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50 posts from March 2009

March 31, 2009

Hello, Senator: Ottawa Senators @ Florida Panthers ... Nothing New to See Here ... Scoreboard Watch, Standings

Senssign2 Hello hockey fans and thanks for being patient. I haven't posted here today because I was in a rush to leave the billboard so I could watch some exciting Grapefruit League baseball over at Fort Lauderdale Stadium.

Good times, although I left early.

Orioles Had to beat the traffic out of there, you know.

Was at the skate this morning, and if you weren't, well, you didn't miss anything.

Save for Richard Zednik being back in the lineup after missing Saturday with some sort of illness, everything remains the same.

Big game tonight against the Senators, a team that would love to play spoiler and hurt Florida's playoff chances. This is another must-win for the Panthers, who remain one point out of eighth and four out of seventh. It's still close, but the Panthers have to close the deal.

-- Monday's Game (and how they affected the Panthers): The Rangers beating the Devils was not good for the Panthers. They did not like that one bit. Now, watching Sean Avery get tossed around like a rag doll? I'm sure a lot of people liked seeing that.

-- Tuesday's Games (and who the Panthers would be rooting for if they weren't so busy with their fantasy baseball draft)

Blackhawks @ Canadiens, 7 (Versus): Panthers really need a Chicago win. Go Cubs.

-- The Standings (presented by Nacho Mamas in Canton, Maryland; courtesy of ESPN.com)

Eastern Conference
   GP W L OTL PTS GF GA PP% PK% HOME AWAY L10
y-Boston 75 48 17 10 106 254 179 23.1 82.3 25-6-6 23-11-4 6-3-1
x-Washington 76 46 23 7 99 245 222 24.8 80.1 27-9-2 19-14-5 6-2-2
x-New Jersey 76 47 25 4 98 228 189 19.6 79.9 26-11-1 21-14-3 4-5-1
Philadelphia 75 41 24 10 92 242 217 21.8 82.8 22-12-4 19-12-6 5-5-0
Carolina 77 42 28 7 91 220 214 17.8 79.4 23-13-1 19-15-6 7-1-2
Pittsburgh 76 41 27 8 90 239 225 16.6 81.9 23-13-3 18-14-5 7-1-2
NY Rangers 77 40 28 9 89 199 208 14.2 88.0 24-11-4 16-17-5 6-3-1
Montreal 75 38 27 10 86 226 229 17.9 81.8 23-8-7 15-19-3 4-3-3
 Florida 76 37 28 11 85 213 216 16.1 82.5 19-11-7 18-17-4 3-4-3
 Buffalo 75 37 30 8 82 226 217 21.3 82.6 22-13-3 15-17-5 4-5-1
 Ottawa 75 33 32 10 76 200 215 19.7 81.3 20-12-6 13-20-4 7-3-0
 Toronto 76 31 32 13 75 230 271 19.9 75.3 14-14-9 17-18-4 5-5-0
 e-Atlanta 76 32 38 6 70 237 262 20.2 75.2 16-19-2 16-19-4 7-3-0
 e-Tampa Bay 76 24 35 17 65 196 252 18.4 78.9 12-16-11 12-19-6 3-3-4
 e-NY Islanders 75 25 41 9 59 189 244 16.9 82.3 16-15-6 9-26-3 4-4-2
Western Conference
   GP W L OTL PTS GF GA PP% PK% HOME AWAY L10
y-San Jose 76 50 15 11 111 245 188 24.1 83.7 31-3-4 19-12-7 7-2-1
x-Detroit 76 49 18 9 107 279 225 25.5 77.6 26-7-4 23-11-5 6-3-1
Calgary 76 43 27 6 92 242 232 18.4 83.5 25-10-4 18-17-2 4-6-0
Chicago 74 40 23 11 91 242 202 20.4 80.8 21-9-7 19-14-4 4-4-2
Vancouver 75 41 25 9 91 229 203 18.8 80.7 22-11-4 19-14-5 7-2-1
Columbus 76 39 29 8 86 212 211 12.9 82.1 24-12-2 15-17-6 6-2-2
Nashville 76 38 30 8 84 196 209 15.5 83.5 23-12-4 15-18-4 5-1-4
St. Louis 76 37 30 9 83 214 219 20.4 83.0 22-13-5 15-17-4 7-2-1
 Anaheim 76 38 32 6 82 219 217 21.8 80.3 19-17-3 19-15-3 7-3-0
 Edmonton 76 36 31 9 81 218 231 16.9 77.8 16-14-6 20-17-3 4-4-2
 Minnesota 76 36 32 8 80 195 187 19.6 87.5 20-11-6 16-21-2 4-4-2
 Dallas 76 33 33 10 76 214 240 14.8 78.6 19-15-5 14-18-5 2-6-2
 Los Angeles 75 31 33 11 73 191 219 19.4 83.0 16-14-8 15-19-3 3-5-2
 Phoenix 76 32 37 7 71 192 235 14.5 76.9 21-14-3 11-23-4 4-4-2
 e-Colorado 76 31 43 2 64 193 247 16.4 78.7 18-19-0 13-24-2 2-7-1

March 30, 2009

Anderson in Until a Loss ... Olesz Back on Fourth

Having lunch with Goldie in Weston where the pizza is fine. He went to practice, I didn't. Here's what we got: Pete DeBoer says Craig Anderson is the goalie until he loses. ''I don't care if we win 10-9,'' he joked. DeBo says the ''tide has turned'' and he's not talking about Alabama. Florida is getting goaltending and the power play is not only getting good chances but goals as well. Lineups basically stay the same as how game ended, with Michael Frolik up on top line with David Booth and Stephen Weiss; Rostislav Olesz back down to the fourth line.

March 28, 2009

Saturday Night LIVE!: Florida Panthers 6 @ Dallas Stars 3 (FINAL) ... Richard Zednik OUT; Anthony Stewart IN

Zednik3 DALLAS -- Quick note from atop the Dallas Airlines Arena; Was just informed that Richard Zednik is ill and out for tonight. He looked OK at practice, but I'm no doctor.

Anthony Stewart is back in the lineup.

Will update lines when they become available.

CPR Line getting the start tonight with Skrastins and Bouwmeester.

Frolik-Horton-Stillman

Olesz-Weiss-Booth

McLean-Kreps-Stewart

-- OK, end of one here in Dallas. Panthers didn't look all that crisp nor all that interested. Do they want to make the playoffs? I can't tell.

Florida gets its second shot of the night with 8:56 left in the period and it's courtesy of Nathan Horton. Craig Anderson has been forced to make some big saves, and the one he missed, well, I don't see anyone stopping that shot.

Watch SportsCenter tonight and you'll see the Mike Ribeiro goal in which he shoots a backhander between his legs top shelf to make it 1-0.

And that's where we stand.

Stats: Dallas shots 16-4; Dallas PP 0-1; FLA PP 0-0; Cool retro Minnesota North Stars cap in concourse: $9.99.

--Montreal 3-2 over Buffalo end of the second...

Midnightrun PANTHERS SCORE...CORY STILLMAN FOLLOWS A STEPHEN WEISS SHOT AND IT'S ON THE POWER PLAY...SERRANO'S GOT THE DISKS! SERRANO'S GOT THE DISKS!...IT'S 1-1...

AND JUST LIKE THAT THE STARS MAKE IT 2-1...MATT NISKANEN WITH THE GOAL FROM RIBEIRO...

-- STEPHEN WEISS TIES IT WITH A NICE DRIVE-AND-SHOOT WITH 59.5 SECONDS LEFT IN THE SECOND...I'M NOT GOING TO SIT HERE AND LET YOU BAD MOUTH THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! GENTLEMEN! PANTHERS-DALLAS TIED 2-2 LATE IN Animalhouse THE SECOND...

-- AND NATHAN HORTON BANGS IN A LOOSE PUCK AND THE PANTHERS TAKE THE LEAD. YOU MESSED UP FLOUNDER; YOU TRUSTED US! PANTHERS GO INTO THE THIRD LEADING 3-2. HORTON'S GOAL COMES WITH 6.2 SECONDS LEFT

-- Key stats: Panthers outshoot Stars 15-11 in the third, get a lot of quality chances and looks. PP: Florida goes 1-for-2 and look much, much better. Diet Dr. Pepper is flowing smoothly.

KAMIL KREPS DRIVES AND IN AND SCORES...HOW'S IT FEEL TO BE AN INDEPENDENT SCHOENSTEIN? HOW'S IT FEEL TO BE A [real jerk] NIEDERMAYER? WHAT DID HE SAY? PANTHERS LEAD 4-2 JUST 58 SECONDS INTO THE THIRD...

-- On deadline, so lets keep this quick. Gregory Campbell gets charged by Steve Ott, Bryan McCabe comes to defense; Ott gets 5 minutes, McCabe 2. Dallas scores on the 4-on-4, but Jay Bouwmeester makes it 5-3 on the power play.

Montreal loses in shootout, so if Panthers hold on, they are a point out of eighth.

Drive careful everyone...

Gary Bettman: One is OK, One is Not. Must be the Money! ... ShamWhoa!

Bettman DALLAS -- I missed NHL commissioner Gary Bettman's weekly radio show on Sirius XM Radio on Thursday because I was stuck traveling to Philadelphia.

Luckily, they replayed it as I was driving to the arena Saturday afternoon.

