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50 posts from March 2009

March 19, 2009

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)

Eastern

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
 

Western

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

March 18, 2009

Rainy Daze ... Thursday: Toronto Maple Leafs @ Florida Panthers ... Fun and Information from The Miami Herald

Rain Great day for a day off, eh?

Lots of rain, lots of wind.

That's all I got today. Haven't spoken to David J. Neal since this morning and don't know what happened at practice. But I am catching up on 30 Rock, so it's not all bad.

-- Big news out of your Miami Herald today:

First, it looks like there could be live horse racing at Hialeah again. Sure, it's quarter horse racing, but those horses don't know they are short. I just want me some Hialeah again.

Barry Jackson reports that Miami and Notre Dame are interested in renewing an old football rivalry. Talk about huge television ratings.

Also, Miami keeps its minor league soccer team. Good to hear. I like soccer enough and may even check out a game this year. All reports have been positive.

Tuesday's Games (and how they affected the Panthers): Florida doesn't look very good right now, and better wake up or a loss to Toronto on Thursday could very well be in the offing. And that's a five game losing streak. Need to stop this train now. Some good some bad from last night. Good: Carolina took the night off and so did Buffalo. Right now, Panthers still one point out. Bad: Rangers take Habs to overtime, then win; three point game there. Pitt beats down Atlanta ending its winning streak at six.

Wednesday's Game (and who the Panthers would be rooting for if they weren't so busy filling out their NCAA basketball brackets)

Devils @ Hurricanes, 7: Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur did something milestonish last night but I didn't hear what it was. Panthers just hope he can get another win tonight.

The Standings (presented by CN Tower and courtesy of tsn.ca/nhl)

Eastern

RankTeamGPWLOTPTSGFGAHomeAwayLast 10Streak
1Boston71451799923716724-6-521-11-44-5-1Lost 1
2New Jersey69462039521616925-10-121-10-28-2-0Won 4
3Washington72442269423221026-9-218-13-45-4-1Won 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
7Montreal70362598120821021-7-615-18-35-3-2Lost 3
8Carolina71362877920020319-13-117-15-65-3-2Lost 3
 
9Florida703426107819419918-10-616-16-44-4-2Lost 4
10Buffalo70342887620519720-12-314-16-53-5-2Lost 2
11Toronto712929137121325213-13-916-16-46-3-1Won 2
12Ottawa692930106818120018-12-611-18-46-3-1Won 2
13Atlanta71293666421624014-18-215-18-47-3-0Lost 1
14Tampa Bay702332156118423111-14-1012-18-53-4-3Lost 1
15NY Islanders70243885617622416-14-58-24-36-2-2Won 1
 

Western

RankTeamGPWLOTPTSGFGAHomeAwayLast 10Streak
1x-Detroit714715910326420926-5-421-10-57-2-1Won 3
2x-San Jose6945141010022217127-3-418-11-64-5-1Lost 1
3Calgary69402368622921422-8-418-15-25-5-0Lost 1
4Chicago68372298322218118-8-619-14-33-6-1Lost 3
5Vancouver69372398321019121-11-416-12-57-2-1Won 3
6Columbus70362867819419622-11-214-17-46-4-0Lost 1
7Edmonton69332797519421116-12-617-15-34-2-4Won 1
8Nashville70353057517919221-12-314-18-27-2-1Won 2
 
9Dallas70332987420121519-13-414-16-44-5-1Lost 1
10Minnesota70332987418017419-11-614-18-23-4-3Won 1
11St. Louis70322997319620719-13-513-16-46-3-1Lost 1
12Anaheim69323167019020116-16-316-15-34-5-1Lost 1
13Los Angeles692930106818220316-14-813-16-23-6-1Lost 3
14Phoenix70293566417221518-14-211-21-42-7-1Won 1
15Colorado71313826418722118-16-013-22-23-6-1Lost 2

Third Jerseys Headed Your Way

Wildjersey The Panthers have a third jersey coming down the pike, and it doesn't look anything like what we've seen from them in the past.

Want a retro-looking red jersey like the Panthers wore way back in 1996? Think a bright yellow jersey would look cool?

Forget it.

According to my source (David J. Neal), the new jersey is fairly similar to the Wild's third jersey as seen at left.

The main color is dark blue with light blue (no idea where that's coming from) on the sleeves, shoulders and bottom. Kind of looks like the Penguins.

The leaping cat logo is replaced on the front by a logo similar to the Wild. Florida on top; Panthers on bottom, the Panther head in the middle.

The Panthers say the jersey that was spotted today at Incredible Ice by David J. is not the final jersey and may just be some kind of prototype. That might explain the inclusion of the light blue. We still have to wait and see what the new jersey will look like, but this helps.

Maybe it will be red after all...

March 17, 2009

One Devil of a Goalie

Brodeur1 Congratulations are in order to New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur who became the NHL's all-time winningest goalie after beating Chicago on Tuesday night in Newark.

Brodeur won his 552nd game, one better than former Montreal/Colorado goalie Patrick Roy. It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

This from the NHL: Brodeur entered the game tied with Hockey Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy, who recorded 551 wins with the Montreal Canadiens and Colorado Avalanche from 1984-85 through 2002-03. Roy had held the record since Oct. 17, 2000, when he posted his 448th career win and passed Hall of Famer Terry Sawchuk.

Brodeur2 "Martin Brodeur is the gold standard of goaltending," said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.

"He is the model of character, consistency and commitment to the craft. A champion. A winner above all. It is difficult to imagine any player who is more universally, and deservedly, respected. The National Hockey League is extremely proud of Martin, his historic achievement and his enduring contribution to our game.''

Special thanks to Kentucky Mike for the pics. Better ones, he says, to come. These were from his cellphone.

It's St. Patrick's Day in Sunrise ... The Dancers Are Ready. Are You?... Fun with Alex O'Vechkin ... Billboard Advertising Historic Moment?

Irishhockey Greetings from the Irish-American Capital of the World: Sunrise, Florida.

Did you know that Sunrise has the biggest St. Patrick's Day Parade in the United States? Truth.

I went out on Sunrise Boulevard today to watch it, but there were only cars. I guess they had it on the weekend.

The Panthers are playing tonight in Sunrise, and there is much excitement over the team breaking out their traditional green jerseys tonight.

Little known fact: Florida's original colors were green and orange, but some local university (Barry, I think) said it owned the rights to those colors and the new hockey team decided not to fight it. But, once a year, they break out their original gear. Quite cool.

Snlscots The Ice Dancers are apparently ready for tonight's celebration of all things Irish and hockey (if it's not Irish and hockey, it's crap!) as they have broke out their special black halter top/bras and are doing a special jig to the Dropkick Murphys.

It is quite special, and I'm glad I got to see them do their pregame routine.

Twice. They are getting away with not wearing green by using green lights (green lanterns?) instead.

-- On a serious note, the Panthers are honoring Tomas Vokoun tonight for playing in 500 NHL games. The team was going to do it Saturday, but Tomas asked them to wait until his family was here. Tomas' wife and two daughters will be here, with the team honoring him with a Tiffany crystal as well as a two night stay at the Fountainbleu in Miami.

-- After the game, I'm planning on heading to the Cloverleaf Lanes in Miami. Anyone want to come with?

-- Everyone knows the Billboard never met an ad it never liked. But advertising something at a rival arena? It happened tonight during the first intermission as an ad for the opening round of the NCAA basketball tournament aired. That tournament, one might remember, is being held down the road at the AAA Miami Arena.

Of course, the NCAA tourny -- at least this round -- doesn't conflict with the Panthers. Those games -- which include your Cleveland State Vikings -- are being held on Friday and Sunday. The Panthers play on Saturday and Monday.

Just found it strange is all.

-- The NHL's favorite Irish player -- Alex O'Vechkin -- is in town tonight with the Washington O'Capitals. Thanks to astute OFP reader Phoebe F. for passing this link my way. This Alex fellow is quite funny, outgoing and engaging. Who knew? Enjoy.

Alex Tries To Sell Cars

Capital Gains? Washington Capitals @ Florida Panthers ... Bryan McCabe IN ... Nick Boynton, Anthony Stewart OUT

Capsign

SUNRISE -- The Capitals are in town, and we could call them the big, bad Capitals, although they haven't been playing all that well of late.

Washington had won three straight before being beat 5-1 in Atlanta on Monday night. Pete DeBoer was asked about that, and as expected, he said he had hoped the Capitals had won 8-0 ''and put their feet up a bit.''

Florida could be getting a pretty cranky Capitals team tonight. And that ain't good.

The Panthers, you may have heard, have lost three straight.

-- Bryan McCabe is back in the lineup tonight and will do so wearing a full plastic shield. He has to hate that. With McCabe in, Nick Boynton is back out.

-- Anthony Stewart will also take tonight's game off. Nick Tarnasky is back in.

-- Today's Games (and who the Panthers would be rooting for if they weren't so busy watching the World Baseball Classic)

Thrashers @ Penguins, 7:30: Can Atlanta keep up its winning ways? Florida sure would like it if the Thrash could. ATL has won six straight.

Capitals @ Panthers, 7:30: Florida sure does love watching this Ovechkin fella.

Rangers @ Canadiens, 7:30: Both teams are tied for sixth with 80 points. Rooting for a regulation win one way or another. No overtime here.

