make you feel good.

-- We're underway at the Joe...And Rafael Furcal leads off with a single over Jorge Cantu at third...Marlin Olsen gets out of inning unscathed...

-- Just noticed a fan wearing a Hee-Seop Choi jersey. Three words: That is Awesome! The Hee-Seop Choi era in South Florida was over way too quickly for this guy. Who Seop? Hee-Seop. Choi!

-- Dodgers get a homer to left from Russell Martin, tag on two more in the third...LAD 3, FLA 0 in top of 4th....

-- PS: Dodgers lead 13-1 here in the eighth inning. And the Canadiens are in big, big trouble.

-- Marlins lose and I head off into the sunset and get ready for a fantastic root canal on Thursday. Will be back (hopefully) on Friday.

Good night from north Hialeah everyone....

April 29, 2008

Too Few are Doing the Fish -- Live from the Joe

Billy Covering the Miami Marlins tonight, and it appears we're going to have another Friends and Family night at the football yard.

Everyone's tired about hearing about the small crowds at Joe Robbie Stadium night after night I'm sure. But there has to be a reason -- or two, or three -- folks down here don't support this team.

You all know the Fighting Fish are a first-place club at the moment, right?

I plan to update this site during the game tonight, and was hoping to get some feedback on why fans -- the ones who live in South Florida -- don't come out to see the Marlins more often. Feel free to vote, for sure, but also leave a comment on why you do -- or don't -- like coming down to Joe Robbie Stadium to watch the team.

-- Crowd filling and settling in here at the Joe but still on the smallish side. The Dodgers, who haven't been in Florida since bailing on Vero Beach back on St. Patrick's Day, getting up and around on Andrew Miller. LADs get a run off three singles to left in the opening inning. In the second, LADs load 'em up with two outs, Matt Kemp singles in a pair to make it 3-0. Jeff Kent follows suit, singling into center to make it 5-0.

And the Marlins get the bullpen going....

-- Speaking of Vero Beach, the Dodgers plan on being in their new digs in Gretzkytown (AKA Glendale, Ariz.) come February. The Indians (2009) and Reds (2010) join the Dodgers out in Arizona, the Ohio teams moving to a new complex in Goodyear.

Last team training in Florida bring the citrus....

-- The Marlins trail 6-1 after a wild pitch, then something truly wild happened: The Mermaids, the team's scantily clad dance troupe, did a routine on the field in which they moved and grooved to Motley Crue's ode to adult clubs, Girls, Girls, Girls

Somewhere, a prepubescent teen asked "Dad, where's the Dollhouse in Fort Lauderdale? And can we go there sometime?'' No son, you can't. But at least we have the Mermaids!

-- Dan Uggla goes deep into the club seats....Marlins trail 6-2 heading to the fourth...

-- The line on Miller: 3 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 62 pitches, 33 strikes

-- Hockey friends Josh Friedman, Craig Minervini and Frank Forte all send their best to Panther fans out there...

-- I'm not watching it obviously, but Pens seem to be taking it to the Rangers at MSG. This would be Pitt's first win at the Garden this season if the Pens hold on. I picked the Rangers to win this series, a move I'm regretting with each passing moment of the series. Had Rangers been able to get that win in Game 1, things might be a bit different. Of course, had I covered hockey in Detroit and not South Florida, I'd be covering playoff hockey and not watching baseball in a football stadium in Miami.

-- Jorge Cantu leads off fourth with a double to center; after Luis Gonzalez singled, Mike Rabelo's sac fly to center makes it a 6-3 LAD lead...

Office -- Speaking of the Mermaids, this is how you celebrate winning some playoff hockey games. I have a buddy who is regional manager of a paper company in Scranton, Pa. Wonder if he goes to any of these games?

-- Going to bottom of fifth, still Vero Beach Dodgers 6, Jupiter Marlins 3

-- Hey hey, here come the Rangers....Nueva York puts up a pair of quick goals in the second period and tie up the Penguins 3-3...

-- And here come the Marlins....Jeremy Hermida drives in two with a broken-bat double to right...Hanley Ramirez (E3) and Dan Uggla (BB) come in, Hermida to third on a throwing error home...Marlins have pulled to within one @ 6-5...

And Jorge Cantu continues his big day...Cantu (profiled by Clark Spencer in today's Miami Herald) is now 3-for-3, his RBI single driving in Hermida and tying this thing at 6...Miller off the hook...

-- Just some great all-out baseball being played here at the Joe...those of you who haven't noticed ("and judging by the attendance, you haven't") are really missing out...

Dan Uggla just went 100 miles per hour and headfirst into the stands to grab a high popup...then, with two outs, Alfredo Amezaga races in to make a great stab and end the inning...just fun times here at the Joe these days...

-- Pens opening it up again, lead two once more...5-3 over the Rangers...

-- Oh, and we're still tied at the Joe @ 6...going to the top of the eighth...

-- Marlins score a touchdown in the eighth -- or at least catcher Mike Rabelo celebrated like he scored off a Dan Marino pass. With two outs in the inning, Mark Sweeney lines a shot into the right field corner...Blake DeWitt comes barreling around third looks to score, but Hermida's throw is right on line to Rabelo...the Marlins first-year catcher makes the catch, turns and gets run over by DeWitt.

Rabelo braced for the hit -- actually turned a shoulder into the hit -- and spiked the baseball (ala Pete Rose or Mark Duper) at home plate.

Good stuff indeed...

Rock the Vote -- Now, New Candidates!

Jacques JM the GM said last week that he would begin formulating his criteria for selecting a new coach of the Florida Panthers this week. Since today is Tuesday, I'm assuming JM has his thoughts in order and is about ready to start looking at good, quality candidates to coach the Panthers for the foreseeable future.