One thing I found interesting was a caller who said he doesn't like letting his young children watch games on Versus because the network runs certain ads that talk about making that certain part of the male anatomy, well, you get the picture.

Versus apparently runs them all the time during their Monday and Tuesday night games (I must admit, I don't get a chance to watch the Versus games all that much).

Bettman, who I give major props to for having this radio show once a week to speak to the fans, said there wasn't anything he could do but relay to Versus that people have complained about the male enhancement ads.

Then, he basically told the guy to suck it up. I agree with Bettman's assertion that those ads are all over the place, including the infomercial one on Fox Sports Net in Florida.

The best part was the caller's comment: "I have to explain what that means to my 10-year-old.''

Elisha2 It was very similar to a comment the commish made regarding Sean Avery a few months ago. When Avery, playing for the Stars, made a comment about his ex-girlfriend's propensity to date other hockey players and called it ''sloppy seconds,'' Bettman and the league completely overreacted.

And here's where Bettman flipflops on the whole 'what is appropriate, what isn't' deal.

"To be perfectly honest,'' Bettman said then, ''I wouldn't want to have to explain to my 12-year-old daughter what he said.''

Avery was suspended six games, sent to anger management (I didn't see anything angry in his comments) and banished from the Stars. He was sent to the Rangers' minor league affiliate in Hartford. He now plays for the Rangers and all is well with the world.

I think the NHL should step in and tell Versus that running second-rate sexual enhancement ads during their prime game time shouldn't happen. Same goes for any regional network broadcasting NHL games. Is Versus so desperate for ad cash that they couldn't tell these folks to save it for later in the night? Well, probably. But still.

And Bettman's claim that there is ''freedom of speech'' and advertising legitimate products obviously hasn't seen this commercial. I don't think you can walk into Publix and pick some of this stuff up off the shelf.

Commericalgirl I'm no prude, but I wouldn't want to be watching a game with my niece in the middle of family viewing time and have to explain to her what the pretty attractive pitchwoman with the come-hither look is talking about (yeah, I've seen the spot more than once).

This is just another example of the NHL turning a blind eye to something they probably ought to deal with but won't because money is involved.

I still can't believe the league allows one of its players (Mats Sundin) to endorse an online poker site only because there is no gambling involved. That, if you click here, is obviously not the case. Thanks to Puck Daddy for originally linking to that story.

Shamwow I also think if the NHL is going to allow Only On TV commercials and infomercials during its games, they should only allow those products being hawked by the ShamWow guy.

He's a pretty straight shooter. Nothing offensive there.

Move Dallas to the Southeast. Now.

Starsicegirls DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars are a pretty good hockey franchise, I believe we can all agree on that.

The Stars won the Stanley Cup in 1999 and have really grown the game in Texas to the point where they are a model franchise for the NHL's growth spurt into the Sun Belt.

They have crummy travel being in the Western Conference.

I say move them to the Eastern Conference, and put them in the Southeast with the Panthers. Obviously, I am being selfish here. I love coming to Dallas. I love watching games in Dallas. The arena is top notch, the city is terrific and the organization treats the media pretty well. Prime parking, a good media meal and, this is the topper, Diet Dr. Pepper in the work room. The NHL can feel free to take Atlanta or Washington out of the division and find another place for them. Nothing against either place, but I'd like to come back to Dallas more than once ever few years.

Let's make this happen.

-- And the in-house entertainment here is pretty good. Like a few other places, they have a marching band up in the rafters jamming away. Gives a cool vibe for a Saturday night game. Feel like I'm back at Lockhart Stadium or Traz Powell about to watch Dillard and Northwestern instead of a hockey game.

Memo to the Panthers: Broward County is chock full of terrific high school bands who would love to play at your games on occasion. Let's make this happen too.



Texas-Sized Saturday: Florida Panthers @ Dallas Stars ... Craig Anderson IN

Stars DALLAS -- Panthers got a big one on tap tonight as they made a rare visit to the Metroplex.

Went driving around today, and honestly, I have never seen so many pickup trucks/SUVs in my life.

Everyone here either drives a Ford F150, a Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra or a Expedition/Escalade/Tahoe.

Felt a little small tooling around in my Saturn Aura. But it has XM Radio, so whatever.

And that Texas state flag is in front of every single building here. Lots of pride here in the Nutmeg State.

-- Pete DeBoer says everything staying the same tonight, with Craig Anderson getting a second straight start. ''It's all about wins,'' DeBo says.

-- Panthers go into tonight trailing Montreal Expos by two points. Darn Andre Dawson.

-- Friday's Games (and how they affected the Panthers): Buffalo pulls back to within three points of Panthers with a win over Toronto. Leafs trailed 4-0 but made it a game, only to fall short.

-- Saturday's Games (and who the Panthers would be rooting for if they weren't so busy taking a tour of the Mavericks plush locker room with Mark Cuban)

Pens 4, Rangers 3: Pittsburgh gets a late goal and wins in regulation. Good news for the Panthers. Rangers still within sight and a brutal schedule upcoming.

Sabres @ Canadiens, 7: Hockey Night in Canada brings a big game for the Panthers. Guess you could call it huge. Florida would like to see Sabres win third straight, and do so in regulation please.

Panthers @ Stars, 8: Panthers hope Cowboys star Terrell Owens shows up to watch tonight's game. What's that you say?

-- The Standings (brought to you by Southfork Ranch and courtesy of TSN.ca/nhl; includes Saturday's early game)

Eastern

RankTeamGPWLOTPTSGFGAHomeAwayLast 10Streak
1y-Boston7346171010224317125-6-621-11-44-5-1Won 1
2x-Washington76462379924522227-9-219-14-56-2-2Won 1
3x-New Jersey74472349822718426-10-121-13-35-4-1Lost 3
4Philadelphia734023109023521022-11-418-12-66-4-0Lost 1
5Pittsburgh76412789023922523-13-318-14-57-1-2Won 2
6Carolina76412878921821323-13-118-15-67-1-2Won 5
7NY Rangers76392898719620823-11-416-17-55-4-1Lost 2
8Montreal74382798522322523-8-615-19-34-4-2Won 2
 
9Florida753628118320721319-11-717-17-43-4-3Won 1
10Buffalo74363088022221422-13-314-17-54-5-1Won 2
11Toronto753131137522526414-13-917-18-45-5-0Lost 1
12Ottawa733231107419420920-12-612-19-48-2-0Lost 1
13Atlanta75313866823125915-19-216-19-47-3-0Won 1
14Tampa Bay752434176519624912-15-1112-19-63-3-4Lost 2
15NY Islanders74254185818624016-15-59-26-35-4-1Won 1
 

Western

RankTeamGPWLOTPTSGFGAHomeAwayLast 10Streak
1y-San Jose7448151110724018530-3-418-12-76-3-1Lost 2
2x-Detroit754917910727622126-6-423-11-56-3-1Lost 1
3Calgary74422669023822824-9-418-17-23-7-0Lost 2
4Chicago734022119124219821-8-719-14-44-4-2Won 3
5Vancouver74402598922520322-11-418-14-56-3-1Won 1
6Columbus74392878520720224-11-215-17-57-2-1Won 1
7Edmonton75363098121622816-13-620-17-34-3-3Won 1
8Nashville74363088018820322-12-414-18-44-2-4Won 1
 
9Anaheim75373268021521618-17-319-15-36-4-0Lost 1
10St. Louis74353097920521421-13-514-17-46-3-1Won 3
11Minnesota74353187819018220-11-615-20-24-3-3Won 1
12Dallas74333297520622819-14-514-18-43-6-1Lost 5
13Los Angeles743133107218821516-14-815-19-24-5-1Won 1
14Phoenix74313676918422720-14-311-22-43-5-2Won 1
15Colorado75314226419224318-19-013-23-23-6-1Lost 6


March 27, 2009

Going to the Big D ... Yes, I mean Dallas ... Panthers Win, thhhhe Panthers Win

Dallas PHILADELPHIA -- Kind of in a rush to get this one out because they are looking to board my flight to Dallas-Fort Worth and I need to get on it.

Nothing much going on with the Panthers right now, although a number of them are upset that stupid Memphis lost last night. How do you give up 100 points to Mizzou? Come on!

OK, back to hockey.

The Panthers are also on their way to Texas (the Empire State) and are said to be holding a short practice there today. Will have updates after that.

Good win for Florida last night against a very good Flyers team that played a good game. The Panthers just did a better job. Have to feel good for Brett McLean getting two goals in as many games. ''This year,'' he said, ''has been hard on me.''

Panthers still two points out of a playoff spot, but hey, that's better than four.

Thursday's Games (and how they affected the Panthers): Montreal almost gave it up to Tampa but came back to win in overtime. Rangers get point with shootout loss.

Friday's Games (and who the Panthers would be rooting for if they weren't busy watching Syracuse with Goldie): No games of interest. Except for Buffalo-Toronto (Florida likes the Leafs in that one P.S.). Enjoy the tournament those of you who didn't have Memphis in the finals...

March 26, 2009

It's Andy, Again: Craig Anderson takes on the Philadelphia Flyers ... A Special Philly 'On Phrozen Poll'

Andygriffith PHILADELPHIA - Finally here and finally spoke to Pete DeBoer.

Craig Anderson will be in net tonight in place of Tomas Vokoun.

The rest of the lineup stays the same.

