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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

Comments

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Sometimes I don't know how you continue to cover this team. After all the dysfunction in this organization for the last 10 years or so, I'd move on to local gardening events or high school softball.

That being said, your blog rules and destroys all the other Panthers coverage out there, even if it is covering seemingly the most hapless and hopeless franchise in pro sports.

I was planning on taking vacation time to fly down to FLA to see some home playoff games this year. Guess I can save the money!

Actually, we need help covering high schools right now...where is the Florida state softball finals at this year? hope they have a Marriott nearby...

I echo ryan's sentiments. For that alone, regardless of results, we will play WHCC :-)

I urged people on the panthers boards to listen to ronan Tynon last night but alas, not covered. He is amazing. I saw him at the Cathedral (otherwise known as the house ruth built) and he was worth the price of admission.
Even kate Smith tonight.

George sensitive subject, but you are a reporter entitled to opions.

Woud you sit A-bo (aka jaybo)?

Bouwmeester stinks he should be scratched. They need to play Tarnasky against the Flyers. This team is the most disappointing bunch of losers ever to wear a Panthers jersey. A pathetic effort. If they don't win against the Flyers then they deserve an empty arena in Sunrise. No one should pay to see that garbage they pretend is hockey.

GR, any word on whether DeBoer's gonna give Vokoun a shot at redemption tonight, or go with Andy? After the shots PDeB took at TVo last night, I can only imagine Vokoun is chomping at the bit to get back in there. Then again, he "didn't realize" what happened last night, so maybe he's packing it in.

Karl:Stuck in Buffalo right now so I don't know what's going on in goal...assuming Pete is debating this one after last night...he was fuming...

And DeBo is not going to bench Bo. Yes it would send a message, but not the right one. Bo needs to get his game back, but so do others. Last night you had goals on a deflection, a sweet one by Zednik and a fluke from Frolik's broken stick. Against a sadsack goalie and a team that had given up 30 goals in six games.

If you can't score against that Buffalo team, you aren't very good. And that is what it is.

The scoring concern wouldn't be as big of a deal if they weren't facing 35-45 shots a game. Statistically, the goaltending is eventually going to falter when you face that many shots. I like calling it the "Booth Factor". David Booth is clearly not a goal scorer in the traditional sense; he is not a fancy stickhandler, he doesn't have the most accurate wrister. But he shoots a LOT. And when you shoot a lot, you are bound to get some in. Not to take anything away from Booth, he has had a great year and I see him being a consistent 20 goal scorer throughout his career due to his hard work ethic and speed, but numbers don't lie. You shoot a lot more, you're bound to score a lot more. I wish the rest of the Cats would follow that mantra.

Coach Pete's focus in the offseason (playoffs or not) should be to cut down the shots per game. It's really been the only major issue I've seen with the team's play when blowing these leads (with the exception of Vokoun letting in the occasional stinker).

The Panthers are always in the bottom of the league in shots against. Their best finish the last 8 seasons was 15th, and that was the only finish above 27th!!! I can see Coach Pete going to Alan Cohen and the conversation going something like this:

Pete: We need to cut down on the number of shots we give up, but it might take a little money to do it.
Alan Cohen: Well we haven't addressed this need the last 9 years so why start now?
Pete: o_O

Ryan is right, George. Gardening season is right around the corner. So break out your hedge clippers and pruning shears and forget about the mess that is the Florida Panthers.

Our Florida Panthers are a team that can compete with anyone when they are on their A game and the other team is not. In essence, when both are on their A game I would venture to guess half of the teams would beat us 9 out of 10...a middle of the pack team at best. The message from ownership is quite clear, lets field a competitive team, give the fans hope to attract them, but the commitment to field a serious Cup Contender does not seem to be in their plans.
Words are cheap...look at the actions. Notice the players added at the trade deadline by serious teams and the contributions they are making. While they may not always pan out, the effort on the part of these teams to improve and make a run is obvious. On the other hand, I guess our management felt we had enough to make a significant impact? They are either dilusional or truly incompetent.
JM built a solid, SOFT, talented team in Ottawa and appears will do the same here. Toughness is not necessarily measured by fighting. However, we do not have players that can respond when push comes to shove. While I give all the credit in the world to Ville P for dropping the mits with Artyukin the other day.It bordered more on insanity than toughness and proves the point. VP should never have had to do that.
We definitely need a legitimate enforcer who can play. When you look at all the top teams they all have a balance of skill and toughness. The Bruins are the text book example of balance as are the Sharks.
Team salaries for 07-08
San Jose 41 Million
Florida 39 Million
Boston 49 Million
Not to far off with a great return on invetment potential.
Playoff hockey is all about toughness.

George have you heard anything about if the Panthers might have interest in signing Miek Brodeur, the AHL All Star goalie on the farm to a contract for next year? He could be the next Anderson but I am hearing that he is concerned that the team is not approaching him about anything yet.

"And DeBo is not going to bench Bo. Yes it would send a message, but not the right one."