Of course, the new coach will be the 10th coach in the relatively short history of the Florida Panthers. That, kids, is a lot of instability. Consider this: Jacques Martin is the only coach in the history of the Panthers franchise to last three full seasons. Yes, the only one. Not coincidentally, JM is the franchise coaching leader in wins, losses and games.

We'll see if the new guy sticks around long enough to challenge those records.

Flick Anyway, a new feature at On Frozen Pond (stolen from old pal Gregory Cote down the street at MiamiHerald.com) is what I like to call the Frozen Poll.

Today's poll surrounds Martin's search for a new coach and who you, the loyal reader of On Frozen Pond, wants to see behind the Panthers bench. With the Sharks teetering on the brink of elimination, I figure Ron Wilson may be available sooner than later so I'm throwing him into the mix.

Vote early, and if you're from Miami-Dade County, feel free to vote often.

This Frozen Poll stays open for an entire month!

-- Folks have been emailing me wondering why they had not heard that Denis Potvin was a coaching candidate. As far as I know, he isn't. I just threw his name out there thinking if he was interested in the gig, the Panthers have to talk to him. But truthfully, I don't know if Denis is interested. He has a pretty good deal going now, and I know he enjoys his way of life.

-- After one full day of voting, here's what we got: Denis Potvin 24 percent; Randy Cunneyworth 22 percent; The Dancing Banana 22 percent; Bob Hartley 11 percent; Doug MacLean 9 percent; Ron Wilson 7 percent; Perry Pearn 6 percent.

April 24, 2008

News of the Day

MichelinmanSpent part of the morning at the BAC meeting with JM the GM. OK?

Got a little bit of news out of our meeting, some of which has been reported. But, I'm giving it to you anyways.

Sue me.

-- On the coaching search: No rush. None. JM was talking about August today. Says there are candidates who are still in the playoffs (thinking the Rangers' Perry Pearn) and says he'll put his list of qualifications together next week. Adds Mike Kitchen and Guy Charron have indicated they are interested in the job and will get their chance. Other than that, not much.

-- On his contract status: Nothing yet, although he says they are close to getting the deal done. He didn't seem all to worried about it.

-- On Michael Frolik: Nothing new to report here either. JM says the Panthers have made another offer and they are working toward a deal. Clock is ticking on this one. If Frolik isn't signed by June 1, he can re-enter the draft. Florida needs this deal to get done.

-- On Wade Belak: Had shoulder surgery ("something similar to Noah Welch") and will spend the summer rehabbing. That said, Martin wants Belak back and says a deal is in the works. Rostislav Olesz is also a deal the Panthers think will get done sooner than later.

-- On Steve Montador: I get the feeling we may have seen the last of Monty in a Florida sweater. Dude is going to get paid this year after having a career year, and I don't know that the Panthers are going to want to pony up the cash. JM says they want Monty back, but added that Monty probably is going to want to test the free agent waters. And, the Panthers "have a budget to think about.''

-- On Jay Bouwmeester: Nothing new to report here either. JM says the two sides have begun speaking.

-- On the Rochester Americans: The mess continues to grow. JM says the league is meeting with the team on May 5-6 "because they have some issues they have to deal with.'' JM says the Panthers are going to need a new deal with the Americans since the Panthers are going to be the lone parent team and will stock the team with players and coaches.

"We still feel strongly that it's a great market, a great fit for us,'' Martin said. "At the same time, we need the ownership issues resolved by the league. We'll work with the league on that. He needs to rectify his issues with the league and the city.''

Martin said both he and Randy Sexton will probably handle the Rochester hirings and signings, adding that the assistant GM usually handles the AHL operations but the Panthers haven't hammered that out yet.

A rumor floating out of Rochester was that the Panthers were interested in buying the Americans outright. False. The Panthers lost a bundle when they owned the San Antonio Rampage and don't want to go that route again.

-- Martin says all three of his assistants are under contracts, and "whoever becomes the head coach, those will be issues we'll have to work out.'' Martin wouldn't say whether any of the three would be back next year, but that would be up to the new coach. "We have things we need to consider,'' he said.

Playoffs for Panthers -- Kind Of

BeezerratsWell, the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs kicks off tonight, and believe it or not, the Panthers are involved.

Of course we're talking about ex-Panthers. Always seems to be plenty around in the playoffs.

Of the Elite Eight teams remaining, only Montreal and Philadelphia don't have former Florida players on their active roster. Three teams (Detroit, San Jose and Dallas) have two each. Here's the breakdown:

Western Conference -- Detroit: Andreas Lilja (2002-04); Mikael Samuelsson (2003-04). Colorado: Ruslan Salei (2006-08). San Jose: Sandis Ozolinsh (2002-03); Alexei Semenov (2005-07). Dallas: Stu Barnes (1993-96); Niklas Hagman (2001-04). Eastern Conference -- Pittsburgh: Gary Roberts (2005-07); Rangers: Martin Straka (1995-97).

Enjoy the semifinals...

April 23, 2008

Beisbol en Miami

MarklightGorgeous night here in Coral Gables as the Miami's two major collegiate baseball programs get after it perhaps for the last time for a while.

There's plenty of bad blood between Miami coach Jim Morris and new FIU coach Turtle Thomas, who some may remember used to work at the U. That was, of course, until Morris fired him in 1999.

Plenty of stories have surfaced about what happened then (recruiting stuff) and later (rumors were FSU had a hand-printed list of Miami's signs and Turtle was pointed as the culprit).

No one ever goes on record with this stuff, so we'll chalk it up as urban legend.

But there is bad blood, and it doesn't appear that Miami wants to play FIU anymore. And that's sad. These two programs have played every year since 1973 and it's a fun cross-town rivalry. Perhaps cooler heads will prevail and we'll get a home-and-home next year, but don't hold your breath.