DeBo doesn't seem to be in a real fine mood, and I don't think I can blame him for that. He says the team is in good spirits nonetheless, saying that they've played good enough in the past two or three games to get some points. Yet, only one on the ledger.

Here's what DeBo had to say during the Philly pregame scrum with the South Florida media (me, Steve X., Goldie and Billy):

Why Anderson?

We have to find a way to get a win. I think I was pretty clear last night on where I thought we were at in that position. We need more. Unfortunately we're at the time where we don't have the luxury of anyone bringing something less than an A-plus game.

Still ticked tonight?

We have to find a way to get wins. We've played well enough the past three games to get five or six points and we have one. It's not one guy's fault. Your best players have to be your best players. We wouldn't be in the spot we are now and battling for a spot if not for Tomas Vokoun. He played two months of great hockey. But now is the time where we need to keep our foot on the gas.That's where we're at.

Anderson must be pretty happy

This is a great opportunity for him. He's responded well in these situations and I hope he does again. It's a tough spot I'm putting him in. But like I said, we're down to seven or eight games. We can't worry about feelings or putting guys in tough spots. Right now this is where we're at.

Mood of the guys today?

Tough to say, but it should be good. We've played three good games. Good enough to win. But we didn't. There's an old saying that adversity reveals character and ours is getting tested right now. We have a lot in that room and I think you're going to see our best hockey down the stretch.

For Panthers, It's Not Sunny In Philadelphia ... Buffalo Breakfast ... Scoreboard Watch, Standings

Alwayssunny BUFFALO -- Greetings from the world famous Anchor Bar (airport edition) where Steve X and myself just chowed down on something they call a ''chicken wing omelet.''

It's eggs, cheese and strips of chicken wings all cooked together with just a touch of blue cheese dressing on the side.

Delicious.

Actually, I made that up. They don't offer a chicken wing omelet. I wish they did. I would have ordered it. Not so sure about Steve X. He kind of cringed when I brought up the concept.

-- Speaking of cringing, how 'bout your Florida Panthers?!?

These are bad times for the Sunrise Six, the Panthers fading down the stretch. Two wins in 10 games. Sure, they got a point here or there. But two wins in 10 games. Yes, the team is playing hard. Sure, they're giving it their all. But you have to win games. The Panthers aren't doing it. Three goals last night in the third period in less than three minutes. The Bills got some nice bounces, yep, but so did the Panthers. Brett McLean's deflection? The Michael Frolik ''goal?''

Florida got three goals against Mikael Tellqvist. To paraphrase something Joe Nieuwendyk used to say to me when he scored an easy goal: ''George, you could have scored three goals'' against Tellqvist.

Obama Nieuwendyk was in the press box with Steve and myself last night, and when the Sabres cut it to 3-2, you knew something bad was in the offing.

This team is playing with no confidence, and had one great scoring chance after another against Tellqvist. And they couldn't connect. Say what you want, but this has been going on all year. The Panthers can't finish. And now they can't close either.

I was looking forward to finally covering some playoff hockey, getting some bonus Marriott points and some air miles.

Key word: Was.

These guys are fried. They can still turn things around, still get up into eighth place and make the playoffs. But not playing like this. As Dennis Green once said, ''they are who we thought they were.'' It's November all over again. And that's not good.

Tynan -- Famed Irish tenor Ronan Tynan did another terrific (if a bit long) rendition of God Bless America before last night's game. And now he's on my plane.

Maybe I can get him to sing 'Danny Boy' for me.

-- Wednesday's Games (and how they affected the Panthers): Florida losing in Buffalo means the Bison are now three points back of the Cats and four back of Montreal. Big loss. Bad loss.

-- Thursday's Games (and who the Panthers would be rooting for if they weren't so busy blowing third period leads)

Rangers @ Thrashers, 7: Florida has to hope the Thrashers have something left in the tank, at least on this night. This is the last game the Rangers play in which you can pencil in a W during pregame warnups. A loss for NY could be really bad with their brutal upcoming schedule.

Panthers @ Flyers, 7: Um, yeah, the Panthers really need a win.

Lightning @ Canadiens, 7:30: Montreal gets another easy one. If Panthers lose (if?) and Habs win (which my money says they do) the deficit becomes four points.

-Paddys - The Standings (presented by Paddy's Pub, Genos King of Steaks and courtesy of tsn.ca/nhl)

Eastern

RankTeamGPWLOTPTSGFGAHomeAwayLast 10Streak
1y-Boston7346171010224317125-6-621-11-44-5-1Won 1
2x-New Jersey73472339722518126-10-121-13-26-4-0Lost 2
3x-Washington75452379724021926-9-219-14-55-3-2Lost 2
4Philadelphia724022109023320622-10-418-12-66-4-0Won 3
5Carolina76412878921821323-13-118-15-67-1-2Won 5
6Pittsburgh75402788823522222-13-318-14-57-1-2Won 1
7NY Rangers74392788618919923-11-416-16-47-3-0Won 1
8Montreal73372798322022322-8-615-19-33-5-2Won 1
 
9Florida743528118120321119-11-716-17-42-5-3Lost 3
10Buffalo73353087821721121-13-314-17-54-5-1Won 1
11Toronto743130137522225914-13-917-17-46-4-0Won 2
12Ottawa733231107419420920-12-612-19-48-2-0Lost 1
13Atlanta74303866622625514-19-216-19-47-3-0Lost 1
14Tampa Bay732433166419124112-15-1112-18-53-3-4Won 1
15NY Islanders73244185618424016-15-58-26-34-5-1Lost 3
 

Western

RankTeamGPWLOTPTSGFGAHomeAwayLast 10Streak
1y-San Jose7348141110723818230-3-418-11-76-3-1Lost 1
2x-Detroit744916910727621926-5-423-11-57-2-1Won 1
3Calgary73422569023822324-9-418-16-24-6-0Lost 1
4Chicago723922118923919620-8-719-14-43-5-2Won 2
5Vancouver72392498721919822-11-417-13-57-2-1Won 1
6Columbus73382878320220223-11-215-17-57-2-1Lost 1
7Anaheim74373168021221118-16-319-15-36-3-1Won 5
8Edmonton73352997920922216-13-619-16-34-3-3Lost 2
 
9Nashville73353087818520121-12-414-18-44-2-4Lost 3
10Minnesota74353187819018220-11-615-20-24-3-3Won 1
11St. Louis73343097720121220-13-514-17-46-3-1Won 2
12Dallas73333287420622719-14-414-18-43-6-1Lost 4
13Los Angeles733033107018721516-14-814-19-24-5-1Lost 3
14Phoenix73303676718122519-14-311-22-43-5-2Lost 1
15Colorado74314126419123918-18-013-23-23-6-1Lost 5

March 25, 2009

Bad News Buffalo ... Panthers Mantra: We played well ... Reality: Good, Not Good Enough ... Playoff Push? Setback More Like It

Not going to get into the whole thing about what happened tonight, anyone who watched or looked at the scoresheet can figure that out. This was a devastating loss for the Panthers, although the wings in the locker room smelled so good a few guys seemed to get over it real quick.

And I've never seen the scratched players escape a postgame locker room as fast as tonight's trio of guys did. And I sure don't blame them.

Speaking of blame, coach Pete DeBoer had plenty for goalie Tomas Vokoun, even though a couple of those goals were flukey. But the one that tied it sure wasn't.

Anyway, big game tomorrow in Philly. Will be interesting to see what happens.

Here's the raw version of my game story tonight. I know it takes a lot of time to get these things on line.

Enjoy.

Or not.

BY GEORGE RICHARDS
grichards@MiamiHerald.com  

BUFFALO -- It had been a good 10 minutes. Tomas Vokoun had already removed his equipment, showered and put on his dress clothes.

   Yet the Florida goalie still hadn't had enough time to fathom what just
transpired.

   The Panthers have had more than their share of third period meltdowns in their
history, but Wednesday's was one that could be come legendary. Buffalo, a team on
the cusp of being eliminated from the playoff race, gained new life by scoring
four goals in the third period to beat the Panthers 5-3 at HSBC Arena.

   Florida led 3-1 before the Sabres scored three goals within two-plus minutes.

   "We were in control of the game," said Vokoun, his eyes fixed on a nearby
wall. "This is a tough loss for us. I still don't realize what really
happened."

   The Panthers have eight games remaining and are two points out of the final
playoff spot, but this team looks nowhere ready for primetime nor for the glare
of the postseason.

   Instead of driving forward for a postseason berth, Florida is pushing back.
The Panthers have lost eight of their past 10. Buffalo team, which has lost six of eight, pulled
to within three of Florida and five of No. 8 Montreal.

   Both of Buffalo's wins during its spate of mediocrity came against Florida.
The Panthers lost three of four to the Sabres this season.

  "We shouldn't lose that game, not up 3-1," said Nathan Horton. "It's
definitely disappointing, but we're not out of it. We still have games. It's
definitely tough. No one is happy. We play [Thursday] but it doesn't get any
easier. ''

   Sabres coach Lindy Ruff afterward that Florida's character will be questioned.
That's a given, considering the team has coughed up third period leads and
eventually lost in four of its past eight games.

   "We need saves at critical points and we didn't get one tonight," coach Pete
DeBoer said. "That's the bottom line. It's not devastating because we played
well and we played hard. You can't let it be devastating, but your best players
have to be your best and your goalie has to close the door when you're in that
situation. He didn't. I'm the first person to point the finger at myself, but he
has to close the door."

