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Nothing Personal: Toronto Maple Leafs @ Florida Panthers ... Eminger IN, Boynton OUT ... Looking for Answers ... Scoreboard Watch, The Standings

LeafsignTrying to get into the hockey mindset what with all the basketball going on today.

Spoke to a couple of the guys about their picks for the NCAA tournament and it's a wildly varied bunch. Anthony Stewart is picking Marquette as his dark horse, Nick Boynton is going with UConn because they are a No. 1 seed and he likes those top seeds with New England connections, and Craig Anderson is going from Illinois because he's a homeboy and is representing the ILL.

Tried to get Michael Frolik to admit to picking Akron in the tournament, but he didn't know where Akron was. Two words Michael: Go Zips.

-- Nick Boynton is out of the lineup again tonight, and Pete DeBoer says ''you have to believe me'' that it's nothing personal. DeBo says he likes the way the six D have been playing of late, although he couldn't tell me what Steve Eminger brings to the table that is better than Boynton. Says it's a real tough choice.

From my perspective, it just seems a little strange that Boynton has only played three games since that blow up with the coaches in New York, and only then because Bryan McCabe was hurt. DeBo says he likes what Eminger has brought to the table since coming over in a trade on March 4, but I haven't seen it. Eminger helped out on the power play when McCabe was out, but I haven't seen a whole lot out of him since he's been here.

For his part, Boynton says he believes he and DeBo have cleared the air and he believes that his lack of playing time has nothing to do with the blowup.

My take: The Panthers weren't real happy with Boynton's play before the New York game, and he was benched in the third period of that game for a reason. Eminger is a guy DeBo knows from their junior days together and they are giving him a chance to show what he's got. Eminger will probably be with the Panthers next year, Boynton, probably not. We'll see how this develops.

-- Anthony Stewart also out of the lineup.

-- The Toronto media had some fun with the 'Playoff Promise' deal, a good number of them noticing the billboards with DeBo on them. Asked if he's now the face of the franchise, the good-humored coach responded ''I hope not. It's not that good looking if it is.''

-- McCabe has gotten rid of his full plastic shield and is going old-school with a full metal cage. Says it's much easier to breathe in. He adds that he hasn't worn a full face mask since he was 15, and probably last wore one when he was in world juniors as a 19-year-old. ''It sucks,'' he said.

McCabe, you might recall, had three plates inserted into his face after taking a slap shot off his mug a few games ago against St. Loo.

Wednesday's Game (and how it affected the Panthers): Carolina won. Three points up. 'Nuff said.

Thursday's Games (and who the Panthers would be rooting for if they weren't so busy watching the Akron-Gonzaga -- Zip 'n Zag -- Game)

Canadiens @ Senators, 7: Panthers need to start picking up some ground and doing so soon. They like the Sens and their celebrity girlfriends in this one.

Leafs @ Panthers, 7:30: Cats have lost four straight and the Leafs are playing like they have nothing to lose. Which they don't. Florida is a tight, desperate team. This, friends, is a must-win.

The Standings (presented by the MAC champion Zips, Bryan McCabe's cage and courtesy of tsn.ca/nhl)


Rank Team GP W L OT PTS GF GA Home Away Last 10 Streak
1 Boston 71 45 17 9 99 237 167 24-6-5 21-11-4 4-5-1 Lost 1
2 New Jersey 70 46 21 3 95 218 173 25-10-1 21-11-2 8-2-0 Lost 1
3 Washington 72 44 22 6 94 232 210 26-9-2 18-13-4 5-4-1 Won 1
4 Philadelphia 69 37 22 10 84 220 199 21-10-4 16-12-6 4-5-1 Lost 2
5 Pittsburgh 72 38 26 8 84 228 218 20-12-3 18-14-5 8-0-2 Won 2
6 NY Rangers 71 37 26 8 82 181 193 21-10-4 16-16-4 6-3-1 Won 2
7 Montreal 70 36 25 9 81 208 210 21-7-6 15-18-3 5-3-2 Lost 3
8 Carolina 72 37 28 7 81 204 205 20-13-1 17-15-6 6-2-2 Won 1
9 Florida 70 34 26 10 78 194 199 18-10-6 16-16-4 4-4-2 Lost 4
10 Buffalo 70 34 28 8 76 205 197 20-12-3 14-16-5 3-5-2 Lost 2
11 Toronto 71 29 29 13 71 213 252 13-13-9 16-16-4 6-3-1 Won 2
12 Ottawa 69 29 30 10 68 181 200 18-12-6 11-18-4 6-3-1 Won 2
13 Atlanta 71 29 36 6 64 216 240 14-18-2 15-18-4 7-3-0 Lost 1
14 Tampa Bay 70 23 32 15 61 184 231 11-14-10 12-18-5 3-4-3 Lost 1
15 NY Islanders 70 24 38 8 56 176 224 16-14-5 8-24-3 6-2-2 Won 1