Tonight's game shouldn't be much, what with the Golden Panthers being 16 games under .500 and the Canes being the top-ranked team in the nation at 33-4.

But you never know.

There's no hockey on tonight, so stop on by tonight as we go live sometime around 7 p.m.

-- Rumor was Olli Jokinen was throwing out the first pitch tonight, but that was started by WQAM's Brian London when he saw me in the press box.

-- Just got an email from the Minnesota Wild. Claims television ratings in Minnesota were pretty high for the Wild's first-round series against Colorado. People in Minnesota watch hockey? Shocking.

-- Jim Morris and Turtle Thomas shook hands not once, but twice!


T1: FIU's Corey Lozano kicks things off by flying out to center...Anthony Nalepa pitching for the homestanding Hurricanes....It's a 1-2-3 first inning, Canes coming to bat...

B1: With two outs, Yonder Alonso singles up the middle...Dennis Raben follows suit, Alonso hustles to third, Raben takes second on the throw...threat snuffed out; Mark Sobolewski grounds out to second...Still scoreless at The Light...

T2: With two outs, Steven Stropp walks, then goes to second on single by Javier Sujo...John Petika flies out, inning over...

B2: 1-2-3; UM 0, FIU 0

T3: Ty Main doubles into the right field corner to lead things off, moves to third on a sacrifice and then comes home on Ryan Molica's sac fly to left...FIU 1, UM 0

B3: Canes have runners on the corner with two outs, Raben grounds out to third to end it...Still, FIU 1-0

T4: FIU gets runner on, but nothing across...still 1-0

B4: Canes go down 1-2-3 once more....Eric Horstmann pitching a gem for the Golden Panthers tonight...

T6: Skipping ahead, we're now in the top of the sixth...FIU gets runners on with one out, Steven Stropp's sacrifice drive to right brings in Raimy Fuentes...it's now 2-0 FIU and the Canes' Nike bats are as cold as a Cleveland summer's night...Tyler Townsend just comes in from third on a passed ball...FIU runner at 3rd with 2 outs...now 3-0...

John Petika drills a double that just hugged the right field line...you're reading this right: FIU 4, Miami 0

Heading to the bottom of the sixth...FIU 4-0

B6: Canes get runners on (free passes both) and fail to do anything...still 4-0 Golden Panthers...

B7: Canes get something going from the start; Adan Severino triples to lead things off, then comes home on grounder to second by Yasmani Grandal; with two outs, Blake Tekotte gets plunked, and he scores when Jemile Weeks hits a monster over the right field fence...Canes get three, now trail FIU 4-3...Alonso lines out to center field, remains 4-3 going into the eighth...

T8: FIU goes 1-2-3 as UM seems to have grabbed quite a bit of momentum heading into its half of the eighth....

B8: Canes have 1st and 2nd with one out....Severino fly to shallow right can't advance runners...2 outs....Dave DiNatale walks to load 'em up with two down...Grandal has a 3-1 count, swings and sends a deep fly to right where Raimy Fuentes makes a great catch to shut down the Canes...FIU still leads 4-3...

T9: FIU has runners on the corners, no outs...Ty Main strikes out for the first out of the inning....Corey Lozano bunts, pitcher Kyle Bellamy can't make play at plate, all are safe, FIU up 5-3...Golden Cats get another...we go to the bottom of the ninth, FIU up 6-3.

Well it's a final from the Gables...FIU beats Miami for the first time since 2004, a span of seven straight wins for the Orange and Green. If this series doesn't resume for a while, FIU (which trails in the series 91-24) won the first-ever meeting between the two in 1973 and won in the final game of 2008.

Let's hope these two get together and play again next season. Going to look awfully small of the big-timing Hurricanes to drop the Golden Panthers for no good reason.

Hockey Talk

HarrydoyleBefore this site turns into 'On Frozen Diamond*' thought I would dedicate today's post to the second round of the NHL playoffs.

Looks like we have some fun matchups. Feel bad for the Capitals (they had plenty of chances to win that one), but good for the Flyers. Think that's going to be a decent series one in which I think the Habs win in 6. Carey Price shutting out the Bs on Monday night was huge. Huuuuuge.

Can't wait to watch the Pens and the Rangers, though, and I'm picking the Blueshirts to win that one in 7. Could go either way, obviously. I love the Pens, you all know this, but I also am a big fan of Henrik Lundqvist. I think he's a money maker and a difference maker. Goalies like him are built for the playoffs. Rangers just have too much going for them right now in my opinion.

Out west, what hockey fan doesn't love a Detroit-Avalanche matchup? That's just good, old fashioned hatred right there. Sure, a lot of the names have changed, but a few haven't. Bad blood always boils the best. I like Detroit there, and I think they need to stick with Osgood for the foreseeable future. Colorado may be the sixth seed, but they are a darned good sixth seed. I could see them winning here as well. Again, another fun series.

Good win for the Sharks on Tuesday, J.R. really coming to play by getting four points in Game 7. Not bad for a guy who text messaged a reporter in Philly this summer to tell him he was retiring, only to come back and sign a one-year deal with the Sharks. Did you see JR after the game last night? You could see him savoring every moment of that deal. That said, I like Dallas to win that one in 7.

-- PS: A total of seven Panthers will be representing their respective countries at the upcoming World Championships starting next week in Canada. David Booth and Craig Anderson will represent the U-S-of-A and Jay Bouwmeester will play for the homestanding Canadians. Others: Olli Jokinen (Finland), Ville Peltonen (Finland), Magnus 'Magnum' Johansson (Sweden), Branislav Mezei (Russia).