   The Panthers were looking good in the third period, going in up 2-1.

   Florida extended its lead 3:25 into the period when Michael Frolik took a shot
and his stick broke. The soft shot hit goalie Mikael Tellqvist's stick and
bounced out; Florida's Brett McLean was in the middle of it and had a chance to
hit the puck but didn't. Instead the loose puck hit Buffalo's Henrik Tallinder's
glove and over the goalie.

   Frolik was credited with his 19th goal of the season, a goal that may have
been Florida's luckiest of the season.

   The Panthers ended up paying the karma police with interest for that one.

   Moments after Richard Zednik took a puck to the face off a hard slapshot from
teammate Cory Stillman (Zednik returned a few shifts after leaving the ice),
Jason Pominville deftly deflected a shot Tallinder released from just inside the
blue line.

   DeBoer didn't have a problem with that goal, as Pominville twisted his stick
and backhanded the puck past Vokoun. It wasn't as fluky as Frolik's goal, but
close. DeBoer definitely had a problem with the next one.

   Less than a minute later, Clarke MacArthur (who would later fight with Stephen
Weiss during a ice-wide brawl) slid through the Florida defense by getting the
puck past Jay Bouwmeester and beating Karlis Skrastins before unleashing a shot
that went between Vokoun's legs.

   Just 76 seconds later, the Sabres took their first lead of the night when Tim
Connolly's shot deflected off Bouwmeester's stick and past Vokoun.

   "We need a big save at a critical time in the third period to win a game,"
said DeBoer. "I don't think we've gotten it lately. It's that simple."

   Buffalo outshot Florida 21-9 in the third, ending the comeback bid with Maxim
Afinogenov's empty net shot with 31.2 seconds left.

   Just as Afinogenov shot the puck, he was hit by Nathan Horton and Keith
Ballard, setting off a brawl between all involved. The biggest bouts came from
Ballard and Craig Rivet, with Weiss and MacArthur getting some licks in. After
being broken up, Weiss wanted some more, but the refs got in the middle and kept
Round 2 from going.

   The Panthers will need that fighting spirit Thursday night when they play at
Philadelphia. 

   "This is really tough, this is brutal," said McLean, who scored Florida's
first goal. "We're playing the right way. We're still in it, but we've given up
a lot of points this past week which is frustrating. But we have to look
forward."

Wing Country: Florida Panthers @ Buffalo Sabres ... New Lines, Same Lineup ... Vokoun is the Man ... You Ask, I Answer ... Scoreboard Watch, Standings

Tommyboy2 BUFFALO - Just got back from lunch with some of the people who cover the Panthers.

Hard to believe it, but Goldie, Billy, Steve X. and myself had chicken wings for lunch.

That's right, chicken wings in Buffalo. Who would have thought it?

And they were gooood...

-- New lines for tonight as the Panthers try something - anything - to create some offense.

Nothing major, but here you go:

Olesz-Weiss-Booth; Stillman-Horton-Zednik; CPR; Frolik-Kreps-McLean.

Nick Boynton remains in the lineup.

-- Those who were hoping to see Craig Anderson get some playing time in the coming days may as well forget it.

Pete DeBoer said today that Vokoun is getting all the playing time as we go down the stretch. I would guess that if Vokoun got hurt or Florida lost three or four straight and were out of it, maybe we'll see Andy. But the way DeBo's talking, it's Vokoun. All day, every day.

-- Buffalo is starting Mikael Tellqvist tonight even though Patrick Lalime beat the Cats the last time out. Tellqvist is 0-1 lifetime against the Panthers.

-- I know a lot of you don't read the comments, but here are some answers to some questions:

It's going to be tough, no doubt about that. NY seemingly has the toughest sked, Montreal the easiest. But if FLA can't score goals, it has a tough road:

FLORIDA
Mar 25 at Buffalo - Winable, dont play well here
Mar 26 at Philadelphia - tough double-dip, have played them well
Mar 28 at Dallas - Stars cashing it in, but tough roadie
Mar 31 vs Ottawa - on fire
Apr 3 vs Atlanta - should be a W
Apr 5 vs Pittsburgh - tough, tough, tough
Apr 7 at Philadelphia - again, tough
Apr 9 at Atlanta - should be W
Apr 11 vs Washington - we'll know where FLA stands

MONTREAL (up two points, even games before Weds)

Mar 26 vs Tampa Bay - um, W
Mar 28 vs Buffalo - we'll see after 2nite
Mar 31 vs Chicago - hawks struggling
Apr 2 at NY Islanders - um, W
Apr 4 at Toronto - leafs playing w/ pride
Apr 6 vs Ottawa - ditto
Apr 7 at NY Rangers - toughie
Apr 9 at Boston - do Bs cash it in here?
Apr 11 vs Pittsburgh - ditto

NY RANGERS (up 5, even games after Weds)
Mar 26 at Atlanta - W
Mar 28 at Pittsburgh - tough
Mar 30 vs New Jersey - tough
Apr 2 at Carolina - tough
Apr 4 at Boston - tough
Apr 7 vs Montreal - tough
Apr 9 vs Philadelphia - tough
Apr 12 at Philadelphia - tough

The Panthers? Fading in March? No way! That's WEIRD. Posted by: KS

This March is actually Florida's first bad one in a while. Usually they are out of it coming into the month and are playing with zero pressure. Not the case this time:

2005-06: 10-4-1
06-07: 9-4-1
07-08: 8-3-1
08-09: 4-4-3

-- Tuesday's Games (and how they affected the Panthers): Montreal beating the sweet tea out of the Thrashers moves the Canadiens two points ahead and ends a five game losing streak. The Rangers beating the listless and quite boring Wild doesn't help Florida's case.

-- Wednesday's Games (and who the Panthers would be rooting for if they weren't so busy playing Blackjack at Casino Niagara)

Panthers @ Sabres, 7: This is really the only game that matters for the Panthers right now since Montreal and the Rangers are off. Can Florida catch the Flyers, Penguins or Hurricanes? Probably not. So we'll ignore those teams for the time being. Things could change, sure. But it's eighth (maybe seventh) or nada.

If you care, the Hurricanes play host to Ottawa and the Calgary JokiKeenans visit Pittsburgh.

Actually, those who follow the Panthers might want to start paying attention to that tropical disturbance brewing in the south Atlantic. The Senators and Maple Leafs aren't a tropical storm yet, and they aren't a threat to South Florida right now, but you may want to keep an eye on them.

Toronto, believe it or not, is one point back of Buffalo (so six back of the FLA) and the Sens are seven points back. If the Panthers keep sliding, Canada might get one of their favored sons back into the postseason mix.

-- The Standings (presented by the Buffalo Bison, Gabriel's Gate and courtesy of yahoo.com)

 Eastern Conference
 Team GP Pts
 1. y-Boston 73 102  
 2. New Jersey 73 97  
 3. Washington 75 97  
 4. Philadelphia 72 90  
 5. Carolina 75 87  
 6. Pittsburgh 74 86  
 7. NY Rangers 74 86  
 8. Montreal 73 83  
 9. Florida 73 81  
 10. Buffalo 72 76  
 11. Toronto 74 75  
 12. Ottawa 72 74  
 13. Atlanta 74 66  
 14. Tampa Bay 73 64  
 15. NY Islanders 72 56  
 * = Division Leader
 Western Conference
 Team GP Pts
 1. x-Detroit 74 107  
 2. y-San Jose 72 106  
 3. Calgary 72 90  
 4. Chicago 71 87  
 5. Vancouver 72 87  
 6. Columbus 73 83  
 7. Edmonton 73 79  
 8. Anaheim 73 78  
 9. Nashville 73 78  
 10. St. Louis 73 77  
 11. Minnesota 73 76  
 12. Dallas 73 74  
 13. Los Angeles 73 70  
 14. Phoenix 73 67  
 15. Colorado 73 64  
 * = Division Leader



March 24, 2009

Good Morning Miami, Again ... Still in the Hunt ... Scoreboard Watch with Standings

Front Big news around the Panthers this morning is that after the Miami-Dade commission voted to approve a new ballpark for the Marlins on the hallowed site of the Orange Bowl, they also offered to build the Panthers a new arena nearby.

The Panthers were apparently shocked by the commission's generosity, but said they didn't want to be called the Miami Panthers and politely declined the offer.

-- Big loss for the Cats last night at the Billboard, but hey, it could have been worse. The offense is still sputtering, and it took a 5-on-3 chance for the Panthers to get the tying goal and at least salvage a point out of it.

Going to be a tough roadie, as the Panthers rarely do anything good in Buffalo, and having to play the Sabres and Flyers on successive nights is downright brutal. Who knows what will happen in Dallas on Saturday.

Panthers can only hope Montreal continues to ''stink on ice.'' Florida isn't exactly lighting it up, losing six of the past seven. Playoff push?

-- Monday's Game (and how it affected the Panthers): Florida loses 3-2 in overtime to the Hurricanes. Has same amount of points as No. 8 Canadiens but one fewer game.

-- Tuesday's Games (and who the Panthers would be rooting for if they weren't so busy looking for something to do in downtown Buffalo. And good luck with that.)

Wild @ Rangers, 7: Realistically, there are only a handful of teams the Panthers could catch in the east. The Rangers are one of them.

