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Hockey Night with the Panthers ... Don Cherry Digging Stephen Weiss and the Cats ... Will South Florida Get 'Cat Scratch Fever' Again?

DoncherryVANCOUVER -- The Panthers were part of the popular Coach's Corner segment during the first intermission of Hockey Night in Canada tonight, Don Cherry offering praise for the Panthers, Stephen Weiss and Pete DeBoer.

He also called players from the Lightning and Senators "thugs who would steal your hubcaps'' because they dared to show up to the rink on a freezing winter night wearing ski caps and not bothering to put on a tie. According to him, the Capitals are in first place because they are dressed sharp and "setting a good example for the kids.''

Well, you get what you get when you listen to Cherry. Dude's popular, but...

Anyway, the Panthers are a huge story up in Canada these days, what with all the wins, the success under DeBoer and, of course, Jay Bouwmeester. The small crowds in Sunrise also got a mention in the lead of today's Calgary Herald, the barb (I laughed) thrown south before the score was mentioned. BankAtlantic Centre...

It's safe to assume the Panthers are a bigger deal here than they are at home. I haven't watched the local Publix news in South Florida in a few days (although I did see a Publix commercial on Atlanta's Peachtree TV that made me a little homesick) but I'll bet Florida's been lucky to get even a single highlight up on the 11 o'clock news what with the team being out of town and the games still going on when the sports segment goes on.

I've also done four radio interviews talking about the team to various Canadian stations, but the only South Florida interview I had planned was with Goldie. And I think I missed his call when I was flying.

One person from the Panthers told me "the Dolphins are killing us.''

Sure, the Dolphins hogging all the spotlight during this surprisingly successful season is taking some steam away from the local hockey team's nice run. But the Dolphins will always overshadow the Panthers. They did last year and they were 1-15.

Truth is, having so many games not being televised is what's really killing the Panthers at home right now.

FSN will tell you ratings for hockey are very low at this time of year and the cost of televising this Canadian roadie wasn't worth the effort ratings-wise (the final three games of this trip started at 9 p.m. Miami time or later). FSN is going to make up for it, a good 95 percent of the games after New Year's being on.

Fiorentino For those wondering, FSN/Sun is televising 71 Miami Heat games this year, six more than the Panthers. Considering the ratings the Heat bring in compared to the Panthers, I'm surprised there's not more of a disparity. At least these games out here are on Center Ice, although if you don't spring for that package, finding a place in South Florida that does can be daunting.

FSN is going to be back on the Panthers bandwagon. They just hope the team is still winning when they do.

Hnnic If not, the Panthers seem to have quite a few people interested in their antics up here in Canada.

I haven't even heard one relocation joke this trip.

Of course, we haven't visted Hamilton. I better wear a tie tomorrow. Don't want people thinking I'm there to steal their hubcaps.

-- Parting thought at the end of the second intermission from HNIC's Hot Stove: Pierre LeBrun doesn't break any news, says the Panthers are going to put the hard sell on Jay Bouwmeester to try and sign; if he doesn't, he'll be moved by the trading deadline.

With the guys off camera, someone muttered "no one is happy in Florida.'' My money is on Al Strachan.

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I read that jab from Vicki Hall in the paper this morning on my flight out of Calgary. I guess if your team loses to an injury-plagued squad with a significant quotient of AHLers, it's time to attack their fan base rather than just give them credit for coming in and earning two points from a team with a tremendous home-ice advantage ...

Nobody like it in Florida? Outside of Bouwmeester, who ever said they wanted out? I guess it makes them feel good sitting in 10 feet of snow and minus 20, saying no one is happy in Florida.

Ballard hates it here. Thats why he signed for 6 years.

Wasn't Horton rumored to be unhappy here a couple months before signing his 6-year deal?

Weiss?

Allen?

Olesz?

Love the Canadian media, and cannot wait to sweep the Canada teams.

Don't forget Booth also said he wants to be here too...so much for that nobody theory.

It WAS Strachan who said that, and my immediate comment was - I see why is real name is DICK!!!