(*) Going to be doing a live report from tonight's Miami-FIU baseball game, and will also be doing some Florida Marlins reports when I cover them in May. Gives me something to do. Would have stopped in when I covered horse racing last weekend, but I was too engrossed in my Daily Racing Form to log on. Thanks to Mike and Michele at Gulfstream and Calder for all their help.

-- Bonus stuff on Detroit-Colorado: Colorado's Adam Foote and Joe Sakic have played in all 30 playoff games between the Avs and Wings, Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom and Darren McCarty have also played in all 30. Peter Forsberg, Kris Draper and Chris Chelios have played in 29 of the games.

-- Our good friends at Bodog.com have forwarded me their current Stanley Cup odds. Use these as you will. Odds to win the Stanley Cup: Detroit Red Wings 5/2; Pittsburgh Penguins 7/2; San Jose Sharks 9/2; Montreal Canadiens 6/1; New York Rangers 13/2; Dallas Stars 7/1; Colorado Avalanche 14/1; Philadelphia Flyers 16/1

-- Also, here is the complete schedule for Round 2. Clip and paste!
SERIES I TIME (ET) #1 Montreal vs. #6 Philadelphia Network

Thursday, April 24, 2008 7 p.m. Philadelphia at Montreal CBC, RDS
Saturday, April 26, 2008 7 p.m. Philadelphia at Montreal CBC, VERSUS, RDS
Monday, April 28, 2008 7 p.m. Montreal at Philadelphia VERSUS, CBC, RDS
Wednesday, April 30, 2008 7 p.m. Montreal at Philadelphia VERSUS, CBC, RDS
*Saturday, May 3, 2008 7 p.m. Philadelphia at Montreal CBC, VERSUS, RDS
*Sunday, May 4, 2008 7 p.m. Montreal at Philadelphia VERSUS, CBC, RDS
*Tuesday, May 6, 2008 7 p.m. Philadelphia at Montreal CBC, RDS

SERIES J TIME (ET) #2 Pittsburgh vs. #5 NY Rangers Network
Friday, April 25, 2008 7 p.m. NY Rangers at Pittsburgh VERSUS, CBC
Sunday, April 27, 2008 2 p.m. NY Rangers at Pittsburgh NBC, CBC
Tuesday, April 29, 2008 7 p.m. Pittsburgh at NY Rangers VERSUS, CBC
Thursday, May 1, 2008 7 p.m. Pittsburgh at NY Rangers VERSUS, CBC
*Sunday, May 4, 2008 2 p.m. NY Rangers at Pittsburgh NBC, CBC
*Monday, May 5, 2008 7 p.m. Pittsburgh at NY Rangers VERSUS, CBC
*Wednesday, May 7, 2008 TBD NY Rangers at Pittsburgh CBC

SERIES K TIME (ET) #1 Detroit vs. #6 Colorado Network
Thursday, April 24, 2008 7:30 p.m. Colorado at Detroit VERSUS, TSN
Saturday, April 26, 2008 3 p.m. Colorado at Detroit NBC, TSN
Tuesday, April 29, 2008 10 p.m. Detroit at Colorado VERSUS, TSN
Thursday, May 1, 2008 10 p.m. Detroit at Colorado VERSUS, TSN
*Saturday, May 3, 2008 1 p.m. Colorado at Detroit NBC, TSN
*Monday, May 5, 2008 10 p.m. Detroit at Colorado VERSUS, TSN
*Wednesday, May 7, 2008 TBD Colorado at Detroit TSN

SERIES L TIME (ET) #2 San Jose vs. #5 Dallas Network
Friday, April 25, 2008 10 p.m. Dallas at San Jose VERSUS, TSN
Sunday, April 27, 2008 9 p.m. Dallas at San Jose VERSUS, TSN
Tuesday, April 29, 2008 7:30 p.m. San Jose at Dallas TSN
Wednesday, April 30, 2008 9 p.m. San Jose at Dallas VERSUS, TSN (JIP)
*Friday, May 2, 2008 10 p.m. Dallas at San Jose VERSUS, TSN
*Sunday, May 4, 2008 9 p.m. San Jose at Dallas VERSUS, TSN
*Tuesday May 6, 2008 10 p.m. Dallas at San Jose TSN

April 16, 2008

Switching Gears; Canes/FAU Baseball

HowardBOCA RATON -- Coming to you live from the press box at FAU Baseball Stadium, getting ready for an exciting evening of college baseball as the top-ranked Hurricanes battle their cross-tri-county rival Owls.

Good stuff, indeed.

Planning on doing plenty of baseball this NHL playoff season, since, well, a hockey writer in South Florida has to do something at this time of year.

And UM/Marlins baseball is a pretty good thing to cover.

Will be watching the NHL postseason from afar tonight, but hope to be somewhere in time to watch the second period of the Wings/Preds game. Anyway, will come back and post baseball updates as well as other things that pops into the old noggin asUmcws we move along this beautiful Wednesday night in Paradise...

Got the windows propped open, going to get some peanuts (sans Cracker Jacks) and it's time for some beisbol.

-- Some Hockey: Word out of Caroliner is that Sergei Samsonov is getting a three-year deal from the Whalercanes. Samsonov, picked up off waivers, is getting just a shade under $8 million from the Carolina hockey club. And when I say a shade, about $400,000.

Good deal? I'm not sure. Samsonov played very well once joining the Raleighs, but he almost had to. After getting just four assists in his 23 games with Chicago, Samsonov needed to pick up his game and surely did in Carolina. Obviously a talent, Samsonov's game can also bring a headache to the team paying him. We'll see what happens in the coming years in Raleigh...


Top 1st: FAU throwing Adam Morrison, with wind blowing dead out. Could be a long night. Morrison gets first two MIAMI Hurricanes to fly out, Yonder Alonso looks at strike three....PA playing a lot of good Bruce Springsteen. Props to them (no offense JayRo, you still the man)...