Sabres @ Senators, 7:30: Buffalo is still behind Florida, and I'm thinking the Panthers want to keep it that way.

-- The Standings (presented by the Greene Turtle and courtesy of tsn.ca/nhl)

Eastern

RankTeamGPWLOTPTSGFGAHomeAwayLast 10Streak
1Boston71451799923716724-6-521-11-44-5-1Lost 1
2New Jersey68452039321316724-10-121-10-28-2-0Won 3
3Washington71432269222921026-9-217-13-45-4-1Lost 1
4Philadelphia683721108421819621-10-416-11-65-4-1Lost 1
5Pittsburgh71372688222221619-12-318-14-58-0-2Won 1
6Montreal69362588020520621-7-515-18-36-3-1Lost 2
7NY Rangers70362688017719021-10-415-16-45-3-2Won 1
8Carolina71362877920020319-13-117-15-65-3-2Lost 3
 
9Florida693425107819419618-9-616-16-44-4-2Lost 3
10Buffalo69342787620319320-12-314-15-54-4-2Lost 1
11Toronto702829136920924913-13-915-16-46-3-1Won 1
12Ottawa682830106617719817-12-611-18-46-3-1Won 1
13Atlanta70293566421423414-18-215-17-48-2-0Won 6
14Tampa Bay692332146018122711-14-912-18-54-4-2Won 2
15NY Islanders70243885617622416-14-58-24-36-2-2Won 1
 

Western

RankTeamGPWLOTPTSGFGAHomeAwayLast 10Streak
1x-Detroit704615910126120725-5-421-10-57-2-1Won 2
2x-San Jose6845131010021916727-3-418-10-64-5-1Won 2
3Calgary69402368622921422-8-418-15-25-5-0Lost 1
4Chicago67372198322017818-8-619-13-33-6-1Lost 2
5Vancouver68362398120618920-11-416-12-57-2-1Won 2
6Columbus70362867819419622-11-214-17-46-4-0Lost 1
7Nashville70353057517919221-12-314-18-27-2-1Won 2
8Dallas69332887419921119-13-414-15-44-5-1Won 2
 
9Edmonton68322797319221015-12-617-15-33-2-5Lost 3
10St. Louis69322987219520519-13-513-16-37-3-0Won 1
11Minnesota69322987217717218-11-614-18-22-5-3Lost 4
12Anaheim69323167019020116-16-316-15-34-5-1Lost 1
13Los Angeles692930106818220316-14-813-16-23-6-1Lost 3
14Colorado70313816318521818-16-013-22-13-7-0Lost 1
15Phoenix69283566216821217-14-211-21-42-7-1Lost 5

March 16, 2009

Picture Pages ... Easy Monday ... Tuesday: Washington Capitals @ Florida Panthers ... Shootout the Lights? Shootout Something

Classpic The Panthers are holding a rare off-day practice at the Billboard today, the team just finishing up their team picture. They asked Cory Murphy and Noah Welch to stick around to get in, but both declined. They will be airbrushed in.

Speaking of rare, this guy is getting a day off and is not at the arena.

If any news pops up, I will pass along via the cellphone.

-- Capitals come to town tomorrow. They play in Atlanta tonight.

-- We all know the Panthers are pretty crummy when it comes to the shootout. How crummy? Our good friend George Richards at The Miami Herald spells it out. These guys don't know what to do about it. Me thinks some more creative moves would be a start.

-- Sunday's Games (and how they affected the Panthers): Bad day for the Panthers. Florida is back out of the playoff picture today, dropping to ninth after the Rangers and Penguins both won.

-- Monday's Games (and who the Panthers weren't rooting for if they weren't so busy scrapbooking)

There are no games the Panthers are really interested in today. They may watch the Capitals-Thrashers tonight out of curiosity, but that's probably about it.

-- The Standings (brought to you by Taylor Made, Colony West Country Club and courtesy of TSN,ca/nhl)

Eastern

RankTeamGPWLOTPTSGFGAHomeAwayLast 10Streak
1Boston71451799923716724-6-521-11-44-5-1Lost 1
2New Jersey68452039321316724-10-121-10-28-2-0Won 3
3Washington70432169222820526-9-217-12-45-4-1Won 3
4Philadelphia683721108421819621-10-416-11-65-4-1Lost 1
5Pittsburgh71372688222221619-12-318-14-58-0-2Won 1
6Montreal69362588020520621-7-515-18-36-3-1Lost 2
7NY Rangers70362688017719021-10-415-16-45-3-2Won 1
8Carolina71362877920020319-13-117-15-65-3-2Lost 3
 
9Florida693425107819419618-9-616-16-44-4-2Lost 3
10Buffalo69342787620319320-12-314-15-54-4-2Lost 1
11Toronto702829136920924913-13-915-16-46-3-1Won 1
12Ottawa682830106617719817-12-611-18-46-3-1Won 1
13Atlanta69283566220923313-18-215-17-47-3-0Won 5
14Tampa Bay692332146018122711-14-912-18-54-4-2Won 2
15NY Islanders70243885617622416-14-58-24-36-2-2Won 1
 

Western

RankTeamGPWLOTPTSGFGAHomeAwayLast 10Streak
1Detroit704615910126120725-5-421-10-57-2-1Won 2
2San Jose6845131010021916727-3-418-10-64-5-1Won 2
3Calgary69402368622921422-8-418-15-25-5-0Lost 1
4Chicago67372198322017818-8-619-13-33-6-1Lost 2
5Vancouver68362398120618920-11-416-12-57-2-1Won 2
6Columbus70362867819419622-11-214-17-46-4-0Lost 1
7Dallas69332887419921119-13-414-15-44-5-1Won 2
8Edmonton68322797319221015-12-617-15-33-2-5Lost 3
 
9Nashville69343057317518921-12-313-18-27-2-1Won 1
10St. Louis69322987219520519-13-513-16-37-3-0Won 1
11Minnesota69322987217717218-11-614-18-22-5-3Lost 4
12Anaheim69323167019020116-16-316-15-34-5-1Lost 1
13Los Angeles682929106817919916-13-813-16-24-5-1Lost 2
14Colorado70313816318521818-16-013-22-13-7-0Lost 1
15Phoenix69283566216821217-14-211-21-42-7-1Lost 5

March 14, 2009

Tonight: Tampa Bay Lighting @ Florida Panthers ... Talking with Cory Murphy and Noah Welch ... Bryan McCabe May Be Back ... Rostislav Olesz IN, Nasty Nick OUT

Lightningsign Apologize for not posting some stuff up here today, but once I got home from the morning skate I laid down and didn't wake up for three hours. Definitely needed that.

Anyway, as the previous post stated, Rostislav Olesz is in. Bryan McCabe is out until Tuesday after having facial surgery after getting hit by a puck last week. Nick Tarnasky will be the scratch tonight.

Here are some Florida notes to share and trade with your friends:

OLESZ RETURNS

Olesz2 Winger Rostislav Olesz was back in the lineup Saturday for the first time since being injured on Dec. 5. Olesz had sports hernia surgery on Jan. 28 and was expected to miss up to eight weeks of action.

Before missing 43 straight games, Olesz was having a disappointing season with two goals and three assists in 23 games. The Panthers wanted him to be more aggressive and be more active in his forechecking. Coach Pete DeBoer says he saw Olesz playing more the way the team wants him to before getting hurt. The team would also like him to shoot the puck more than he does.

''We battled with that .-.-. trying to get him to play to the identity we're trying to create here as a team,'' DeBoer said. ''Just before he got injured, I thought he was starting to get it. He was coming into his own and playing the way we wanted him to.''

BACK IN SUNRISE

Murphy3 Tampa Bay defenseman Cory Murphy got off the team bus at BankAtlantic Center and immediately told his teammates not to follow him. Murphy, it seems, had no idea where the visitors locker room was.

The Panthers waived Murphy in January and the Lightning picked him up. Murphy didn't see much playing time with Florida, but that has not been the case with the Lightning. A free agent after this season, Murphy has been able to log a lot of minutes for a Tampa Bay team that has struggled defensively. Since joining the Lightning, Murphy has four goals and nine assists.

''This is a totally different situation,'' he said. ''It's a lot more fun when you're playing and playing significant minutes."

WELCH'S CHANCE

Welch Like Murphy, Noah Welch has found plenty of playing time across the state. Welch wasn't used much in Florida and is happy the Panthers traded him to a place where he could play. Welch, who is now paired with Murphy, wouldn't say he was bitter with DeBoer – but it's obvious he is.

''Sometimes you knew you're weren't going to play no matter what happened,'' said Welch, averaging over 20 minutes a night in his first four games with the Lightning. ''It was a tough situation. I don't want to point fingers. It's a business. They felt they had a better chance of winning with the six guys they went with.''

-- DeBoer said defenseman Bryan McCabe could return Tuesday. McCabe has missed the past three games after having facial surgery.

OK, now onto the fun stuff:

Saturday's Games that affected the Panthers: Philadelphia beats the Rangers 4-2, so that's good news for the Panthers. I think catching the Flyers is now unrealistic as they are up seven on Florida, but the Rangers stay within a point. The Penguins pick up another point but have lost two straight in a shootout. That's good for the Cats, Pitt getting two of an available four instead of, well, all four. Pens now three up on the Cats.