Sorry old chum I disagree. If I can call you old chum. When DeBo took over he said he would play who is best not based on their contract well, Jay is the worst defenseman out there. Maybe he needs to see the game from the pressbox to see what needs to be corrected. Jay's play has cost the team wins. If he didn't have Skrastins out there with him Jay's plus minus would be even worse. If he doesn't scratch him he should cut his ice time he can't handle the ice time he is given. Ever since the trade deadline his play has gotten worse. We can't afford to let Jay get his game back playing every game he costs a win.

We need to hire Nieuwendyk for GM.

I knew we were in trouble when word leaked out that JM had to make the playoffs to save his job and then the organization came out with the promise to make the playoffs.

The goal of an organization should be to win the stanley cup and not to just make the playoffs.

By just making the playoffs you are an average team 16 out of 30 make the playoffs.

This team has been below average for 9 years now

For those of us that remember, when Bure was trade we were told that the 10 million they saved by trading Bure would be used on two really good players, never happened.

When Bouwmeester leaves and we save 7 million don't be shocked when we don't spend the money because of concerns that the salary cap will go down.

JM was involved in Luongo going for next to nothing and now will be involved with Bouwmeester leaving for nothing.

This organization is not deep enough to lose their two best players for next to nothing.

We don't pay for scouting and have had many bad drafts that we are paying for.

Cohen please sell the team to someone interested in winning the cup and not in revenue for the building.

I just can't watch this team anymore!!! How do u lose like that and think your going to make the playoffs and if we do make the playoffs and boy is that a big if i dont see us winning one game against the Bruins man i still cant not believe that last night i was looking the sorce up on my phone from work and i seen 3-1 im like yes we got this one like 45 mins later it was 5-3 final!! I almost broke my phone i though i was seeing things. And the greatst thing of all is that we are still only two points out thats is crazy. Come on guys lets get serious tonight we this game please if u wanna do it for anybody do it for the fans that come and see and watch u every night.....p.s put in ANDY for the rest of the way.

season ticket holder since day one - Bouwmeester is a disaster, he is NOT one of the best players on the team, every game he does something that costs the win. I was for keeping him at the trade deadline now I wish they would scratch him. They guy is just punching a clock waiting for the season to end so he can go back to Alberta and drink beers.
Boy remember the days of Bure? That was a goal scorer now we have a bunch of plodders who think 2 goals is a high score. If Bouwmeester doesn't play better tonight I will personally heckle him during the pregame skate with Ottawa. Bouwmeester has zero heart. Overrated overpaid. I was at the Carolina game, we don't have one player that can match Eric Staal's intensity or talent. This Panthers team is the worst yet!

I say stick with Vokoun tonight. He will probably pitch a shutout in order to get 2 pts, but they are desperate....Andy goes if the TEAM can't show up and get 2 pts. I like the fact that PDB tells it like it is...much more interesting than JM ever was..... I'm sure he'd like to call out others, but they have no confidence, and blasting them would probably do more harm....

It's too bad they teased us this far, only to crap out. Yes it would've been frustrating if they would've blown it on the last day, but maybe it's better that they collapse NOW as opposed to a few games later....At least maybe they will realize how LUCKY they were and what an unbelievable job PDB did with this AVERAGE group....Changes must be made....I've seen the guys in Rochester play and there's not much hope there, so blow it up!!! Start by sending Horton back to Ontario for a package. Let him cough it up in TORONTO and the fans will eat him up like he deserves...He's been given a free pass here for far too long....

I knew after Jay Bo was on the ice for the goal that made it 3-2 that if Coach Pete left him on the ice (as he did), that it would be a disaster. For almost all of these recent 3rd period meltdowns, Jay has been on the ice for the tying goal and/or the game winner. Ballard and McCabe have had some off games, but not nearly as bad as Bo.

Based on what I've been seeing in these games, if he'd yanked Bo off the ice following the first goals and put someone else out there, then the results would have been different. Especially last night. Sure, he put Cullimore and McCabe out there after the second Buffalo goal. For 28 seconds. Then after the TV timeout, Jay was back out there. You don't even have to bench the guy, but if he's not playing well, don't put him out there for 30 minutes. Especially when you've got a 2 goal lead in the third period. Put McCabe and Skrastins out there and play keep away. Keep the puck in the Buffalo zone as much as possible, but keep one guy back to catch any breakaways.

Also, whomever is in charge of the power play needs to be looking for a new job. Period.

my point is that we should of traded Boumeester when we had the chance to get value.

Remember we had Dan Boyle and he was another d-man we gave away. When we drafted Bouwmeester the knocks against him were that he was soft and that he had never been in a playoff game on any level.

I go back to the drafts when we had the top pick and we blew both of them.

We could of had Nash and Eric Staal instead of Horton and Bouwmeester, what a difference that would of made to the last 5 years

I appreciate the "It's Always Sunny...", takes my mind of this recent collapse the team has suffered.

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