Bottom 1st: FAU's Nick Arata leads off with single to left; Jeremy Griffiths follows with double to left -- 2nd/3rd, no outs; Mike McKenna grounds out to short, gets 54th RBI of the season; OWLS 1-0, 1 out...Travis Ozga single scores another OWLS 2-0...With two outs, former Taravella Colt (I'm kidding, Coral Springs fans out there) Alex Silversmith hammers a single into left, now OWLS 3-0, runners on the corners....high pop ends it, FAU 3 runs, 4 hits, 2 runners left....and these seeds are GOOD....

T2: 1 out, Dennis Raben draws a walk...2 outs, Canes on the board; Joey Terdoslavich doubles to gap in right/center, scores Raben..OWLS 3-1...Dave DiNatale doubles in Terdoslavich...OWLS 3-2...great glovework from FAU 2B and former Nova star William Block robs Jason Hagerty of run-tying single...2 runs off 2 hits, 1 LOB...FAU 3, UM 2

B2: Griffiths strikes again, driving in a run with a towering double that dropped at the fence with one out.. OWLS 4-2...Ozga strikes as well, his two-out single making it OWLS 5-2...Block goes quietly 3unassisted...2 runs off 3 hits, 1 left....FAU 5, UM 2

T3: Canes hit the ball hard, right at the Owls left and right fielder...Canes go uno-dos-tres...remains FAU 5, UM 2

B3: Canes making a pitching change...former Nova starter John Housey coming on...NY RANGERS take a 1-0 lead on the Jersey Devils...old pal Scott Gomez with the score...FAU leads off with back-to-back singles...Canes look to be looking ahead to FSU....Riann Spanjer drives one to right, nice catch-and-throw from Dennis Raben but Tom Hatcher slides in under...OWLS 6-2...now 2 outs in the inning... blow this thing wide open: Nick Arata with a monster shot to left and over...OWLS 8-2...inning over...FAU gets 3 on 3 and it's FAU 8, Miami 2...

T4: Going to shut things down for a bit unless something changes here...big crowd at FAU, kind of quiet right now...this is a snoozer...Canes do add a run, but.....FAU 8, UM 3

T5: Well, the Canes seemed to wake up a bit...Miami puts up four runs in the inning, now trails 10-7...gots to love college baseball...

B5: FAU gets runners on with 2 outs, but Anthony Nalepa (Chaminade) gets Tom "Mickey" Hatcher to strike out...Owls get nothing, still lead 10-7...

T6: Rangers lead Devils 3-2 going into second intermission; Penguins are getting ready to sweep slumping Senators out of Ottawa, lead 2-1 going into second break in Kanata...back to baseball: Canes get runners to second and third with one out, can't push one across...remains 10-7 Owls....hoot, hoot...

T8: Canes get a run across, trail 10-8; bases loaded 2 outs, Miami sends up pinch hitter Adam Severino...he walks in a run, its 10-9....Dave DiNatali up next...he strikes out looking...FAU 10, UM 9 heading into the bottom of the eighth..


And the Senators -- the team that slipped into the playoffs thanks to Florida's improbable win over the Whalercanes -- are done. Penguins sweep in 4. Wonder if the folks in Kenata are going to take a picture of that handshake ceremony...


B8: Owls threaten, get nada....we're heading to the top of the ninth with FAU leading...if this is last update, well, then that's your final...

Yonder Alonso hits shot to right with two outs, Canes take first lead of night at 11-10...

Canes win 12-10, head to Tallahassee for a three-game set against the second ranked Seminoles winners of 18 of their past 19 games...not too shabby....

Good night from Boca, home of the Mallers. I leave you with this little old ditty from the Neil Rogers Show...

"They don't drink coffee, only Mocha, and that's what I like about Boca...''

April 15, 2008

JM Is The GM, Again (PS: that rhymes)

Jm2Jacques Martin said from Ottawa on Tuesday that he would return to the Panthers as general manager and was excited to get back to work.

JM said he would select the new coach, but didn't really get into any details about who the favorites were. As you may recall, Alan Cohen has said the job of finding a new coach sits squarely with JM.

JM said he still has to work out a new contract with the team (his current deal has two years left, sure that's going to be wrapped into the new one) and that he has not even started a list of who the coaches will be.

He says fans can be assured he's in this job for the long haul, to "mold this organization to where I want it to be.''

Here is the story at MiamiHerald.com. Enjoy it. JM says hello to everyone...

April 12, 2008

Splashdown, T-Town

Word is, Jacques Martin is now in Toronto, watching the (Rochester) Americans doing, you know, general manager type stuff....

Department of Corrections

PapermateNeed to clarify something that has been floating around the past two day probably because of something I wrote on Thursday.

I was told by a number of people including Alan Cohen that Jacques Martin was in Rochester, N.Y., scouting and talking to players as well as trying to figure out the ownership mess there (which I'm told is still in flux but the Panthers are expected to be there alone next season anyway).

Here's the deal: I don't know where Jacques is right now.

I mistakingly said he was in Rochester because he was not. According to Panthers spokesman Justin Copertino, when he talked to Jacques on Friday morning, he was still in South Florida. Martin was expected to be at Friday's Americans game in Rochester, but my people there told me he never showed. Duane Sutter was there, but there was no sign of Jacques.

What does this all mean? I don't know. I know Jacques doesn't like many of the aspects of the general manager's job and would much rather be a coach. But that's not an option right now, at least not in Florida. So, I would assume Jacques is in his beachfront condo working the phones, seeing what's open out there and weighing his options.