DeBo on the wacky standings shuffle: "It's tough to watch, like a car accident. You're driving down the road and you don't want to look but you do. We better get used to it, and play through it.

"We've got no excuses. Our destiny is in our own hands. We've just got to take care of business."

Saturday's Games (and who the Panthers would be rooting for if they weren't so busy watching the Akron-Buffalo MAC Championship Game)

Thrashers @ Sabres, 7: Buffalo is 10-3 on home ice since Jan. 1. Florida would love to see the Thrash pull the upset but aren't betting the farm in Ontario on it.

Devils @ Canadiens, 7: Hockey Night in Canada is back in Montreal and this should be a good one. Habs are three ahead of the Panthers. Florida would like to keep it that way.

Hurricanes @ Capitals, 7: Caps aren't going to be caught, Canes can be. Rock the Red.

Lightning @ Panthers, 7: Florida is very happy for former teammates Cory Murphy and Noah Welch and would like to see them do well. So the Panthers are naturally rooting on the Bolts.

The Updated Standings (brought to you by Leonard Hamilton and courtesy of TSN.ca/NHL)


Eastern

RankTeamGPWLOTPTSGFGAHomeAwayLast 10Streak
1Boston70451699923316124-6-521-10-45-4-1Won 2
2New Jersey67442039121016624-10-120-10-27-3-0Won 2
3Washington69422169022320125-9-217-12-45-4-1Won 2
4Philadelphia673720108421719221-10-416-10-66-3-1Won 1
5Montreal68362488020420321-6-515-18-36-3-1Lost 1
6Pittsburgh70362688021621218-12-318-14-57-1-2Lost 2
7NY Rangers69352687817318920-10-415-16-44-4-2Lost 1
8Carolina70362867819619819-13-117-15-56-3-1Lost 2
 
9Florida68342597719119218-9-516-16-45-4-1Lost 2
10Buffalo68342777520018920-12-214-15-54-5-1Won 1
11Toronto692729136720124312-13-915-16-46-3-1Lost 1
12Ottawa682830106617719817-12-611-18-46-3-1Won 1
13Atlanta68273566020523013-18-214-17-46-3-1Won 4
14Tampa Bay682232145817722411-14-911-18-53-5-2Won 1
15NY Islanders69233885417222216-14-57-24-35-3-2Lost 1
 

Western

RankTeamGPWLOTPTSGFGAHomeAwayLast 10Streak
1Detroit69451599925720725-5-420-10-56-3-1Won 1
2San Jose664313109621616626-3-417-10-64-5-1Lost 1
3Calgary68402268622320622-8-418-14-26-4-0Won 1
4Chicago66372098321817418-7-619-13-34-5-1Lost 1
5Vancouver67352397920218719-11-416-12-57-2-1Won 1
6Columbus69362767819419222-10-214-17-46-4-0Won 4
7Edmonton67322787219020715-12-517-15-33-3-4Lost 2
8Dallas68322887219620918-13-414-15-43-6-1Won 1
 
9Minnesota67322877117216418-11-614-17-13-4-3Lost 2
10Nashville68333057117318921-12-312-18-26-2-2Lost 3
11Anaheim68323067019020016-15-316-15-34-5-1Won 1
12St. Louis68312987019020218-13-513-16-36-3-1Lost 1
13Los Angeles67292996717819716-13-813-16-14-6-0Lost 1
14Phoenix68283466216821017-13-211-21-43-6-1Lost 4
15Colorado68303716118021218-16-012-21-13-7-0Won 1

Tonight: Lightning @ Panthers ... Olesz IN; McCabe OUT

Quick note as I watch the Lightning skate at the Billboard: Rostislav Olesz is going to play tonight after being out the past few months. He had sports hernia surgery last month. Pete DeBoer says Bryan McCabe is out tonight, but expects him back Tuesday. DeBo adds he expects Nathan Horton to return in two weeks. More, later... Go Zips.

March 12, 2009

LIVE! Florida Panthers 1 @ Buffalo Sabres 3 (FINAL) ... Buffalo Nickels, Anthony Stewart and The Goalies Groulx ... Fake Randy Moller ... Scoreboard Watch, The Standings

Buffalo BUFFALO -- Good evening ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Buffalo Arena where the Florida Panthers try and remain among the Elite Eight in the Eastern Conference by beating the homestanding Buffalo Sabres.

As you can see in the standings listed below, it's still a tight, bunched up race in the east. The Panthers hold the eighth and final playoff slot in the east with 77 points. The Buffs are in 10th, four points back of the final spot. The New York Strangers are in ninth, one point back of the Leaping Cats.

If everything went Florida's way tonight -- a win and some losses from teams in front -- the Panthers could find themselves back in a tie for fifth in the east. Montreal is holding onto that spot with two extra points.

So lets see what happens. No local television tonight, so I'll be here for some play-by-play action (OK, not so much), will offer some jokes and general musings as the game goes along. If you don't have Center Ice, surely the game is being streamed somewhere, or you could find a place that bought the package.

For you old-school Victrola types, Randy 'Ma! The Meatloaf!' Moller and Billy 'I Beat the Bruins' Lindsay offer top-notch radio coverage.

-- From Mike in Kentucky: If I was charging a nickel per day to access this site today, would I take Buffalo nickels? As long as they aren't wooden, yes.

-- Anthony Stewart gets the call.

-- Pregame entertainment here is pretty good and something the Panthers really need to consider: Broadcasts of old games. Tonight, the 1996 Sabres take on the 1996 Panthers. Hey! There's Billy! And Doug McLean! Who's in goal? Why it's the Beezer!

Buffalo is leading 5-0, but there have been about a dozen fights. Fun stuff. Seriously Panthers: Start showing old games during pregame. It has to be better than the spinning Panther logo on the board.

LIVE! LIVE! LIVE!

-- About to do the anthems here in southern Ontario, so come on back as we kick this puppy off.

-- Starting Lineup -- FLA: Skrastins-Bouwmeester; Peltonen-Campbell-Dvorak; Vokoun.

-- Patrick 'Diet Coke with' Lalime is in net for the Sabrecats.

-- A few claps for Richard Zednik when he got to the puck. Was expecting more, quite frankly.

--SABRES SCORE -- JAROSLAV SPACEK SHOOTS THROUGH TRAFFIC AND GETS THE PUCK PAST EMINGER AND VOKOUN...ITS 1-0 SABRES @ 3:04...

-- Congrats to goalie coach Pierre Groulx and wife Wendy on their birth of their newest netminders Eli and Leo. They should be skating in about a month. You have to give them a little time to get going.

-- Vokoun just made a great save after Dominic Moore picked off the puck deep in the FLA zone and drove in. Pierre just tossed Leo into the air but made the glove save...

--MICHAL REPIK SHOOTS AND SCORES! AND I'LL HAVE A DIABLO SANDWICH AND A DR. PEPPER BUT MAKE IT QUICK BECAUSE I'M IN A HURRY! PANTHERS TIE IT AT 1 WITH 7:23 LEFT HERE IN THE FIRST. REPIK TWO GOALS IN FIVE NHL GAMES. THAT'S LIKE AN AVERAGE OF ONE PER GAME! ISN'T IT? I WAS TOLD THERE WOULD BE NO MATH.

-- If you know what movie the Fake Moller typed in, please leave in comment section. Thank you.

-- Just got a Facebook message from old OFP pal John Vogl of The Buffalo News. This game is going kind of slow...

-- Gilbert Perreault, center of the French Connection, is in da house. And that's always cool.

--SABRES MAKE IT 2-1...DANIEL PAILLE CHARGES UP THE LEFT SIDE, FIRES A SHOT THAT VOKOUN SHOULD HAVE STOPPED...WOULDA, COULDA, SHOULDA...IT'S 2-1 WITH 2:55 LEFT IN THE FIRST...

--Start of the second period here in Beefalo, Panthers take first penalty as Richard Zednik gets caught 'holding the stick' just 18 seconds into the period.

-- Vokoun just made a couple really sweet saves. Should be 3-1 right now...

-- Yeah Vokoun is on..he just made a leaping glove save of a shot from Thomas Vanek.Give that man a Gold Glove...

-- OK, that's the second...FLA 0-for-2 on the power play; Jay Bouwmeester just took a late penalty, so BUF on the power play for 1:50 to open the third...see you soon...

-- Sorry about the end of this one folks, was having serious internet issues and then had to go downstairs. Weird game, but the Panthers have a good chance to regroup with a five game homestand.

Fourteen games left; lots of time. But they needed a good showing here today and they just didn't seem to have it.

Buffalo did. They got some nice bounces and all, but you have a 5-on-3 for 67 seconds and you should score. The Panthers didn't. Good job by Patrick Lalime, too. Buffalo now 10-3 at home since Jan. 1.

OLD STUFF

-- Wednesday's Game (and how it affected the Panthers): Chicago beat Chicago in a shootout. Sure it was an exciting game, but I missed it. Canes get one point, enough to move back in front of the Panthers. Florida still has two in hand against the Canes.

-- Thursday's Games (and who the Panthers would be rooting for if they weren't busy sightseeing along the Erie Canal)

Panthers @ Sabres, 7 (LIVE!): Florida really likes Sabres coach Lindy Ruff and appreciate his fine coaching during the team's infancy (and run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1996). So, of course, Florida roots on the Sabres.