Thrashers @ Canadiens, 7:30: Montreal has lost five straight and if that streak hits six against a team from Georgia, the locals may riot. Florida is hoping no one gets hurt. 

--The Standings (presented by Tim Hortons, the Century Grill in Buffalo, Duffy's in Amherst and courtesy of TSN.ca/nhl)

RankTeamGPWLOTPTSGFGAHomeAwayLast 10Streak
1y-Boston7346171010224317125-6-621-11-44-5-1Won 1
2New Jersey73472339722518126-10-121-13-26-4-0Lost 2
3Washington74452369623821626-9-219-14-45-4-1Lost 1
4Philadelphia724022109023320622-10-418-12-66-4-0Won 3
5Carolina75402878721621222-13-118-15-67-1-2Won 4
6Pittsburgh74392788623322221-13-318-14-57-1-2Lost 1
7NY Rangers73382788418719822-11-416-16-47-3-0Lost 1
8Montreal72362798121422021-8-615-19-33-5-2Lost 5
 
9Florida733527118120020619-11-716-16-43-4-3Lost 2
10Buffalo72343087621220820-13-314-17-53-6-1Lost 4
11Ottawa723230107419320720-12-612-18-49-1-0Won 5
12Toronto733030137321925713-13-917-17-45-4-1Won 1
13Atlanta73303766622324914-19-216-18-47-3-0Won 1
14Tampa Bay722333166218924011-15-1112-18-53-3-4Lost 3
15NY Islanders72244085618223416-14-58-26-35-4-1Lost 2
 

Western

RankTeamGPWLOTPTSGFGAHomeAwayLast 10Streak
1y-San Jose7248141010623317630-3-418-11-66-3-1Won 3
2x-Detroit734816910527321726-5-422-11-57-2-1Lost 1
3Calgary72422469023822124-9-418-15-25-5-0Won 1
4Chicago713822118723319119-8-719-14-43-5-2Won 1
5Vancouver71382498521419622-11-416-13-57-2-1Lost 1
6Columbus72382868220120023-11-215-17-47-3-0Won 2
7Edmonton72352897920721916-12-619-16-34-2-4Lost 1
8Nashville72353077718419921-12-314-18-45-2-3Lost 2
 
9Anaheim72353167620320818-16-317-15-35-4-1Won 3
10Minnesota72343087618317820-11-614-19-24-3-3Won 1
11St. Louis72333097519921219-13-514-17-45-4-1Won 1
12Dallas72333187420422219-13-414-18-44-5-1Lost 3
13Los Angeles723032107018721316-14-814-18-24-5-1Lost 2
14Phoenix73303676718122519-14-311-22-43-5-2Lost 1
15Colorado73314026418923218-17-013-23-23-6-1Lost 4


March 23, 2009

LIVE! Monday Night Hockey: Carolina Hurricanes 3 @ Florida Panthers 2 (F-OT) ... Goals: Bouwmeester and Stillman (FLA); Ruutu, Eaves and Whitney (CAR)

Pantherscanes Welcome to another edition of On Frozen Pond LIVE! It's a Versus Blackout edition, although tonight's game can be found online and through the league's Center Ice package.

Will be checking in here throughout the night for all of those who may not be near a computer, or a radio, or a television with Center Ice.

So basically, I'm doing this for the dozens who may be watching score updates from a cellphone with internet access.

Should be a lot of fun tonight. Huge game for the Panthers, so big it appears they've brought in a new anthem singer. Sounded a lot like LaRae during the warmups.

Come on back throughout the night, and I'm sure they'll be more to be told than who is singing before the game.

-- If you get on your horse, 790 The Ticket is giving away free tickets for tonight's game at their mobile van. The van is parked on the south side of the arena (the entrance closest to Sunrise Boulevard). So, if you're in the neighborhood and want to see some pro ice hockey, there you go.

-- Pete DeBoer's Quote of the Day: ''It's up to us. We're right where we want to be, we just have to take advantage. If we can't play above .500 and win some games, we don't deserve to get in.''

-- DeBo on the lineup change for tonight: ''I thought Eminger struggled the last game. He's dealing with some minor injury stuff. We're going to juggle the lineup on the front and back end down the stretch in trying to get as much energy and jump as possible.''

-- Television listings for tonight: The game can be seen live on the NHL Center Ice Package on channel 629 on Dish Network, 771 on DirecTV and Game 5 on Digital Cable at 7:30 p.m. The game can also be viewed online on Game Center Live on NHL.com. Panthers 790 The Ticket radio announcers Randy Moller and Bill Lindsay will have the call while footage will come from the BankAtlantic Center’s in-house feed.

-- Getting ready to roll. Scratches -- CAR: Kaberle, Cullen, Ryan, Walker. FLA: Stewart, Tarnasky, Eminger.

-- LaRae sings the anthem in 1:15. That's how you do it...

GAME ON -- GAME ON -- GAME ON

-- Watching the Center Ice feed in the press box. Feel like I'm at Jai-Alai.

--Dvorak almost makes it 1-0...darn cross bar...good job by the CPR line so far...they have brought it...

-- Goldie Report coming in the first intermission.

-- So far, 12:00 left, Florida outshooting the Canes 5-2...

Dannycaddy AND JAY BOUWMEESTER SHOOTS AND SCORES! DO YOU DO DRUGS DANNY? EVERY DAY! SO WHAT'S THE PROBLEM?* THE PANTHERS LEAD 1-0...

-- (*) Actual Randy Moller goal call coming at next break...

-- (*) Actual Moller call: ''Hit me baby one more time!''

-- Shots with 8:27 left: FLA 9-3

-- First power play of the night goes to the Hurricanes; Kreps in for tripping @ 13:13 of the first...

-- If there's a problem in your section tonight, you can text me and I'll take care of it for you..

HURRICANES GET A POWER PLAY GOAL, TUOMO RUUTU SITTING ON LEFT SIDE OF NET, FOLLOWS A BIG REBOUND...COMES @ 13:47 OF THE FIRST...1-1...

-- Dvorak goes down while racing up ice, Carolina gets a penalty...Florida power play on Joni Pitkanen @ 16:25...and the FLA power play looks like its usual sharp self...

-- The Panthers cleared the puck four times. Themselves.

--OK, going to take a break here, score tied 1-1 after one. It's like a brand new game, only there's only 40 minutes left and both teams have scored a goal...

Second period about to begin...shots: FLA 13-11

-- A few good chances for both teams, but so far, no change...

-- Florida goes on first power play of the second, Jussi 'Olli' Jokinen going into the box and feeling much shame with 4:04 remaining...shots: CAR 22-19

CAROLINA TAKES ITS FIRST LEAD OF THE NIGHT, SCORING WITH 12.5 SECONDS LEFT IN THE SECOND PERIOD...PATRICK EAVES KNOCKS IT THROUGH...

-- Well, that's the second. Panthers have to make a comeback here. And they don't look like a team with the offense to do it...

-- Florida has gotten jobbed on a pair of non-calls, and the last one really cost them. Just before the Carolina goal, the puck hit Eric Staal's skate as he was coming off, so there were seven players on the ice. The puck hit Staal off the Carolina bench setting up a 3-on-2 chance for the Hurricanes and they score. The officials also missed a too-many-men call just before they called Jokinen for hooking.

The fans in the shoot twice zone let the officials have it as they came off the ice. As they probably should have.

We'll be back for the third momentarily...

Goldie2 THE GOLDIE REPORT: Well, we need a big third period. If this isn't the season, it's close to it. The forward have to find a way to work harder and score. It would also help if that goal didn't count. It was too many men, and it wasn't even close. That's disappointing, but the Panthers have to overcome that. Referees make mistakes, it's part of the game. The forwards can't just say they are desperate, they have to be desperate. In many ways, we're going to find out what this team has. Vokoun has been great, hasn't been beaten on a real shot. He's doing his job. If the Panthers can get a power play, they have to convert. They have to score. 

-- Back here in the third, there's 5:10 left and the Panthers are on the power play; Carolina's Rod Brind'Amour to the box for high sticking...

-- Cory Stillman dragged down in the Carolina zone, penalty on Erik Cole.

FLORIDA with the 5-on-3 power play for 1:26.

H-U-G-E....

Caddyshack CORY STILLMAN OFF A DAVID BOOTH REBOUND, HE SHOOTS AND SCORES! NOW I KNOW WHY TIGERS EAT THEIR YOUNG...PANTHERS TIE IT AT 2 WITH 4:05 LEFT...STILL ON THE POWER PLAY...

--Florida can't take the lead but had their chances...we're going to overtime...

IT'S A FINAL FROM SUNRISE, THE HURRICANES TAKE HOME A 3-2 WINNER. RAY WHITNEY SCORES IT FOR CAROLINA, THE GOAL COMING 1:37 INTO THE EXTRA FRAME...

-- Pete DeBoer on the missed call in the second: 

'It could have either too many men or offside,'' said DeBoer. ''We had them for both, take your choice. But that happens. He had an explanation. They saw it different. We've had some of those go our way over the months so you have to deal with it.''

-- Pete on the loss:

''We played hard, we played well,'' said coach Pete DeBoer, whose team only won once during its recent five game homestand. ''It was a hard fought point. Maybe we deserved better, but that's the way it goes this time of year.''