I think Alan Cohen is cool with that. If Jacques found something, I think he would be set free to pursue it (JM has two years left on his contract). But, JM would have to be darn sure he had a gig lined up before stepping away from the Panthers and the guaranteed money that awaits him. JM has bills just like the rest of us and money can be a very motivating factor.

Anyway, to sum things up -- and one of the reasons I brought it up -- is that the implication that Jacques Martin is out on the road, doing general manager type stuff (thereby saying all is well and he's ready to move on simply as the Florida GM) is definitely misleading.

Of course, he could have been in Estero doing, you know, general manager stuff.

-- My thought: JM comes back as general manager, keeping an eye open for any coaching job that comes around. But being the general manager of an NHL team is a pretty good gig.

-- Speaking of Rochester, just checked out the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, where Kevin Oklobzija writes that while Randy Cunneyworth is under contract to the Sabres through the end of the summer, if the Panthers want him, something can be worked out. Sabres GM Darcy Regier said Friday that he'll do anything to get Cunneyworth into the league.

Cunneryworth Cunneyworth, it should be noted, has long ties to Martin and seems to be a good looking candidate. Cunneyworth has done a very good job working with the minor leaguers with both the Panthers and Sabres, and used to be captain of the Senators during JM's early years as coach there.

Cunneyworth has paid his dues, more than deserves a shot, and I think he would be a good fit here. That's just my take.

-- Speaking of Estero, the Everblades are in big trouble. They've lost the first two games of their opening round series against the Columbia, S.C., Inferno, and now have to go on the road. The Blades have to win the next two on the road to force a winner-take-all Game 5 to be played in Estero on Tuesday. One more loss and the Blades join the Panthers and the Americans on the golf course.

Golfwater -- Speaking of that, I lost about a dozen balls yesterday. So, if you live in Hollywood and your tap water tastes a little like Titleist this morning, well, you're welcome.

-- Going on the air with Goldie at 10:30. 790-AM kiddies...

April 11, 2008

Another Loss

JoeniewJust got off the phone with Joe Nieuwendyk who resigned from his post with the Panthers on Wednesday.

Joe says he isn't upset with the organization as has been written elsewhere (OK, TSN's Bob McKenzie broke this story today).

Before talking to Joe, I was told he wasn't real happy with the direction of the team. And that has nothing to do with Jacques. Instead, it seems Joe's problems stem from upper management and ownership. But again, I never got any of that from Joe, that was all from other people who work for/around the team.

Today, Joe was nothing  but complimentary about the Panthers. Here are some of the things Joe told me today. As always, more tomorrow in The Herald...

"It's true I have decided not to return next season. I’m going to step back and decide what me and the wife are going to do. There are some personal reasons involved. I'm not going to comment about a blog that says I’m not happy with Jacques. These guys gave me an opportunity to stay in hockey. I'll always appreciate that.

"No one is happy when you don’t make the playoffs. There shouldn’t be one person happy with this.

"There’s good people in this organization, good young talent. I firmly believe this organization can be extremely successful. I really believe that. I believed it last year or I wouldn't have come on board.''

Jacques out as Coach

JmSpoke to Alan Cohen after Thursday night's season ticket holder meeting and he confirmed to me that A) the Panthers are going to split their coaching and general manager duties, and B) Jacques Martin will not return as coach.

You can get all the details I could put together on deadline here New Coach in 2008-09 and get David J. Neal's take (he covered the team from Day 1 in 1993 until handing things over to me in 2004) right here David J. Likes IndyCars...

My take on things are this: Mr. Cohen told me the split was fairly amicable, both he and JM sitting down and deciding one man shouldn't do both jobs. I'm not so sure it went down like that, JM being a coach first and foremost. I wouldn't be surprised if JM was out looking for a coaching job right now.

But, I hope he stays. He still has the keys to the organization, and being the head of a professional hockey team ain't too bad a gig. Sure JM's assistants -- Guy, Pierre and Mike, find a better group of guys, I dare you -- hope he sticks around too.

The Panthers aren't far off. Problem is, people are tired of hearing that. There is plenty of work still to be done, and JM has his fingerprints all over what's here. There are a lot of people who would stand in line to interview for the GM job if JM turns it down, and for good reason. The franchise is headed in the right direction (although that light at the end of the tunnel hasn't changed much, being that the view comes from the Panthers being on a treadmill) and someone is going to soak in the glory when the Panthers finally break through.

Might as well be Jacques drinking it all in with a front row seat.

-- That said, who do you think the Panthers should go after. I threw out some names because that's what you have to do in situations like this, and the thought is the Panthers do a thorough search.

So, here are your options. Who do you WANT as the next coach of the Panthers, and who do you think the Panthers WILL hire? Comments can be left below.

And thanks for visiting as always...

April 10, 2008

Jacques out as Coach

Alan Cohen told me tonight that Jacques Martin will not be returning as coach next season.

Sounds like a pretty amicable parting of the ways, Mr. Cohen telling me they both agreed the two jobs - coach and GM - need to be separate although I'm not buying that completely.

Jacques is a coach first and foremost, but I hope he sticks around and does the management thing fulltime. I'm sure his band of coaches - Guy, Pierre and Mike, good guys all - do too.

I was also told that JM was going to pick the next coach. JM is in Rochester right now, and didn't return my calls. But that's OK.

You can read the whole thing in Friday's Miami Herald - still a quarter in Broward! David J. Neal also tunes in with his opinion, so check that out too.

- Also, this begs for some interaction. Who do you A) WANT to see as Florida's new coach, and B) who WILL be...

As always, leave comments below. And thanks for playing....

April 09, 2008

Hello, Friend


Garyroberts Gary Roberts with the first goal of the 2008 Stanley Cup playoffs and Bryan Murray isn't pleased. Penguins 1-0 over the Sens....