Caps @ Flyers, 7: Rare time the Panthers root on the Capitals. But, Flyers are still in site only five points up. Caps are 11 points up.

Penguins @ Blue Jackets, 7: Pens are red hot right now, but the Buckeyes are playing pretty good themselves. The Pens have to lose sometime, so why not tonight?

Palm Isles @ Canadiens, 7:30: The Habs came back to win in Bob Gainey's return to the bench. Can the Habs make it two straight. It is the Islanders, so, probably.

Rangers @ Predators, 8: Don't you love it when a team in the east playoff hunt plays a team in the west? Makes this rooting game awful easy.

Hurricanes @ Stars, 8:30: See above.

The Standings (Presented by Tim Hortons and Casino Niagara; courtesy of TSN.ca/nhl)

Eastern

RankTeamGPWLOTPTSGFGAHomeAwayLast 10Streak
1Boston68431699522615722-6-521-10-43-6-1Lost 2
2New Jersey66432038920516423-10-120-10-27-3-0Won 1
3Washington68412168822120025-9-216-12-44-5-1Won 1
4Philadelphia653619108221218820-9-416-10-66-3-1Won 2
5Montreal67362477920220021-6-415-18-36-3-1Won 2
6Pittsburgh68362667821020418-12-218-14-49-1-0Won 7
7Carolina69362767819419519-13-117-14-57-2-1Lost 1
8Florida67342497719018918-9-516-15-45-4-1Lost 1
 
9NY Rangers67342587616718320-10-414-15-44-4-2Lost 1
10Buffalo67332777319718819-12-214-15-54-5-1Lost 2
11Toronto682728136720023912-12-915-16-46-2-2Won 1
12Ottawa662729106417019017-12-610-17-45-4-1Won 4
13Atlanta67263565820122713-18-213-17-46-3-1Won 3
14Tampa Bay672132145617322311-14-910-18-52-5-3Lost 4
15NY Islanders67223785216821816-14-56-23-35-3-2Lost 1
 

Western

RankTeamGPWLOTPTSGFGAHomeAwayLast 10Streak
1San Jose654312109621516326-3-417-9-65-4-1Won 1
2Detroit67441589624719925-5-319-10-57-3-0Won 1
3Calgary67392268421720122-8-417-14-26-4-0Lost 3
4Chicago65371998321516918-6-619-13-35-4-1Won 1
5Vancouver66342397719818518-11-416-12-57-2-1Lost 2
6Columbus67342767418518621-10-213-17-46-4-0Won 2
7Edmonton66322777118720315-12-417-15-33-4-3Lost 1
8Nashville67332957117118521-11-312-18-26-2-2Lost 2
 
9Minnesota66322867017116218-11-614-17-04-4-2Lost 1
10Dallas67312887019320717-13-414-15-42-7-1Lost 2
11Anaheim68323067019020016-15-316-15-34-5-1Won 1
12St. Louis66302886818519617-12-513-16-36-3-1Won 1
13Los Angeles66292896717619316-13-813-15-14-6-0Won 3
14Phoenix67283366216620517-13-211-20-43-6-1Lost 3
15Colorado67293715917821117-16-012-21-13-7-0Lost 1

Hey Hey, Ho Ho, It's Buffalo: Florida Panthers @ Buffalo Sabres ... Thursday Night LIVE! ... Richard Zednik's Return ... Michael Repik UP and IN ... Service Charge = Raising Ticket Prices

181 BUFFALO -- Good afternoon hockey fans and welcome back to Miami Herald Hockey Central where I will soon be charging each person a nickel to come here and get their hockey and goofy picture fix.

Yes, I do accept Canadian nickels.

Sunny but cold day in Buffalo today, the wind whipping around like this was February or something. Had a typical Buffalo lunch -- mineral water and a grilled chicken salad with dressing on the side -- and then went over to the ballpark to check out the new Buffalo Bison gear. Yes, I got a hat.

-- Pete DeBoer says Michael Repik (recalled from Rochester today) will indeed be on the fourth line, DeBo saying he wanted to add some speed and skill to the lineup. Anthony Stewart or Nick Tarnasky will be scratched. DeBo makes some good points about bringing up Repik. First, he's having a very good year in Roch and deserves a chance. Second, by bringing him up, DeBo can slide him up and mix him up with other lines later in a game a whole lot easier than he can with Nick or Stewart.

-- Richard Zednik was swarmed by his cubical at the Buffalo rink today, so many reporters crowding around that neighbors Cory Stillman and Radek Dvorak walked around looking for something else to do. Stillman was checking out the press notes as if they were the Daily Racing Form. I wanted to offer him a pencil and ask who he liked in the fourth race at Pimlico. Personally, I like the 3-7-2 in that one.

As I told you earlier, Zednik popped onto the ice, skated over almost to the exact spot where he got clipped by Olli last year, braked, then skated back to the Florida bench. Very eerie. He says that was not done on purpose, he was just warming up.

More from Richard once I transcribe the tape.

This is from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News who spoke to Richard on the phone yesterday:

Ryan Miller –

 

What do you remember?: ”It was weird. It happened in the corner to my left, and I saw the whole thing develop. I saw the skate coming up, and it was like, “”Did that really just happen?’’ It was the reaction on his face before I saw the blood. I thought, “”He might be in trouble.’’

 

“”I remember staring at him as the puck went up the ice. If someone on their team had the puck, they would have had a good chance of scoring because I was just staring at him and looking for a referee. He was bleeding out. I was trying to get someone’s attention. I was like, “”I can’t believe that happened.’’

 

Did you see a look on his face of horror? “”He brought his hand up right when he got hit. I saw him do that, take a quick look around and bolt. I saw where the skate was going to hit.


 “”A lot of nights in hockey, last night I was watching a game and Wideman following Gomez, and his face was right next to a skate. I’m like, “”Oh, no.’’ Gomez even took a stride and it came right near his cheek.’’

 

Brian Campbell said the blood hitting the ice it sounded like a bucket of water on a driveway. Did you hear it? “”Did you notice? There were 18,000 people who went dead quiet. There was the initial gasp and then, nothing. Pominville came over to talk to me and had to skate over the trail of blood. We were all just waiting. They had clean up. Was he going to be OK? What are they doing? Are we going to keep playing?


“”I remember asking Pominville, “”Are we going to keep playing after this? I mean, this is terrible.’’ You look in the corner and all the way to the bench and see [the blood].. It was amazing how much and how bright it was.


“”I remember getting on one knee and saying, “”I can’t believe that just happened. I hope he’s OK.’’ That’s when it hit us. Obviously, it was a major artery or vein or something. We didn’t know what it was. It started hitting me at that moment: he could die.You don’t think about that in sport. Even when something bad happens – a guy gets hit hard or something – he’s going to get up''

 

Even when he doesn’t, you’re not thinking death – ”You don’t ever want to see someone get hurt. But when you see someone get laid out or something, you think it’s just something minor. This one, it was pretty apparent.’’

 

Dr. Robert McCormack – emergency room at Buffalo General Hosp

 

“”Everybody, including him, knew the severity of it and the time sensitiveness of it. There was not a minute, literally not a minute, to waste. The fact that he kept his composure and got himself off the ice made a huge difference. He knew this was a mortal wound. It was a huge, huge factor in him surviving this injury.


“”And, really, we’re talking about survival here. If things had gone wrong, he would have died. There’s no gray area here. “”We’re talking minutes being the difference between life and death here – minutes. For someone in emergency medicine, I don’t say that lightly.I can count on two hands where it’s a matter of minutes that somebody will die if something isn’t done right.’’

 

“”Even if he wasn’t an NHL player, it was a tremendously challenging case that had a great outcome. It would have been memorable in itself.’’

 

Richard Zednik –

“”It’s a big game [today]. We’re battling for the playoffs, and Buffalo is, too. That’s my thoughts. I’m preparing for the game tomorrow.’’

 

“”It happened. I know what happened, but it’s not something I keep in my mind. I’ve come here so many times, and nothing ever happened to me. I’m trying to focus on the game. Maybe, when I come to the locker room or go on the ice, it’s going to be different. But right now, I’m not thinking about what happened.’’

 

“”I was lucky. I couldn’t believe it when I was talking to all [medical] people about the process. Everybody was in the right place at the right second. Every second and every minute was counting. Everybody was ready to help me. I’m glad for that, that I can be here and playing in the game [today].’’

-- Since Goldie and the boys are back home, will go LIVE! from the press box at the Aud II tonight. Come on back around 6:45 and we should have this thing cranking in high gear. Could even have a special edition of the Goldie Report. Haven't asked him yet. But if he's home watching, sure he'll have time for his pals.

-- Have also been getting some reports from disgruntled season ticket holders who are happy the Panthers didn't technically raise the price of playoff tickets. Said ticket holders are a little ticked the team added a $7 per seat, per game ''service charge'' to those tickets, however.

I'm putting in a call now to Michael Yormark.

If the Panthers are charging a ''service fee'' to tickets that never had a ''service fee'' before, well, that's raising the price of playoff tickets. No bones about that one.