-- Got's to finish up and move on down the road, flying out in the morning for Buffalo and points north. And west. Whatever. Anyway, everyone drive careful and have a good night. Big roadie coming up for the Panthers, we'll see what they got. Need some scoring though. Bad.


Mash It Up Miami

Mash1 I know we have some pretty creative folks out there, so let's have some fun.

A friend of mine in Toronto pointed this out to me, and I think some of you may have a good time putting some of this together.

The concept is called a mash-up, where you take video (in this case hockey highlights), put them on the application, then put your own soundtrack to it.

It could be anything from Korn to Meatloaf to Randy Moller's 'Ma! The Meatloaf!'

It's all up to you. You are in control of the deal.

The application is brought to you by the good folks at Hockey Night in Canada and looks like a fun way to kill some time while you're supposedly working. With a few days off until basketball gets back in the swing, what else do you have to do? Sorry, no boss button on this one though.

Here's the application: http://hockeynightmashup.cbc.ca/mashuptool

Here's the main site where you can see what other creative hockey fans are doing.

Those who make up some videos, make sure you email me a link. I'll run them here as I get them and link to them as well. Should be interesting to see what some of you jokers come up with.

Now get mashing!

LIVE! Carolina Hurricanes @ Florida Panthers ... Horton, Boynton IN ... Eminger, Stewart, Tarnasky OUT ... TV Listing for Tonight

Canessign1 With tonight's game only available on Centre Ice, I'll be LIVE! from atop the Billboard tonight offering, well, something.

It could be insight, could be analysis. Who knows.

Anyway, Nathan Horton is back after two weeks and is centering the second line.

The new fourth line: Kamil Kreps with Brett McLean and Rostislav Olesz. Nick Boynton is back in the lineup, replacing Steve Eminger. Nick Tarnasky and Anthony Stewart are out.

Pete DeBoer: ''We have 10 games left, we're healthy and there no excuses.''

This from the Panthers: The game can be seen live on the NHL Center Ice Package on channel 629 on Dish Network, 771 on DirecTV and Game 5 on Digital Cable at 7:30 p.m. The game can also be viewed online on Game Center Live on NHL.com. Panthers 790 The Ticket radio announcers Randy Moller and Bill Lindsay will have the call while footage will come from the BankAtlantic Center’s in-house feed.

-- Sunday's Games (and how they affected the Panthers): Flyers beat the Pens, but that probably doesn't matter because Pitt is probably out of reach anyway. The Panthers were very happy to see the Rangers lose to the Senators. The Rangers can still be caught although it won't be very easy.

-- Monday's Games (and who the Panthers would be rooting for if they weren't kinda busy playing themselves)

Hurricanes @ Panthers, 7: Yeah, this is a biggie.

-- The Standings (presented by Red Deer Randy Moller and Big Pimpin' Billy Lindsay and courtesy of tsn.ca/nhl)

Eastern

RankTeamGPWLOTPTSGFGAHomeAwayLast 10Streak
1y-Boston7346171010224317125-6-621-11-44-5-1Won 1
2New Jersey72472239722317726-10-121-12-27-3-0Lost 1
3Washington74452369623821626-9-219-14-45-4-1Lost 1
4Philadelphia713922108822920421-10-418-12-66-4-0Won 2
5Pittsburgh74392788623322221-13-318-14-57-1-2Lost 1
6Carolina74392878521321022-13-117-15-67-1-2Won 3
7NY Rangers73382788418719822-11-416-16-47-3-0Lost 1
8Montreal72362798121422021-8-615-19-33-5-2Lost 5
 
9Florida723527108019820319-11-616-16-44-4-2Lost 1
10Buffalo72343087621220820-13-314-17-53-6-1Lost 4
11Ottawa723230107419320720-12-612-18-49-1-0Won 5
12Toronto733030137321925713-13-917-17-45-4-1Won 1
13Atlanta73303766622324914-19-216-18-47-3-0Won 1
14Tampa Bay722333166218924011-15-1112-18-53-3-4Lost 3
15NY Islanders72244085618223416-14-58-26-35-4-1Lost 2
 

Western

RankTeamGPWLOTPTSGFGAHomeAwayLast 10Streak
1y-San Jose7248141010623317630-3-418-11-66-3-1Won 3
2x-Detroit724815910527021226-5-422-10-57-2-1Won 4
3Calgary71412468823321823-9-418-15-24-6-0Lost 1
4Chicago713822118723319119-8-719-14-43-5-2Won 1
5Vancouver71382498521419622-11-416-13-57-2-1Lost 1
6Columbus72382868220120023-11-215-17-47-3-0Won 2
7Edmonton72352897920721916-12-619-16-34-2-4Lost 1
8Nashville72353077718419921-12-314-18-45-2-3Lost 2
 
9Anaheim72353167620320818-16-317-15-35-4-1Won 3
10Minnesota72343087618317820-11-614-19-24-3-3Won 1
11St. Louis72333097519921219-13-514-17-45-4-1Won 1
12Dallas72333187420422219-13-414-18-44-5-1Lost 3
13Los Angeles723032107018721316-14-814-18-24-5-1Lost 2
14Phoenix73303676718122519-14-311-22-43-5-2Lost 1
15Colorado73314026418923218-17-013-23-23-6-1Lost 4

March 22, 2009

Race to the Finish ... Monday: Carolina Hurricanes @ Florida Panthers

Nascar OK, it's been a few hours since the Panthers latest third period collapse, so let's put things in perspective.

The Panthers have 10 games left. That's 20 points out there for the taking. Florida is one point out of the playoffs, and Montreal actually looks a lot worse right now than the Panthers do.

If Florida can wake themselves up and find a way to win tomorrow against Carolina, everything may just be all right. Lose tomorrow, and Florida may be in some serious trouble.

Florida is now four points out of seventh, five behind Carolina for sixth. Right now, you have to think the thought is 'just get in.' Florida can't worry about what teams up around sixth or fifth are doing. They just need to find a way to get into the playoffs and figure it out from there.

They can do this.

The race to the finish starts Monday.

Gentlemen, start your engines.

-- Here are some Carolina game notes thanks to the crack PR crew from Raleigh. Enjoy:

Carolina Hurricanes at Florida Panthers

Monday, March 23, 7:30 p.m. (ET)

BankAtlantic Center * Sunrise, FL

Hurricanes: 39-28-7 (85 pts.); 2nd Southeast Division; 6th Eastern Conference

Panthers: 35-27-10 (80 pts.); 3rd Southeast Division; 9th Eastern Conference

* All statistics and standings information through NHL games of March 21, 2009

TOMORROW’S GAME

The Carolina Hurricanes take to the road on Monday for a pivotal game in the Eastern Conference playoff race against Southeast Division rivals the Florida Panthers (7:30 p.m., Hurricanes Radio Network). The Hurricanes are coming off of a three-game home stand that saw the team score a 4-2 win against the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday, a 5-4 come-from-behind win against the New York Islanders on Friday and a 4-1 win against Washington on Saturday to extend their season-best eight-game home winning streak.

Carolina enters Sunday’s game with 85 points and in the midst of a tight race with Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, the NY Rangers, Montreal, Florida and Buffalo for the final four Eastern Conference playoff spots. The Hurricanes are 22-13-1 at home and 17-15-6 on the road this season.

Broadcast Notes: Due to the NHL’s agreement with national cable television rightsholder Versus, the Hurricanes-at-Panthers game on Monday cannot be televised by either club’s television rightsholder. Fans watching the network’s coverage of New Jersey-at-Philadelphia will be kept up-to-date on the Hurricanes-at-Panthers game by Versus’ Hockey Central crew.

Hurricanes Radio Network flagship 99.9 FM The Fan, hosts a 30-minute pre-game show and a one-hour call-in post-game show surrounding Hurricanes radio broadcasts, hosted by The Fan’s Hurricanes insider Mike Maniscalco. Hall of Fame play-by-play man Chuck Kaiton will call all of the in-game action for all games on the Hurricanes Radio Network.

MILESTONE WATCH

Matt Cullen                Will play his 800th NHL game with his next game played

Tim Gleason             Will play his 200th Hurricanes game with his next game played

Sergei Samsonov   Is one point shy of 500 NHL points

Ray Whitney             Is one assist shy of 500 NHL assists

Jussi Jokinen          Is two games shy of 300 NHL games played

Eric Staal                   Played his 400th NHL/Hurricanes game, March 20 vs. NY Islanders

Ray Whitney             Earned his 800th NHL point with his third of three assists, March 20 vs. NY Islanders

CURRENT STREAKS

Cam Ward                 Has started each of the Hurricanes’ last 21 games (2/7-3/21: 13-6-2, 2.46 GAA, .917SV%, 2 SO)

Erik Cole                    Has assists and points in each of the last three games (3/14-3/20: 1g, 3a)

Tuomo Ruutu            Has points in each of the last two games (3/18-3/20: 1g, 2a)

Rod Brind’Amour     Has assists and points in each of the last two games (3/18-3/20: 0g, 3a)

Television: none

Radio: Hurricanes Radio Network – WCMC 99.9 FM The Fan (Raleigh – flagship), Pirate Radio – WGHB 1250 AM and WDLX 930 AM (Greenville, NC), WWNB ESPN 1490 AM (New Bern, NC)

Internet: www.nhl.com, www.CarolinaHurricanes.com

CAROLINA NOTES

·       Carolina has 85 points thus far this season. The Hurricanes are in a tightly-contested race with Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, the New York Rangers, Montreal, Florida and Buffalo for the final four Eastern Conference playoff spots. The Hurricanes have four games remaining against the above listed teams.