For Argument's Sake

HomerandpeterAbout to go wreck another one of South Florida's finest golf courses this afternoon, but before I go, figured predictions were in order.

For those who didn't see today's Miami Herald, I did a preview of the opening round complete with my picks of the teams I think are going to make it to the semifinals of their respective conferences. Didn't go farther than that, but if folks are interested, we could do a Stanley Cup bracket here but only if folks send me their first-round predictions by the tip of tonight's Pittsburgh-Ottawa game. Then we can go from there using first round picks (if we do anything at all).

So, here are my first-round picks:

East: Montreal over Boston in 5; Pittsburgh over Ottawa in 6; Washington over Philly in 7; Rangers over Devils in 6.

West: Wings over Preds in 6; Sharks over Keenans in 5; Avs over Wild in 6; Ducks over Dallas in 6.

Feel free to post your picks, thoughts, golf tips below.

Enjoy the games...

-- Don't forget, Everblades kick off their postseason tonight in Estero against Columbia, S.C.

April 08, 2008

That Time of Year

SwampeeIf it's playoff time in the ECHL, it must mean the Florida Everblades are gearing up for another run.

The Everblades, you see, are the anti-Panthers. They've been in the league 10 years, and Wednesday, they make their 10th playoff appearence. That's pretty good.

If you haven't been, it's a fun time. Estero, where the Blades play, is a quick drive for many in western Broward or Dade counties, with it taking about 90 minutes or so to drive from the Sunrise arena.

Tickets are cheap, the play is surprisingly good, and the team puts on a good show. The Blades open Wednesday against Columbia, S.C., with game two on Friday night. Tell 'em On Frozen Pond sent you and they might say 'Thanks.'

April 07, 2008

Rock, Chalk, JAYHAWK!



Have watched a lot of basketball in my years, and doubt I've seen a game as exciting and engaging as last night's title bout in some time.

What a game, right? Give a lot of credit to Memphis for coming out of halftime and taking control of that game, but Kansas' comeback in the final minutes was just unbelievable. I could hardly stand to watch it.

Good to see the Kansas faithful get their championship. Been a long time since Danny Manning carried them to the title in 1988. I should know, was rooting for them then too.

What do you think is the most exciting championship game you've ever watched? Is it the 1984 Orange Bowl, where Nebraska went for two at the end only to run into Kenny Calhoun and the Canes? Last night? The Gints big Super Bowl win over the Pats? I do think last night's game has to fit in there somewhere.

One shining moment indeed.

Hockey: For Fun and Profit

RatpackSitting here watching the Cubs/Pirates marathon from the Steel City, and was wondering what Vegas thought about the upcoming playoffs.

And just like that, I got an email from the good folks at Bodog.com. Now, I don't know what a gambling website has to do with hockey, but odds are some of you do. So, for those of you who like to spice up your viewing of hockey, this may be for you.

It's somewhat interesting, anyway.

Odds to win the 2007-08 Stanley Cup:

Detroit Red Wings                      3/1; San Jose Sharks                      9/2
Pittsburgh Penguins                   13/2; Anaheim Ducks                         7/1
\Montreal Canadiens                   7/1; New York Rangers                    12/1
New Jersey Devils                      14/1; Washington Capitals                 16/1
Ottawa Senators                       16/1; Dallas Stars                             18/1
Minnesota Wild                         20/1; Calgary Flames                         22/1
Colorado Avalanche                   22/1; Boston Bruins                            30/1
Philadelphia Flyers                    35/1;  Nashville Predators                   40/1

Odds to win the 2007-08 Western Conference Championship:
Detroit Red Wings                      1/1; San Jose Sharks                      3/1
Anaheim Ducks                         9/2;  Dallas Stars                             12/1
Minnesota Wild                         14/1;  Calgary Flames                         16/1
Colorado Avalanche                   16/1; Nashville Predators                   30/1

Odds to win the 2007-08 Eastern Conference Championship:
Pittsburgh Penguins                   2/1;  Montreal Canadiens                   5/2       
New York Rangers                    6/1;     New Jersey Devils                      13/2      
Washington Capitals                 13/2;  Ottawa Senators                       8/1       
Philadelphia Flyers                    18/1;   Boston Bruins                            20/1      

Series Odds

NHL Series Price – Montreal Canadiens vs. Boston Bruins
Montreal Canadiens       -400; Boston Bruins                +300
NHL Series Price – Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Ottawa Senators
Pittsburgh Penguins       -320; Ottawa Senators            +240
NHL Series Price – Washington Capitals vs. Philadelphia Flyers
Washington Capitals      -150; Philadelphia Flyers         +120
NHL Series Price – New Jersey Devils vs. New York Rangers
New Jersey Devils          -105; New York Rangers         -125

NHL Series Price – Detroit Red Wings vs. Nashville Predators
Detroit Red Wings          -550; Nashville Predators        +375
NHL Series Price – San Jose Sharks vs. Calgary Flames
San Jose Sharks           -360; Calgary Flames             +280
NHL Series Price – Minnesota Wild vs. Colorado Avalanche
Minnesota Wild             -140; Colorado Avalanche        +110
NHL Series Price – Anaheim Ducks vs. Dallas Stars
Anaheim Ducks             -250
; Dallas Stars                 +195

A Sunshine State Free Postseason

Sunhockey Here is the schedule with television networks and such. Clip and paste!