UPDATED: Michal Repik on Fourth Line ... Richard Zedik's Return to Buffalo

NIAGARA FALLS - Just got word that Michal Repik was recalled from Rochester and will be at the morning skate at Marine Midland Bank Arena later this morning. Don't know any more. I do know Tim Hortons coffee is awesome. But that's about it. More soon... ** Now in Buffalo, thank you very little. Looks like Kamil Kreps is taking over at center of the Nathan Horton line with Brett McLean centering the fourth where Repik appears to be playing. Don't know who is out Anthony or Nasty. - A few camera crews here to document Richard Zedik's return to the Buffalo rink. The second player on the ice after Kreps, Zenik went right to the spot where the accident with Olli happened, slammed on the brakes and took off toward the Florida bench. Lake Eerie. It is strange being back in this barn. Lot of strange memories. Just very thankful it all worked out. More, I assure you, later...

March 11, 2009

Slow News Day ... Optional Skate, Option to Rochester

Onfrozennews TORONTO -- The Panthers didn't do much today, save for hold an optional skate in Amherst, N.Y.

Was told a lot of guys were not going to be there so I skipped too.

So, the Richard Zednik circus waits another day.

-- The Panthers made one move today, sending Keaton Ellerby back down the road to Rochester. That doesn't mean he wouldn't be back tomorrow. It just means Rochester is really close to Buffalo.

-- Sat with Ellerby and Rostislav Olesz last night in the press box at the Igloo.

Olesz usually goes for the press box popcorn, but last night he threw me a curve and went strong with the Goldfish crackers. Ellerby did right by going for the corn. Neither guy lost, however. The popcorn vs. Goldfish crackers debate rages on yet another day.

-- On a separate note, thanks to everyone for their nice e-mails today. It's been a rough day for not only the folks at The Miami Herald but in our industry as a whole. But today is especially sad for us. Losing some good, good people. Co-workers, yes. Friends, absolutely. Hopefully things get better for us before they get any worse. I don't know what else I can say about this other than today absolutely sucks. I wish it was different.

-- Also, congratulations are in store for my good friend Louise Crocco. After 40 years as a coach and administrator at Cardinal Gibbons High in Fort Lauderdale, coach Crocco is retiring. She told me this morning it's just time, time to relax and enjoy that house in North Carolina a little more. Good for her. Few people in Florida -- or in the country -- have done more to promote women's athletics than coach Crocco. She will be missed.

Beef On Weck: Panthers Move On T.O. Buffalo ... Scoreboard Watch, Standings

TO2 PITTSBURGH -- Good morning South Florida. Yes, this is an early post, but since technically it's Wednesday, this works for me.

Have to travel to Buffalo in the morning (the team is probably touching down about now) and will be gone most of the day. So, figured, as long as I couldn't sleep, might as well put up a post.

Things I noticed today:

-- The Penguins are a pretty good team right now, a team I don't think anyone would want to play in the opening round.

-- The media meal at Mellon Arena is awful (actually I already knew that) and downright expensive.

-- Ohio must have more state troopers per capita than any other state in tBufordtjustice he union. Seriously, most of the people in that state drive sloooow. There cannot be that much business to justify all of those cruisers.

That said, I will be staying out of the Buckeye State tomorrow.

-- Steeler fans absolutely despise their new mascot, something by the name of Steely McBeam. Think it's supposed to be an auto worker or something, which is strange, because when I think of auto workers, I automatically think Oakland.

Anyway, the Steeler fans I know and love quietly, respectfully and politely requested that not only should I delete the previous picture of Steely, but I should never bring him up in one of my posts again.

And I have agreed to do just that. You will never see that awful mascot on these pages, not as long as I have a say in it. You are welcome Pittsburgh.

Steely Dan?

Steely1 Steely2 Steely3 Steely4 Steely5

-- Back to hockey. PS: Tomas Vokoun is money.

Hard to feel good about blowing a 3-1 lead in the third period and end up losing in a shootout, but you know what? The Panthers have to feel OK about tonight.

Honestly, if you were in that building the minute Jordan Staal scored to cut Florida's lead to one goal early in the third, there is no way you would have thought the Panthers won that game. I wouldn't have even thought they'd survive to get the point. That team and that arena was just rolling.

Steely6 But Vokoun and the Panthers held on. Yes, they lost. Yes, they still stink when it comes to shootouts. But they got a point and live to fight another day.

''This was a tough building, a tough environment,'' said coach Pete DeBoer, whose team was 24-1-1 coming into the night when leading going into the third. ''It's a big point for us at this time of the year. We had the opportunity to get two and you want to get greedy at this time of the year. I think with how the game went and how good our goalie was, we'll take one point and start concentrating on Buffalo.''

More from DeBo: ''It's just about picking up points and staying with the pack at this time of year,'' DeBoer said. ''It's going to come right down to the end. It would have been nice to get two, but I don't think we deserved two. We played a good road game. Our goalie got us a point. That's good.''

-- Forty-seven saves for Vokoun tonight. A good chunk of them coming in the third (I left my scoresheet in the Igloo media room because it had stuck to the table that no one bothered to clean after a very greasy dinner).

-- Panthers will probably -- OK, most definitely -- be talking Richard Zednik tomorrow. And probably -- OK, most definitely -- again on Thursday.

Tomorrow is Florida's first practice in Buffalo since the Feb. 10, 2008 accident with Olli Jokinen and Thursday will mark the Panthers first return to the Buffalo Auditorium II since then.

-- So, unless something crazy happens, I'll be back when I'm in Buffalo. They have Tim Hortons there you know. Not trying to make folks jealous or anything, but I'll be going to Tim Hortons.

Anchorbar Also, Buffalo is best known for inventing the Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad. You can look that one up if you don't believe me.

-- Oh, and with Goldie, Denis and the rest of the disgruntled FSN staff on a very early flight headed to South Florida later this morning (it is after midnight), I will be going LIVE! from atop Marine Midland Bank Arena in beautiful (argh!) downtown Buffalo come Thursday night.

But they'll be more before then. You just know there will be.

Wings -- Tuesday's Scores (and how they affected the Panthers): Well, Pitt moves out of the tie and takes over sixth place with the win over the Floridians. Florida and Carolina are tied for seventh, one point back of the Pitts. Montreal storms back and beats Edmonton in overtime, so the Habs are good in fifth. Buffalo is still out of the mix, the Sabres losing a big one to the Flyers. They'll be coming out hard as nails on Thursday bet your sweet wingie.

-- Wednesday's Games (and who the Panthers would be rooting for if they weren't busy slamming chicken wings at The Anchor)

Hurricanes at Blackhawks, 8:30: Um, how about Chicago? Yeah, I would think the Panthers would be rooting for the Chicagos in this one.

Buffalobraves -- The Standings (presented by the NBA's Buffalo Braves, Jim's SteakOut, Steely McBeam and offered ever so gratiously by TSN.ca/nhl)


Eastern

RankTeamGPWLOTPTSGFGAHomeAwayLast 10Streak
1Boston68431699522615722-6-521-10-43-6-1Lost 2
2New Jersey66432038920516423-10-120-10-27-3-0Won 1
3Washington68412168822120025-9-216-12-44-5-1Won 1
4Philadelphia653619108221218820-9-416-10-66-3-1Won 2
5Montreal67362477920220021-6-415-18-36-3-1Won 2
6Pittsburgh68362667821020418-12-218-14-49-1-0Won 7
7Florida67342497719018918-9-516-15-45-4-1Lost 1
8Carolina68362757719219219-13-117-14-48-2-0Won 4
 
9NY Rangers67342587616718320-10-414-15-44-4-2Lost 1
10Buffalo67332777319718819-12-214-15-54-5-1Lost 2
11Toronto682728136720023912-12-915-16-46-2-2Won 1
12Ottawa652629106216718816-12-610-17-44-4-2Won 3
13Atlanta67263565820122713-18-213-17-46-3-1Won 3
14Tampa Bay662132135517122011-14-910-18-42-6-2Lost 3
15NY Islanders67223785216821816-14-56-23-35-3-2Lost 1
 

Western

RankTeamGPWLOTPTSGFGAHomeAwayLast 10Streak
1San Jose654312109621516326-3-417-9-65-4-1Won 1
2Detroit67441589624719925-5-319-10-57-3-0Won 1
3Calgary67392268421720122-8-417-14-26-4-0Lost 3
4Chicago64361998121216717-6-619-13-35-4-1Lost 2
5Vancouver65342387619518118-11-416-12-48-2-0Lost 1
6Columbus67342767418518621-10-213-17-46-4-0Won 2
7Edmonton66322777118720315-12-417-15-33-4-3Lost 1
8Nashville67332957117118521-11-312-18-26-2-2Lost 2
 
9Minnesota66322867017116218-11-614-17-04-4-2Lost 1
10Dallas67312887019320717-13-414-15-42-7-1Lost 2
11St. Louis66302886818519617-12-513-16-36-3-1Won 1
12Anaheim67313066818619715-15-316-15-33-6-1Lost 3
13Los Angeles66292896717619316-13-813-15-14-6-0Won 3
14Phoenix67283366216620517-13-211-20-43-6-1Lost 3
15Colorado67293715917821117-16-012-21-13-7-0Lost 1

March 10, 2009

Iron City Light: Florida Panthers @ Pittsburgh Penguins ... Keaton Ellerby UP ... Tomas Vokoun IN ... Bryan McCabe, Nathan Horton, Gary Roberts, Mike Van Ryn OUT

Steeler PITTSBURGH -- Just got back from lunch with the radio and television voices of the Panthers, a rare day in which all of us had some variation of the same salad.