Rank Team GP W L OT PTS GF GA Home Away Last 10 Streak
1 x-Detroit 71 47 15 9 103 264 209 26-5-4 21-10-5 7-2-1 Won 3
2 x-San Jose 69 45 14 10 100 222 171 27-3-4 18-11-6 4-5-1 Lost 1
3 Calgary 70 41 23 6 88 231 215 23-8-4 18-15-2 5-5-0 Won 1
4 Chicago 69 37 22 10 84 225 185 18-8-6 19-14-4 3-5-2 Lost 4
5 Vancouver 69 37 23 9 83 210 191 21-11-4 16-12-5 7-2-1 Won 3
6 Columbus 71 37 28 6 80 198 199 23-11-2 14-17-4 7-3-0 Won 1
7 Nashville 71 35 30 6 76 182 196 21-12-3 14-18-3 6-2-2 Lost 1
8 Edmonton 69 33 27 9 75 194 211 16-12-6 17-15-3 4-2-4 Won 1
9 Minnesota 70 33 29 8 74 180 174 19-11-6 14-18-2 3-4-3 Won 1
10 Dallas 71 33 30 8 74 202 217 19-13-4 14-17-4 4-5-1 Lost 2
11 St. Louis 70 32 29 9 73 196 207 19-13-5 13-16-4 6-3-1 Lost 1
12 Anaheim 70 33 31 6 72 194 204 17-16-3 16-15-3 5-4-1 Won 1
13 Los Angeles 69 29 30 10 68 182 203 16-14-8 13-16-2 3-6-1 Lost 3
14 Phoenix 70 29 35 6 64 172 215 18-14-2 11-21-4 2-7-1 Won 1
15 Colorado 71 31 38 2 64 187 221 18-16-0 13-22-2 3-6-1 Lost 2


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OMG. You knew youd here from me GR, its pure outrage and disgust. Dont believe him, for his talent eval is questionable if he sees eminger at -3 the better choice.

If he was up North the Papers would have fried PD over this...

Jock martin sucks. Im still thrilled we got an average defenseman for a average defenseman and a pick, who got the better end of that deal.....

Maybe the fans should all get torches and meet outside of the BAC by the Admin Offices and request the front office resign.

I don't see Boynton or Eminger as a big deal. Boynton adds some muscle, Eminger adds a little better playmaking and skating. Both are better than Welch. It doesn't matter which one is in the line-up. If Panthers wins depend on either Boynton or Eminger then the team is doomed. It is time for Booth, Weiss, Stillman, Zednik and the rest to SCORE. If the forwards can't score this team cannot win, period. Boynton or Eminger is irrelevant. Getting shutout is a disgrace. The forwards need to score or time to forget about playoffs.

I agree with you. this is not the reason the panthers have lost four straight. far from it...

i like eminger. i watched him with tampa alot and he was playing #1 minutes and doing well. solid defensively and on pace for about 40 points. he's a guy whos going to have a bigger role next year when bouwmeester leaves so i have no problem with getting him accustomed to the team and the system.

aside from his first game against pittsburgh, i think he's played well too. no problem with him being in the lineup at all. he's not the reason we're losing.

I am going to third or fourth this. I was at the Tampa v Toronto game. Toronto won that game similar to other Panthers opponents. They played a good 3rd period. This is a 60 minute game and the Panthers need 20 guys to play the full 60 and hit and establish home turf. No excuse tonight as the Leafs will have Cujo (past his prime) or Gerber (so bad he was playing in Binghmapton a few weeks ago for the Sens) in net. Time to put the puck in the net.

Excited to be making the trip on Sat for the CBJ game from Orlando!!!! Got a team playing in the USA Hockey tourney in Coral Springs.

word is it's gerber....

Not to bash Eminger, he seems decent, but if you look at the two shootout losses, Boynton had points in both, and Jay Bouwmeester was on the ice for the tying goal in both. Boynton is producing, Cullimore (another guy who will be gone next year) and Eminger aren't.

Twelve games left and three points out of a playoff spot is not the time to get someone "accustomed to the system." That's what training camp is for. They all made a big deal about not changing the chemistry of this team at the deadline and, like it or not, Boynton was part of that chemistry all season, and this team's problems started when he got sent home from that road trip.

I don't think this team's fate rests on Eminger or Boynton, but I think the situation is a bigger problem than anyone is letting on. Or maybe it's coincidence. All I know is I got a bad feeling when I saw the headline.

it really shouldn't be between Eminger and Boynton but between them and Cullimore who is not having as good a year this year as last.

Also, Ballard doesn't appear to be playing as well since the Boynton incident happened

There are a lot of players on this team that will not be here next year.

No matter how we look at it the team will need to get to 93 points to make the playoffs.

Boynton v. Eminger, not that big of a deal. I like Boynton, but probably 'cuz he's been here all year, Emmy hasn't shown anything yet. Not saying he can't, just don't know him thatw ell. But the defense has played well enough to win. Zednik, Stillman, Weiss, CPR line, scoring in general has disappeared. 0 SOG in the 3rd period of a game they KNEW they had to work hard to win? Awful. It's win or pack it in tonight...

lol, what's up "Salty Dog". good luck this weekend.

like most of yu guys have said, the reason for this run has undoubtedly been a lack of offense - yes, weiss booth etc. tht means you!!
our defense is not an issue (although I would prefer to see both eminger + boynton in the line-up with cullimore scratched...experienced but not mobile enough!)but our D is the best its been for years, so regardless of who plays they still give us a great chance to win every night.
the 3-0 loss against the caps would not have happened if our top offensive guys would just step up to the plate!! scoring four should not be a problem for players with the undoubted talent of stillman and zednik in their as well.

Cullimore has been out of gas for nearly 3 weeks. He's done.

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