SERIES A                       TIME (ET)        #1 Montreal vs. #8 Boston                       Network       
Thursday, April 10, 2008              7 p.m.               Boston at Montreal                       CBC, RDS
Saturday, April 12, 2008               7 p.m.                Boston at Montreal                       CBC, RDS, VERSUS
Sunday, April 13, 2008                7 p.m.               Montreal at Boston                     CBC, RDS
Tuesday, April 15, 2008               7 p.m.               Montreal at Boston                       CBC, RDS
Thursday, April 17, 2008             7 p.m.                Boston at Montreal                        CBC, RDS
Saturday, April 19, 2008                TBD               Montreal at Boston                     CBC, RDS
Monday, April 21, 2008                TBD               Boston at Montreal                     CBC, RDS

SERIES B                       TIME (ET)        #2 Pittsburgh vs. #7 Ottawa                     Network       
Wednesday, April 9, 2008          7 p.m.               Ottawa at Pittsburgh                       VERSUS, CBC, RDS
Friday, April 11, 2008                7 p.m.               Ottawa at Pittsburgh                     CBC, RDS
Monday, April 14, 2008             7 p.m.                Pittsburgh at Ottawa                        CBC, RDS
Wednesday, April 16, 2008        7 p.m.               Pittsburgh at Ottawa                       CBC, RDS
Saturday, April 19, 2008              TBD               Ottawa at Pittsburgh                       VERSUS, CBC, RDS
Sunday, April 20, 2008                TBD               Pittsburgh at Ottawa                     CBC, RDS
Tuesday, April 22, 2008               TBD              Ottawa at Pittsburgh                       CBC, RDS
SERIES C                       TIME (ET)        #3 Washington vs. #6 Philadelphia        Network                
Friday, April 11, 2008                7 p.m.               Philadelphia at Washington                VERSUS, TSN
Sunday, April 13, 2008               2 p.m.               Philadelphia at Washington                NBC, TSN
Tuesday, April 15, 2008             7 p.m.              Washington at Philadelphia                VERSUS, TSN
Thursday, April 17, 2008           7 p.m.              Washington at Philadelphia                VERSUS, TSN
Saturday, April 19, 2008            1 p.m.                Philadelphia at Washington               NBC, TSN
Monday, April 21, 2008               TBD              Washington at Philadelphia                VERSUS, TSN
Tuesday, April 22, 2008               TBD               Philadelphia at Washington                TSN

SERIES D                       TIME (ET)        #4 New Jersey vs. #5 NY Rangers        Network                
Wednesday, April 9, 2008           7 p.m.                NY Rangers at New Jersey                        TSN
Friday, April, 11, 2008                7 p.m.               NY Rangers at New Jersey                       TSN
Sunday, April 13, 2008                7 p.m.               New Jersey at NY Rangers                     VERSUS, TSN
Wednesday, April 16, 2008         7 p.m.               New Jersey at NY Rangers                       VERSUS, TSN
Friday, April, 18, 2008           7:30 p.m.                NY Rangers at New Jersey                        TSN
Sunday, April 20, 2008                 TBD                New Jersey at NY Rangers                        VERSUS, TSN
Tuesday, April 22, 2008                TBD               NY Rangers at New Jersey                       TSN


SERIES E                       TIME (ET)        #1 Detroit vs. #8 Nashville                     Network               
Thursday, April 10, 2008            7 p.m.                Nashville at Detroit                        VERSUS
Saturday, April 12, 2008             2 p.m.                Nashville at Detroit                        NBC
Monday, April 14, 2008                TBD               Detroit at Nashville                     VERSUS
Wednesday, April 16, 2008          TBD               Detroit at Nashville                       VERSUS (JIP)
Friday, April 18, 2008             7:30 p.m.             Nashville at Detroit                        VERSUS
Sunday, April 20, 2008                3 p.m.             Detroit at Nashville                       NBC
Tuesday, April 22, 2008                TBD               Nashville at Detroit

SERIES F                       TIME (ET)        #2 San Jose vs. #7 Calgary                     Network               
Wednesday, April 9, 2008           10 p.m.                Calgary at San Jose                        VERSUS, CBC
Thursday, April 10, 2008             10 p.m.              Calgary at San Jose                       CBC
Sunday, April 13, 2008                10 p.m.               San Jose at Calgary                     CBC, VERSUS
Tuesday, April 15, 2008               10 p.m.               San Jose at Calgary                       CBC
Thursday, April 17, 2008             10 p.m.               Calgary at San Jose                       VERSUS, CBC
Sunday, April 20, 2008                 TBD                San Jose at Calgary                        CBC, VERSUS
Tuesday, April 22, 2008                 TBD               Calgary at San Jose                       CBC

SERIES G                       TIME (ET)        #3 Minnesota vs. #6 Colorado               Network                
Wednesday, April 9, 2008             9 p.m.               Colorado at Minnesota                      
Friday April 11, 2008                 9 p.m.               Colorado at Minnesota                     VERSUS (JIP)
Monday, April 14, 2008                10 p.m.               Minnesota at Colorado                     VERSUS
Tuesday, April 15, 2008                10 p.m.               Minnesota at Colorado                     VERSUS
Thursday, April 17, 2008                9 p.m.               Colorado at Minnesota                       
Saturday, April 19, 2008                 TBD              Minnesota at Colorado                       VERSUS
Tuesday, April 22, 2008                 TBD               Colorado at Minnesota       
SERIES H                       TIME (ET)        #4 Anaheim vs. #5 Dallas                     Network               
Thursday, April 10, 2008               10 p.m.               Dallas at Anaheim                        VERSUS, TSN
Saturday, April 12, 2008                10 p.m.               Dallas at Anaheim                       VERSUS, TSN
Tuesday, April 15, 2008              8:30 p.m.               Anaheim at Dallas                       TSN
Thursday, April 17, 2008                 8 p.m.                Anaheim at Dallas                       TSN
Friday, April 18, 2008                 10:30 p.m.         Dallas at Anaheim                       VERSUS, TSN
Sunday, April 20, 2008                 TBD                Anaheim at Dallas                       TSN
Tuesday, April 22, 2008                TBD                Dallas at Anaheim                       TSN