·       Goaltender Cam Ward has started each of the Hurricanes’ last 21 games, posting a 13-6-2 record, 2.46 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage and two shutouts in that span. This current streak is now the longest consecutive-starts streak of his career. His previous longest consecutive-starts streak came when he started 20 consecutive games to conclude the 2007-08 season, from Feb. 19 through April 4.

·       Carolina defenseman Anton Babchuk has 12 points (8g, 4a) in the Hurricanes’ last 16 games. He ranks second among team defensemen with 12 goals, and fourth among Carolina blueliners with 24 points. Six of his 12 goals this season have come on the power play.

·       Hurricanes center Eric Staal was named first star of the week for the period ending March 8. In that week, Staal had nine points (5g, 4a) and helped the Hurricanes to a 3-0-0 record in games at Washington, against Calgary and at Tampa Bay in. Staal now has 26 points (11g, 15a) in the last 18 games. The Hurricanes are 19-2-2 this season in games when Staal scores a goal, and 26-7-4 in games when he earns a point.

·          Recently reacquired winger Erik Cole now has 10 points (2g, 8a) in his nine games back with the Carolina. Since Staal entered the NHL in 2003-04, he has assisted on 27 goals by Cole, while Cole has assisted on 34 goals by Staal. For each player, it is the highest number of assists on goals by any one teammate.

·          Hurricanes forward Ray Whitney earned his third career hat trick on March 6 against Calgary, reaching the 300-goals plateau for his NHL career with the third goal. His second goal of the game marked his 20th of the season, marking the eighth season in his career, and third consecutive season, he has reached 20 goals. Whitney leads the Hurricanes with 44 assists and 67 points, ranks second in goals (23) and is one of just three Carolina skaters to play in all 74 of the team’s games this season. He earned his 800th NHL point with his third of three assists against the Islanders on March 20.

CAROLINA AT HOME: 22-13-1

CAROLINA ON THE ROAD: 17-15-6

CAROLINA ON THE POWER PLAY: 59-of-340 (17.4%)

CAROLINA SHORTHANDED: 218-of-275 (79.3%)

INJURY REPORT

Forward Scott Walker, upper body, day-to-day, missed eight games

AGAINST THE PANTHERS

Monday marks the sixth and final 2008-09 regular-season meeting between the Hurricanes and the Florida Panthers, and the 81st all-time meeting between the clubs since Florida entered the NHL in 1993. Carolina won the teams’ first game of the season on Oct. 10 at the RBC Center by a 6-4 score. The Panthers returned the favor with a 3-2 win at BankAtlantic Center on Nov. 24, before Carolina earned a 2-1 overtime win at the RBC Center on Dec. 18. Florida scored a 4-2 home win against the Hurricanes on Jan. 8, and issued Carolina a 5-0 home loss on Feb. 12. The Panthers have already won the season series between the clubs, posting a 3-1-1 (7 points) record in the teams’ first five games, compared to Carolina’s 2-3-0 (4 points).

Last season, Ray Whitney led all Carolina skaters with nine points (3g, 6a) in the eight-game season series against Florida, while Nathan Horton (5g, 4a) and Olli Jokinen (2g, 7a) paced the Panthers. The Hurricanes post a 40-27-12-1 all-time record against Florida, with a 26-11-3 home record and a 14-16-9-1 road record.

 

Saturday's Games (and how they affected the Panthers): Well, Florida sure didn't help its own cause, that's for sure. The Panthers would have moved into eighth if they could have held off Columbus, but three goals in the final two-plus minutes is a killer.

Montreal still looks terrible but remains in eighth. Buffalo is also bad. The Panthers have to be thanking the hockey gods that they are not six points out of the playoff race right now. Florida has lost five of six but are still within striking distance. The Panthers have to hope the worst is behind them. A new season starts Monday.

Sunday's Games (and who the Panthers would be rooting for if they weren't so busy trying to figure out what happened on Saturday night)

Flyers 3, Penguins 1: Well, the Penguins are still six points up. Doesn't really matter right now.

Sens @ Rangers, 7: Panthers would like to see the Rangers stumble in this one since the Sens don't have a dog in this fight and are looking for that Florida lottery.

The Standings (presented by the Hartford Insurance, the Hartford Civic Center and Brass Bonanza; courtesy, as always, from TSN.ca/nhl. Does not include today's Pitt-Philly game)

Eastern

RankTeamGPWLOTPTSGFGAHomeAwayLast 10Streak
1Boston7245171010023917024-6-621-11-43-5-2Lost 2
2New Jersey71472139722217326-10-121-11-28-2-0Won 1
3Washington74452369623821626-9-219-14-45-4-1Lost 1
4Philadelphia703822108622620321-10-417-12-65-5-0Won 1
5Pittsburgh73392688623221921-12-318-14-58-0-2Won 3
6Carolina74392878521321022-13-117-15-67-1-2Won 3
7NY Rangers72382688418619622-10-416-16-47-3-0Won 3
8Montreal72362798121422021-8-615-19-33-5-2Lost 5
 
9Florida723527108019820319-11-616-16-44-4-2Lost 1
10Buffalo72343087621220820-13-314-17-53-6-1Lost 4
11Toronto733030137321925713-13-917-17-45-4-1Won 1
12Ottawa713130107219120620-12-611-18-48-2-0Won 4
13Atlanta73303766622324914-19-216-18-47-3-0Won 1
14Tampa Bay722333166218924011-15-1112-18-53-3-4Lost 3
15NY Islanders72244085618223416-14-58-26-35-4-1Lost 2
 

Western

RankTeamGPWLOTPTSGFGAHomeAwayLast 10Streak
1x-Detroit724815910527021226-5-422-10-57-2-1Won 4
2y-San Jose7147141010423017529-3-418-11-65-4-1Won 2
3Calgary71412468823321823-9-418-15-24-6-0Lost 1
4Chicago703722118522919018-8-719-14-43-5-2Lost 5
5Vancouver71382498521419622-11-416-13-57-2-1Lost 1
6Columbus72382868220120023-11-215-17-47-3-0Won 2
7Edmonton71352797920721616-12-619-15-35-1-4Won 3
8Nashville72353077718419921-12-314-18-45-2-3Lost 2
 
9St. Louis72333097519921219-13-514-17-45-4-1Won 1
10Anaheim71343167419720617-16-317-15-35-4-1Won 2
11Minnesota71333087418017819-11-614-19-23-4-3Lost 1
12Dallas72333187420422219-13-414-18-44-5-1Lost 3
13Los Angeles713031107018620916-14-814-17-24-5-1Lost 1
14Phoenix72303576717921919-14-311-21-43-5-2Won 1
15Colorado72313926418822918-17-013-22-23-6-1Lost 3



 

March 21, 2009

Saturday Night Hockey: Nathan Horton OUT ... Monday's Game ON Center Ice ... Hot Air Anthem

Signads The good news for those driving along the Sawgrass Expressway is that the new 'Vegas-style' marquee is up and operational in front of the Billboard.

Good news if you like ads for insurance, real estate, Dutch beer and the lottery.

If you don't, well, just keep driving. You aren't missing anything.

-- Nathan Horton didn't partake in the pregame skate, so he won't play tonight. Will try and get an update on his status for Monday as we go.

-- The Panthers just told me that the NHL is lifting the NHL exclusive for Monday's game against the Carolina Hurricanes, although the only place to watch it will be on Center Ice.

The team says since neither Fox Florida nor Fox Carolina is picking up the game (too late to do so), the broadcast will be the spartan in-house camera angles with Randy 'Ma! The Meatloaf!' Moller and Billy 'I Beat the Bruins' Lindsay doing the radio simulcast. 

I've said it once, I'll say it again: The Versus exclusive needs to go. It's a joke. And it sure doesn't serve the fan. It serves only one interest and that's marginally boosting the ratings of a network the league probably shouldn't be on in the first place.

Gumsmurphy Enrico -- National anthem singer Graham Fandrei set a personal Panthers record today by singing the Anthem in 1:45.

His previous longest was 1:41, set Thursday night against the Maple Leafs.

Congrats Graham.

 -- Tonight is Dillard's night at the Billboard, the team apparently honoring the Fort Lauderdale High School. They do share the same nickname, after all.

Otisgray The shot at right is of the late, great, Otis Gray.

To you, Mr. Dillard.

-- Chris Gratton is up here in the press box taking in the sights and sounds that is Sunrise hockey. Says he thinks the Panthers are going to be a very tough team to play when they make the playoffs. And he thinks they're going to make the playoffs.

He says hello to everyone.

Buckeye Buzz: Columbus Blue Jackets @ Florida Panthers ... Nathan Horton In? Boynton, Stewart OUT; Eminger, Tarnasky IN

Jacketsign The Panthers are back on the ice, heading down the back nine of a five game homestand. Florida is 1-1-1 so far, with a win over Toronto on Thursday after losses to Tampa Bay and Washington.

Columbus is here, which means Jeff Rimer is in the house.