Yes, we're in Pittsburgh -- home of really tasty vittles -- and we ate salad in the hotel lobby bar.

Lame. Oh.

Well, Pete DeBoer took the tasty route last night in the Steel City, saying he had a Jerome Bettis special, an Italian sausage sandwich that is battered and deep fried. ''I am paying the price for that right now,'' DeBoer said.

-- Speaking of deep friend sandwiches, funny story from last night: Cousin Paulie took me out to a place in Ohio where the owner became an ordained minister just so his patrons can smoke while playing pool and not watching hockey (did you know Dish Network offers Versus, but as an upgrade? An upgrade this place didn't have).

Apparently the Ohio smoking laws don't apply to churches and this guy says his joint is basically his church. Pretty original. And pretty hazy.

-- Keaton Ellerby was brought back up from Rochester just in case Jassen Cullimore has to rush home to be with his expectant wife. Saw Cully on the elevator a few minutes ago, so, he's still here. For now.

-- Newbie Steve Eminger replaces Bryan McCabe on the top power play unit.

-- Gary Roberts officially announces his retirement. Sucks to end this way....

-- Mike Van Ryn is done for the season after suffering another injury. Tough couple of years for Ryno.

Dwyane -- Monday's Games (and how they affected Los Panteros): Carolina beat the Rangers 3-0, so the Hurricanes skip ahead in line -- but at least the game didn't go to overtime. Florida still has two games in hand on Carolina. Montreal didn't play, but certainly shook things up as Guy Carbonneau was fired and replaced by GM Bob Gainey.

-- Tuesday's Games (and who the Panthers would be rooting for if they weren't so busy eating deep fried sausage sandwiches)

Sabres @ Flyers, 7: Sabres are three points back from a playoff spot so with a win they don't get in. I would say Florida actually roots for Philly; going to be hard to catch them for the fourth seed (yes a FLA win and PHL loss closes the gap to two, but Phightin Phils still have two games in hand). Buffalo being slowed isn't a bad option.

Panthers @ Pens, 7:30: Florida really enjoys watching the Sid and Malkin show. So, naturally, the Panthers root for the Pens in this one. Pittsburgers (with cheese and extra pickles) have won six straight. And the new arena is going up as we speak. Lot of iron.

Oilers @ Canadiens, 7:30: Oil Can Boyd.

Caps @ Preds, 8: If Florida can win tonight and the Preds topple the Caps, Florida is eight points back of first in the Southeast. Sure, it's a near impossibility, but if Florida can put up the kind of run the Caps did last year at this time, nothing is out of reach.

-- The Standings (presented by Jerome Bettis Grill 36 and courtesy of TSN.ca/nhl)

Eastern

RankTeamGPWLOTPTSGFGAHomeAwayLast 10Streak
1Boston67431599522615522-6-521-9-44-5-1Lost 1
2New Jersey65422038720216222-10-120-10-27-3-0Lost 1
3Washington67402168621919925-9-215-12-44-5-1Lost 4
4Philadelphia643519108020718619-9-416-10-66-3-1Won 1
5Montreal66352477719819720-6-415-18-35-4-1Won 1
6Carolina68362757719219219-13-117-14-48-2-0Won 4
7Florida66342487618718518-9-516-15-36-4-0Won 1
8Pittsburgh67352667620620117-12-218-14-48-1-1Won 6
 
9NY Rangers67342587616718320-10-414-15-44-4-2Lost 1
10Buffalo66332677319518319-12-214-14-54-5-1Lost 1
11Toronto672628136519723711-12-915-16-45-2-3Lost 2
12Ottawa652629106216718816-12-610-17-44-4-2Won 3
13Atlanta66253565619822713-18-212-17-46-3-1Won 2
14Tampa Bay662132135517122011-14-910-18-42-6-2Lost 3
15NY Islanders66223775116621516-14-56-23-25-4-1Won 2
 

Western

RankTeamGPWLOTPTSGFGAHomeAwayLast 10Streak
1San Jose644212109421015926-3-416-9-65-4-1Lost 4
2Detroit66431589424419724-5-319-10-56-3-1Lost 1
3Calgary66392168421519822-8-417-13-26-3-1Lost 2
4Chicago64361998121216717-6-619-13-35-4-1Lost 2
5Vancouver65342387619518118-11-416-12-48-2-0Lost 1
6Columbus66332767218318620-10-213-17-45-4-1Won 1
7Edmonton65322767018419915-12-417-15-24-4-2Won 1
8Nashville66332947017018321-11-212-18-26-3-1Lost 1
 
9Dallas66312787019120217-13-414-14-43-6-1Lost 1
10Minnesota65322856916715718-11-514-17-04-4-2Won 1
11Anaheim67313066818619715-15-316-15-33-6-1Lost 3
12Los Angeles66292896717619316-13-813-15-14-6-0Won 3
13St. Louis65292886618019416-12-513-16-36-3-1Lost 1
14Phoenix66283356116420217-13-211-20-33-7-0Lost 2
15Colorado66293615917820817-15-012-21-14-6-0Won 1

March 09, 2009

Nathan Horton: Out with Broken Finger ... Brett McLean Moves Up ... Scores, REALLY UPDATED Standings, Zippy

Horton2 Florida center Nathan Horton will be out an undisclosed amount of time after having surgery to repair the ring finger on his left hand, The Miami Herald's David J. Neal is reporting.

Horton told Neal today at Incredible Ice that his hand was stepped on right before David Booth scored his third goal against the Blues on Saturday. Horton had surgery following the game and has his hand in a splint. He says the trainers have not given him a timetable for a return.

Horton, 23, scored his 19th goal of the season on Saturday. Horton is third on the team in scoring with 38 points. He missed nine games earlier this season after taking a skate to his foot, the deep laceration costing him a few weeks on the IR.

''There's nothing you can do,'' Horton said Monday morning. ''It's a freak thing, just like my foot injury earlier in the year.''

Brett McLean taking Horton's spot centering David Booth and Richard Zednik.

-- Bryan McCabe is not skating today, assuming it's because of his broken nose suffered Saturday. Again: Dude was a mess.

-- I'm taking Monday off and visiting family in Ohio. If David J. has any more news from Coral Springs he will relay it and you can read about it right here.

-- Sunday's Scores (and how they affected the Panthers): Florida got no help yesterday during Scoreboard Watch. None. Pittsburgh won a game in which the Capitals picked up a point, the Rangers won late in the third against Boston, and Montreal bumrushed the Stars -- who have now lost six straight at home for the first time since they were called the Minnesota North Wild.

-- Today's Game (and who the Panthers would be rooting for if they weren't hanging out eating Primanti Brothers sandwiches with Ben Roethlisberger)

Rangers @ Hurricanes, 7 Versus: Good matchup, eh? This is a game the Panthers may be paying attention to, but truthfully, why bother. The Panthers lose in this one regardless of who wins. Florida is just rooting for someone to win in regulation. No three point game here please.

Zippy11 The Standings (presented by the Buffalo Wild Wings @ the University of Akron and courtesy of NHL.com)



DIV GP W L OT Pts GF GA Home Away L10 Streak
1 NE 67 43 15 9 95 226 155 22-6-5 21-9-4 4-5-1 Lost 1
2 ATL 65 42 20 3 87 202 162 22-10-1 20-10-2 7-3-0 Lost 1
3 SE 67 40 21 6 86 219 199 25-9-2 15-12-4 4-5-1 Lost 4
4 ATL 64 35 19 10 80 207 186 19-9-4 16-10-6 6-3-1 Won 1
5 NE 66 35 24 7 77 198 197 20-6-4 15-18-3 5-4-1 Won 1
6 SE 66 34 24 8 76 187 185 18-9-5 16-15-3 6-4-0 Won 1
7 ATL 66 34 24 8 76 167 180 20-10-4 14-14-4 4-4-2 Won 3
8 ATL 67 35 26 6 76 206 201 17-12-2 18-14-4 8-1-1 Won 6

9 SE 67 35 27 5 75 189 192 18-13-1 17-14-4 7-3-0 Won 3
10 NE 66 33 26 7 73 195 183 19-12-2 14-14-5 4-5-1 Lost 1
11 NE 66 26 27 13 65 196 235 11-12-9 15-15-4 5-2-3 Lost 1
12 NE 64 25 29 10 60 165 187 15-12-6 10-17-4 4-4-2 Won 2
13 SE 66 25 35 6 56 198 227 13-18-2 12-17-4 6-3-1 Won 2
14 SE 66 21 32 13 55 171 220 11-14-9 10-18-4 2-6-2 Lost 3
15 ATL 66 22 37 7 51 166 215 16-14-5 6-23-2 5-4-1 Won 2