"The Dolphins are killing us?" A comment like that one points to what has really killed the Panthers over the years - and that is senior management. I'd be willing to bet that the person who said it among that group of front office people who were grumbling about DeBoer starting the lower priced goalie over the guy in whom they invested $5 million.

Perhaps that person ought to take a deeper look at how they've gone about marketing the team this season. Instead of focusing on the team, it's players and it's up and coming coach, they chose to focus on a single fan (VanMurph), featuring him on TV and other ads. Can anyone tell me the last time a potential fan tuned into a game or bought a ticket because of the magnetic draw of "super fan"?

Perhaps on further reflection the Dolphins are killing the Panthers. At least they are effectively marketing their team, it's players and up and coming coach, drawing fans to jump on the bandwagon.

Add Luongo, Jokinen, Van Ryn, Dvorek, Peltonin, Zednik, McLean, Stillman, McCabe(waved his no trade to come to Fla)
Anyone got someone who said he didnt want to be in Florida?
Just shows you when Strachan says NO one wants to play in Florida how stupid that is. In fact EVERYONE wants to play in Florida. As a journalist he should be shot.


I agree that the media is no support for us here on the lower end of the peninsula. Channel 7 news bragged yesterday about tonights matchup facing former Panther, "ROBERT" Luongo! Then I'm at the mall to buy a new 2009 Panther calendar to see that 12/09 features Olli!!! C'mon, did this go in to print last May????????? No respect!

I have CenterIce and the Panthers have worked real hard. Saw Cherry's comments on HNC and he missed the story, yes nice words for Weiss but he should have noted that the three game winning goals came with several key players out of the line-up and that Weiss has stepped up when someone needed too. Even though he tipped a shot into his own net it was part of an agressive backcheck. As a Canadian living a long time in South Florida I find the Canadian media somewhat ignorant to hockey outside their border and sometimes in it. Last week Al Strachan said Flames wanted to trade Cammalleri, which makes no sense since they have a hard time scoring goals and he scores goals. Al Strachan just makes things up the Hot Stove went downhill when they added him. Al Strachan is no John Davidson. The only reason Bormeester didn't sign a longer contract is he is tired of missing the playoffs. He has said he wanted to wait and see as the year developed. Fair enough if the season goes down the tubes he wants to move on BUT if the season improves and the team starts winning he could very well sign a long term contract. The players are starting to jell. The coach has a system. The comment "no one is happy in Florida," is true when they are losing. That doesn't mean every player wants to leave, can Strachan name a Panthers player that wants to leave? Did Ballard, Horton, Olesz sign long term contacts because they don't like playing in Florida? Did McCabe waive his no movement clause to Florida because he wants to leave. Did Stillman sign with Florida because he wants to leave. Wade Belak didn't want to leave. The fact is Al Strachan doesn't have a clue what he is talking about. I listen to him on HNC and he makes less sense than Sean Avery.

Great to see the CATS rollin' along...Hard work, great goaltending, timely scoring all have led to building TEAM CONFIDENCE....They believe in both goalies, so no need to create something, just let them ride the wave and hopefully it continues as others come back off the injured list....
I felt from the beginning of the year that if they could play .500 hockey through the holidays, they would be in a good position for the second half of the season...They've taken an unusual way of getting there, but it's nice to see there is hope here....Now that being said, I would ride the WAVE here as well, but also look at ways of improving your team along the way...Secondary scoring is finally showing up, so I guess the CPR thing has helped rejuvenate the whole team. I believe it can continue, and it bodes well for a "Horton Farewell Party"......Make it happen JM.
It would be interesting to get PDB's honest opinion on Horton. He coached him in the minors, and knows what he is capable of, but he's probably always been a slacker...Too bad--WASTED talent...Anyhow, nice to see Stillman back, and hope he can help keep these Cats collecting points...

The Canadian media needs to change... I am a aspiring journalist in Calgary,and wish I had the chance to erase the negative stigma certain writers here put on the "lesser" hockey markets. It makes me sick not only as a Panthers fan,but A HOCKEY FAN!

Dear sir,

Please to tell where such a blazer may be acquired. Am considering reupholstering divan.

Thanks for you,

Sarah

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