Florida needs a win here tonight, what with there being real estate that needs to be made up. But the Jackets need a win as well. Columbus is in the thick of the postseason fight, the Jackets trying to reach the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

-- Nathan Horton was on the ice this morning as promised, and Pete DeBoer says there's a possibility he could play tonight if the doctor clears him. But, DeBo warned, Nate has only participated in one practice (and that was a morning skate) in the past few weeks so he said Horton was 'doubtful.' He does expect him to be back Monday for the red-hot WhalerCanes.

I wouldn't be surprised if Horton is in tonight, but don't expect him to be.

-- Stephen Weiss missed today's skate because he wasn't feeling good. Weiss is expected to be back.

-- Same lineup as Thursday; so, Steve Eminger and Nick Tarnasky in for Nick Boynton and Anthony Stewart.

-- Friday's Games (and how they affected the Panthers): Well, the Panthers remain a point out of the playoffs, but now it's Montreal in eighth and not Carolina. The Hurricanes storm back to beat the Islanders and jump into sixth. Carolina leads Florida by three. Pittsburgh also picks up ground with a win over LA, but the Sabres lose again and fail to pick up anything.

Tressel -- Saturday's Games (and who the Panthers would be rooting for if they weren't so busy figuring out if the nickname 'Blue Jackets' represents a bug, something to do with the Civil War or a garment Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel would cut the sleeves off and wear on the sidelines.)

Maple Leafs @ Canadiens, 7: Hockey Night In Canada offers up a big one for the Panthers. If Florida wins and Montreal loses in regulation, the Canadiens would find themselves on the outside of the playoff race after being in first earlier in the season.

Sabres @ Rangers, 7: Panthers have four point lead on Buffalo, so they root for the Sabres tonight to keep the Rangers within arm's length. 

Capitals @ Hurricanes, 7: Carolina has won seven straight at home, but Washington is playing good again. Wouldn't be surprised to see this one go to overtime.

Blue Jackets @ Panthers, 7: Jeff Rimer hasn't called the playoffs in quite some time, so the Panthers are naturally rooting for their former TV voice to get that chance.

-- The Standings (presented by the Cleveland State Vikings and courtesy of TSN.ca/nhl)

Eastern

RankTeamGPWLOTPTSGFGAHomeAwayLast 10Streak
1Boston7245171010023917024-6-621-11-43-5-2Lost 2
2New Jersey71472139722217326-10-121-11-28-2-0Won 1
3Washington73452269623721226-9-219-13-45-4-1Won 2
4Philadelphia703822108622620321-10-417-12-65-5-0Won 1
5Pittsburgh73392688623221921-12-318-14-58-0-2Won 3
6Carolina73382878320920921-13-117-15-66-2-2Won 2
7NY Rangers71372688218119321-10-416-16-46-3-1Won 2
8Montreal71362698121221521-7-615-19-34-4-2Lost 4
 
9Florida713526108019720019-10-616-16-44-4-2Won 1
10Buffalo71342987620920320-13-314-16-53-5-2Lost 3
11Toronto722930137121425513-13-916-17-45-4-1Lost 1
12Ottawa703030107018620419-12-611-18-47-2-1Won 3
13Atlanta72293766421924614-19-215-18-47-3-0Lost 2
14Tampa Bay712333156118623611-15-1012-18-53-4-3Lost 2
15NY Islanders71243985618022916-14-58-25-36-3-1Lost 1
 

Western

RankTeamGPWLOTPTSGFGAHomeAwayLast 10Streak
1x-Detroit724815910527021226-5-422-10-57-2-1Won 4
2y-San Jose7046141010222517328-3-418-11-64-5-1Won 1
3Calgary71412468823321823-9-418-15-24-6-0Lost 1
4Vancouver70382398521319122-11-416-12-58-1-1Won 4
5Chicago703722118522919018-8-719-14-43-5-2Lost 5
6Columbus71372868019819923-11-214-17-47-3-0Won 1
7Edmonton71352797920721616-12-619-15-35-1-4Won 3
8Nashville72353077718419921-12-314-18-45-2-3Lost 2
 
9St. Louis72333097519921219-13-514-17-45-4-1Won 1
10Anaheim71343167419720617-16-317-15-35-4-1Won 2
11Dallas71333087420221719-13-414-17-44-5-1Lost 2
12Minnesota71333087418017819-11-614-19-23-4-3Lost 1
13Los Angeles713031107018620916-14-814-17-24-5-1Lost 1
14Phoenix71293576517421818-14-311-21-42-6-2Lost 1
15Colorado72313926418822918-17-013-22-23-6-1Lost 3

March 20, 2009

Nathan Horton Hears a Comeback ... Saturday: Columbus Blue Jackets @ Florida Panthers

Horton1 Nathan Horton is close to returning to the Florida lineup, and it couldn't come soon enough.

The Panthers, who got goals from Stephen Weiss, Richard Zednik and Ville Peltonen in Thursday's 3-1 win over the Maple Leafs, could definitely use Horton's presence.

Horton didn't practice with the team today, but he's expected to be there for Saturday's morning skate at the Billboard and hopes to play Monday against the Carolina Hurricanes. Horton said today that he was out shooting pucks and that his surgically repaired finger feels OK. He wants to meet with his doctor after tomorrow's skate and hopes to be cleared.

He really wants to play against the Hurricanes.

Thursday's Game (and how it affected the Panthers): The Canadiens just don't seem to want to make the playoffs, do they? The Panthers go into today's action a point behind both the Hurricanes and Canadiens (who lost to Ottawa last night).

Friday's Games (and who the Panthers would be rooting for if they weren't at Miami Arena watching NCAA hoops)

Isles @ Hurricanes, 7: New York just doesn't have it, does it? Carolina is playing pretty well.

Kings @ Pens, 7:30: Pittsburgh's lead on FLA is down to four, and the Panthers sure would like to keep it that way.

Flyers @ Sabres, 7:30: Beefs trail Cats by four points, and they are cool with that.

The Standings (presented by Woodlands Country Club, the Circus Sports Bar & Grill; courtesy of TSN.ca/nhl)

Eastern

RankTeamGPWLOTPTSGFGAHomeAwayLast 10Streak
1Boston7245171010023917024-6-621-11-43-5-2Lost 2
2Washington73452269623721226-9-219-13-45-4-1Won 2
3New Jersey70462139521817325-10-121-11-28-2-0Lost 1
4Philadelphia693722108422019921-10-416-12-64-5-1Lost 2
5Pittsburgh72382688422821820-12-318-14-58-0-2Won 2
6NY Rangers71372688218119321-10-416-16-46-3-1Won 2
7Montreal71362698121221521-7-615-19-34-4-2Lost 4
8Carolina72372878120420520-13-117-15-66-2-2Won 1
 
9Florida713526108019720019-10-616-16-44-4-2Won 1
10Buffalo70342887620519720-12-314-16-53-5-2Lost 2
11Toronto722930137121425513-13-916-17-45-4-1Lost 1
12Ottawa703030107018620419-12-611-18-47-2-1Won 3
13Atlanta71293666421624014-18-215-18-47-3-0Lost 1
14Tampa Bay712333156118623611-15-1012-18-53-4-3Lost 2
15NY Islanders70243885617622416-14-58-24-36-2-2Won 1
 

Western

RankTeamGPWLOTPTSGFGAHomeAwayLast 10Streak
1x-Detroit714715910326420926-5-421-10-57-2-1Won 3
2y-San Jose7046141010222517328-3-418-11-64-5-1Won 1
3Calgary70412368823121523-8-418-15-25-5-0Won 1
4Vancouver70382398521319122-11-416-12-58-1-1Won 4
5Chicago693722108422518518-8-619-14-43-5-2Lost 4
6Columbus71372868019819923-11-214-17-47-3-0Won 1
7Edmonton70342797720221216-12-618-15-34-2-4Won 2
8Nashville72353077718419921-12-314-18-45-2-3Lost 2
 
9Minnesota70332987418017419-11-614-18-23-4-3Won 1
10Anaheim71343167419720617-16-317-15-35-4-1Won 2
11Dallas71333087420221719-13-414-17-44-5-1Lost 2
12St. Louis71323097319621019-13-513-17-45-4-1Lost 2
13Los Angeles703030107018520516-14-814-16-24-5-1Won 1
14Phoenix71293576517421818-14-311-21-42-6-2Lost 1
15Colorado72313926418822918-17-013-22-23-6-1Lost 3

March 19, 2009

Randy Moller Goes Global (Well, TSN. Whatever.)

Moller2 Randy Moller's goal calls are as hot a topic as any in hockey circles these days, and thanks to a good look out from our pal Puck Daddy, we found Molls on Canadian television talking about them.

My personal favorite is 'You're my boy Blue!' but that's probably because tMollerblue hat was my suggestion. Heck, I'm the one who drew it out on Randy's cheat sheet the night he used it.

I also take some credit for the Animal House 'do you mind if we dance with your dates,' and Fletch's 'my car just hit a water buffalo.'

That's all I gots.

Here is the Best of Moller, Part I

And Part II.

And Randy with Dan LeBatard on ESPN.

Mollermeatloaf And there's a fake Randy Moller thread all the way from the University of Oklahoma.

He shoots, he scores! Boomer Sooner!

Caution, some of these OU fans are a little colorful and I definitely do not approve a few of these. But some are funny and you may like them. Some may be NSFW. Moller I took off the link. You can google 'Oklahoma' and 'Randy Moller' and I'm sure you'll find it. Unless Randy has a Chevy dealership in Tulsa or something.

Enjoy.

These are fun for the kids.