DIV GP W L OT Pts GF GA Home Away L10 Streak
1 PAC 64 42 12 10 94 210 159 26-3-4 16-9-6 5-4-1 Lost 4
2 CEN 66 43 15 8 94 244 197 24-5-3 19-10-5 6-3-1 Lost 1
3 NW 66 39 21 6 84 215 198 22-8-4 17-13-2 6-3-1 Lost 2
4 CEN 64 36 19 9 81 212 167 17-6-6 19-13-3 5-4-1 Lost 2
5 NW 64 34 22 8 76 193 178 18-11-4 16-11-4 8-2-0 Won 4
6 CEN 66 33 27 6 72 183 186 20-10-2 13-17-4 5-4-1 Won 1
7 NW 65 32 27 6 70 184 199 15-12-4 17-15-2 4-4-2 Won 1
8 CEN 66 33 29 4 70 170 183 21-11-2 12-18-2 6-3-1 Lost 1

9 PAC 66 31 27 8 70 191 202 17-13-4 14-14-4 3-6-1 Lost 1
10 NW 65 32 28 5 69 167 157 18-11-5 14-17-0 4-4-2 Won 1
11 PAC 67 31 30 6 68 186 197 15-15-3 16-15-3 3-6-1 Lost 3
12 CEN 65 29 28 8 66 180 194 16-12-5 13-16-3 6-3-1 Lost 1
13 PAC 65 28 28 9 65 173 191 15-13-8 13-15-1 4-6-0 Won 2
14 PAC 66 28 33 5 61 164 202 17-13-2 11-20-3 3-7-0 Lost 2
15 NW 66 29 36 1 59 178 208 17-15-0 12-21-1 4-6-0 Won 1




































































































































































































































































































































































































































March 08, 2009

Good Morning Miami II ... Lazy Sunday with Scoreboard Watch, Standings

Airplane Nothing witty nor all that interesting to give you this morning, but as I sit in Terminal 3 in Fort Lauderdale (or is it Dania Beach?), I need something to do to keep my eyes open.

Daylight Saving Time? Really? Today?

Anyway, nice win by the Florida Panthers last night, David Booth getting a trio of goals and Tomas Vokoun getting the win in his 500th NHL game. Talked to Tomas about the milestone and will have some more stuff on that later. Probably after I get some sleep.

Panthers storm into fifth place in the east, but everyone knows that spot in the standings probably won't last all that long, Things are just to close.

-- Got to dig the toughness of hockey players, no? Bryan McCabe's mug was tore up last night thanks to a puck that hit him in the face and broke his schnozz. How many shifts you think McCabe missed after getting some stitches. I don't know the answer, but it wasn't many. McCabe looked like Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler last night.

Trivia Time: David Booth became the fourth Panther to get two hat tricks in one season. Who are the other three? Submit your answers below -- Saturday's Scores (and how they affected the Panthers): The Panthers sure helped out their own lot by beating the hard-charging Blues. Carolina did the Panthers no favor, beating the Bucs 9-3 in a defensive struggle. Who wants to watch a game with four field goals?

-- Sunday's Games (and who the Panthers would be rooting for if they weren't at Sunday brunch swigging mamosas and stuffing turkey sausage into their waffles)

Bruins @ Rangers, 12:30 NBC: This is a pretty good matchup and should be interesting to watch. That said, the Panthers will be cheering on the Bruins.

Pens @ Caps 3: Washington is struggling lately and can't seem to get its offense in gear. Pittsburgh wants to get back into the Elite Eight.

Canadiens @ Dallas, 6: Canadiens are slumping, but the Stars aren't exciting lighting things up.

The Standings (presented by US Airways and courtesy of TSN.ca)

Eastern

RankTeamGPWLOTPTSGFGAHomeAwayLast 10Streak
1Boston66431499522315122-6-521-8-44-4-2Won 1
2New Jersey65422038720216222-10-120-10-27-3-0Lost 1
3Washington66402158521619525-9-115-12-45-5-0Lost 3
4Philadelphia643519108020718619-9-416-10-66-3-1Won 1
5Florida66342487618718518-9-516-15-36-4-0Won 1
6Montreal65342477519519620-6-414-18-35-4-1Lost 2
7Carolina67352757518919218-13-117-14-47-3-0Won 3
8NY Rangers65332487416317719-10-414-14-43-4-3Won 2
 
9Pittsburgh66342667420219817-12-217-14-47-2-1Won 5
10Buffalo66332677319518319-12-214-14-54-5-1Lost 1
11Toronto662627136519623511-12-915-15-45-2-3Lost 1
12Ottawa642529106016518715-12-610-17-44-4-2Won 2
13Tampa Bay662132135517122011-14-910-18-42-6-2Lost 3
14Atlanta65243565419322512-18-212-17-45-4-1Won 1
15NY Islanders65213774916321315-14-56-23-25-4-1Won 1
 

Western

RankTeamGPWLOTPTSGFGAHomeAwayLast 10Streak
1San Jose644212109421015926-3-416-9-65-4-1Lost 4
2Detroit66431589424419724-5-319-10-56-3-1Lost 1
3Calgary65392068421319322-8-417-12-27-2-1Lost 1
4Chicago63361898121116217-5-619-13-36-3-1Lost 1
5Vancouver64342287619317818-11-416-11-48-2-0Won 4
6Columbus66332767218318620-10-213-17-45-4-1Won 1
7Edmonton65322767018419915-12-417-15-24-4-2Won 1
8Dallas65312687019019917-12-414-14-44-5-1Won 1
 
9Nashville66332947017018321-11-212-18-26-3-1Lost 1
10Anaheim66312966818419415-14-316-15-34-5-1Lost 2
11Minnesota64312856716415518-11-513-17-03-5-2Lost 1
12St. Louis65292886618019416-12-513-16-36-3-1Lost 1
13Los Angeles65282896517319115-13-813-15-14-6-0Won 2
14Phoenix65283256116219917-13-211-19-33-7-0Lost 1
15Colorado65283615717320717-15-011-21-13-7-0Lost 6

March 07, 2009

It's Hockey Night in South Florida ... St. Louis Blues @ Florida Panthers ... Scoreboard Watch, Standings

Bluessign The Panthers appear to have fixed their new signage outside the Billboard, obviously adhering to Sunrise's ban on advertising. It's a cruel world, but no one is above the law. Or zoning ordinances.

Good game on tap in Sunrise tonight, the Blues coming in with one of the best records in the game since Jan. 1. The Blues are just two points out of a playoff spot in the uber-tight Western Conference, and would like to keep the good times rolling against the Panthers.

After losing to New Jersey on Dec. 30, the Blues were singing the Blues at 14-20-3. They are now 29-27-8. That's a nice turnaround. But doesn't it sound familiar? It should. After losing to the Islanders on Dec. 31, the Panthers were 16-16-5. Now? 33-24-8.

Since Jan. 1, the Blues are 15-7-5 for 35 points. Florida: 17-8-3 for 37. Not too shabby on either side. Again, should be a good game tonight.

Friday's Scores (and how they affected the Panthers): Panthers got a little help from Atlanta way as the Thrashers show Canada hockey is indeed played in the deep south as Atlanta thrashes the Canadiens 2-0. Big problems in Montreal. Florida didn't get any love from the Calgary JokiKeenans, the Flames going down in flames to Carolina. Buffalo also put a hurtin on the Coyotes.

Saturday's Games (and who the Panthers would be rooting for if they weren't busy helping change the new marquees in front of the arena)

Sabres @ Sens, 7: Buffalo is getting close. Need a Sens win to push them back a little more.

Preds @ Flyers, 7: Philly is still within view. Desperate Preds could pull out a win here and help the lower half of the East's playoff teams in the process.

Blues @ Panthers, 7: Florida players enjoy their music, and the bluesy play of the St. Louis Six has impressed them. The Panthers enjoy rooting for other teams. So, Blues.

Canes @ Lightning, 7:30: The Panthers usually don't like the Bolts, but with Cory Murphy and Noah Welch playing so well over there, they make an exception tonight.

The Standings (presented by Daylight Saving Time and the Quarterdeck; courtesy of ESPN.com)

Eastern Conference
   GP W L OTL PTS GF GA PP% PK% HOME AWAY L10
Boston 66 43 14 9 95 223 151 22.9 82.8 22-6-5 21-8-4 4-4-2
New Jersey 64 42 19 3 87 199 155 19.7 82.1 22-10-1 20-9-2 8-2-0
Washington 66 40 21 5 85 216 195 24.4 79.6 25-9-1 15-12-4 5-5-0
Philadelphia 63 34 19 10 78 203 185 21.5 82.5 18-9-4 16-10-6 6-3-1
Montreal 65 34 24 7 75 195 196 17.9 82.4 20-6-4 14-18-3 5-4-1
Florida 65 33 24 8 74 182 182 15.3 82.8 17-9-5 16-15-3 5-5-0
NY Rangers 65 33 24 8 74 163 177 14.4 87.5 19-10-4 14-14-4 3-4-3
Pittsburgh 66 34 26 6 74 202 198 16.2 80.1 17-12-2 17-14-4 7-2-1
 Buffalo 65 33 25 7 73 192 177 21.9 84.0 19-12-2 14-13-5 5-4-1
 Carolina 66 34 27 5 73 180 189 16.4 79.4 18-13-1 16-14-4 7-3-0
 Toronto 65 26 26 13 65 195 231 19.5 75.3 11-11-9 15-15-4 6-1-3
 Ottawa 63 24 29 10 58 159 184 19.4 81.2 14-12-6 10-17-4 4-4-2
 Tampa Bay 65 21 31 13 55 168 211 17.5 79.2 11-13-9 10-18-4 2-6-2
 Atlanta 65 24 35 6 54 193 225 19.6 75.3 12-18-2 12-17-4 5-4-1
 NY Islanders 64 20 37 7 47 156 210 16.5 81.9 14-14-5 6-23-2 4-5-1
Western Conference
   GP W L OTL PTS GF GA PP% PK% HOME AWAY L10
San Jose 63 42 11 10 94 209 156 24.2 83.1 26-3-4 16-8-6 5-4-1
Detroit 65 43 14 8 94 242 189 27.3 77.7 24-4-3 19-10-5 6-3-1
Calgary 65 39 20 6 84 213 193 19.1 84.8 22-8-4 17-12-2 7-2-1
Chicago 63 36 18 9 81 211 162 21.0 80.9 17-5-6 19-13-3 6-3-1
Vancouver 63 33 22 8 74 190 177 18.7 79.2 17-11-4 16-11-4 8-2-0
Nashville 65 33 28 4 70 169 179 14.3 84.4 21-11-2 12-17-2 7-2-1
Columbus 65 32 27 6 70 175 184 12.5 81.2 20-10-2 12-17-4 5-4-1
Dallas 65 31 26 8 70 190 199 16.3 79.8 17-12-4 14-14-4 4-5-1
 Edmonton 64 31 27 6 68 180 198 16.8 76.8 15-12-4 16-15-2 4-4-2
 Anaheim 66 31 29 6 68 184 194 21.4 79.9 15-14-3 16-15-3 4-5-1
 Minnesota 63 31 27 5 67 161 151 20.9 88.1 18-11-5 13-16-0 3-5-2
 St. Louis 64 29 27 8 66 177 189 20.7 82.4 16-12-5 13-15-3 7-2-1
 Los Angeles 64 27 28 9 63 169 188 20.1 81.8 14-13-8 13-15-1 3-6-1
 Phoenix 65 28 32 5 61 162 199 14.6 77.7 17-13-2 11-19-3 3-7-0
 Colorado 65 28 36 1 57 173 207 16.5 79.5 17-15-0 11-21-1 3-7-0





Saturday Night Live: St. Louis Blues @ Florida Panthers

Save for Anthony Stewart accidentily (so he says) checking coach Pete DeBoer, practice was pretty non-eventful. "Trust me," Stewart said, "that's the last guy I want to hit." Well, Stewart's out of the lineup today replaced by Nasty Nick Tarnasky. Aside from that, the lineup stays the same. Steve Eminger is in, Nick Boynton is out for a fifth straight game. More later...

March 06, 2009

See Ya Gary ... Olli Jokinen's Fast Start ... Saturday: St. Louis Blues @ Florida Panthers ... Tomas Vokoun IN ... Scorebard Watch, Standings

Garyroberts Gary Roberts' illustrious NHL career appears to be over, TSN reporting today that Robs is going to shut it down after being waived by Tampa Bay and failing to be claimed by anyone.

It would have been nice for Gary to end his career in a playoff game, or perhaps back in the Stanley Cup Finals. You just don't expect a guy with his competitive level to end things with 20 something games left.

Roberts, who came to the Panthers with buddy Joe Nieuwendyk soon after the free agency period started after the lockout in 2005, spent parts of two seasons with the Cats.

He was traded at the 2007 deadline to Pittsburgh for Noah Welch. He played two seasons with the Pens, helping them to the Finals last year. He signed a nice contract with the Lightning during the offseason, a contract that hamstrung his hopes of being picked up off waivers.

Roberts has a huge base salary and a bonus for every game he plays. There aren't many teams that can squeeze that in.

I always enjoyed talking with Gary during his time here, but more so since he left. Now that I'm not 'the enemy' in covering him on a daily basis, talks between us have been much more open and candid. I can see why teams would want a guy on their team. A real team guy, a good mentor for the young kids.

Some of those shakes he makes look pretty gross, though.

-- The numbers -- Games: 1224; Goals: 438; Assists: 472; Game winning goals: 52

-- Olli Jokinen joins the Flames and scores two quick goals to help Calgary bust down the Flames. Mike Keenan heard TSN's Matthew Barnaby be very critical of Olli during the trade deadline, saying people close to Olli called him a locker room cancer.

Olli3 "For Matthew Barnaby to make comments about something he doesn't know about ... he really is just trying to create good television for himself," Keenan said.

Fun stuff indeed. A number of people have called and email me to talk about Olli The Cancer, and this is the jist: I never thought Olli was a locker room cancer. He used to be beloved and followed by almost everyone in that room. Last November when rumors surfaced that JM was shopping Olli, it was a unified front. Guys were ticked.

But Olli lost that. By the end of last year, he was on an island -- it was him, Nathan Horton and to a lesser extent, Ville Peltonen. Olli did create some cliques midway through last year, and it separated the room. But to call it a cancerous situation, well, that's just not so.

Had Olli came back this year, things could have been smoothed out. I don't know what happened in Arizona, but I hear Wayne Gretzky was not a fan of Olli's, and the feeling was mutual. Arizona wasn't a good fit for Olli Jokinen; Calgary, in my opinion, is. He'll be just fine there.

-- Not much happening today at practice, although Nick Tarnasky took a shot off a foot and was in some serious pain. ''This is now my bad foot,'' he told trainer Dave Zenobi by the bench.

-- Pete DeBoer says Tomas Vokoun is back in net Saturday against the surging Blues but hasn't decided what to do about the 12th forward or the sixth defenseman.

-- Yesterday's Scores (and how they affected the Panthers): Well, the Panthers losing to Pittsburgh sure didn't help the cause. Florida's loss -- and a win by the Rangers -- means there is a three-way logjam for sixth between the Panthers, Rangers and Penguins. The JokiKeenans beating Philadelphia did help things out.

-- Today's Games (and who the Panthers would be rooting for if they weren't all at the Watchmen)

Flames @ Hurricanes, 7: Panthers root for old pals Mike Keenan and Olli Jokinen for a second straight night. Carolina is in 10th right now, just a few points out. Florida would like to see that continue.

Blues @ Lightning, 7:30: This doesn't effect the Panthers' playoff run at all, but the Panthers play the Blues tomorrow, so there's definite interest in this one.

Canadiens @ Thrash, 7:30: Habs are still struggling and the Thrashers appear to have packed it in. If Montreal loses this one, they might be done and done.

Coyotes @ Sabres, 7:30: Buffalo beat up on Montreal on Wednesday and get a Coyotes team that may have lost some parts but definitely haven't cashed in the chips just yet. Coyotes might get to see old goalie Mikael Tellqvist in net against them. Tellqvist was traded to the Sabres on Wednesday.

89flames -- The Standings (presented by the 1989 Stanley Cup champion 89flames1 Calgary Flames and courtesy of TSN.ca/nhl)

Eastern

RankTeamGPWLOTPTSGFGAHomeAwayLast 10Streak
1Boston65421499321814821-6-521-8-43-5-2Lost 3
2New Jersey64421938719915522-10-120-9-28-2-0Won 4
3Washington66402158521619525-9-115-12-45-5-0Lost 3
4Philadelphia633419107820318518-9-416-10-66-3-1Lost 1
5Montreal64342377519519420-6-414-17-35-4-1Lost 1
6Florida65332487418218217-9-516-15-35-5-0Lost 1
7NY Rangers65332487416317719-10-414-14-43-4-3Won 2
8Pittsburgh66342667420219817-12-217-14-47-2-1Won 5
 
9Buffalo64322577118717618-12-214-13-54-5-1Won 1
10Carolina65332757117418817-13-116-14-46-4-0Won 1
11Toronto652626136519523111-11-915-15-46-1-3Won 1
12Ottawa632429105815918414-12-610-17-44-4-2Won 1
13Tampa Bay642131125416520711-13-810-18-43-6-1Lost 1
14Atlanta64233565219122511-18-212-17-45-4-1Lost 1
15NY Islanders64203774715621014-14-56-23-24-5-1Lost 1
 

Western

RankTeamGPWLOTPTSGFGAHomeAwayLast 10Streak
1San Jose634211109420915626-3-416-8-65-4-1Lost 3
2Detroit65431489424218924-4-319-10-56-3-1Won 2
3Calgary64391968421218722-8-417-11-28-1-1Won 2
4Chicago62361798120815717-5-619-12-36-3-1Won 2
5Vancouver63332287419017717-11-416-11-48-2-0Won 3
6Nashville65332847016917921-11-212-17-27-2-1Won 6
7Columbus65322767017518420-10-212-17-45-4-1Lost 1
8Edmonton64312766818019815-12-416-15-24-4-2Lost 2
 
9Dallas64302686818719717-12-413-14-43-6-1Lost 1
10Anaheim65312866818219115-13-316-15-35-4-1Lost 1
11Minnesota63312756716115118-11-513-16-03-5-2Won 1
12St. Louis63282786417318616-12-512-15-36-2-2Lost 1
13Los Angeles64272896316918814-13-813-15-13-6-1Won 1
14Phoenix64283156116119417-13-211-18-34-6-0Won 1
15Colorado65283615717320717-15-011-21-13-7-0Lost 6