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Searching for Answers in the ATL ... Thursday: Florida Panthers @ Atlanta Thrashers

Search ATLANTA -- Greetings from the Peachtree City, or whatever the heck Atlanta is called. It's a glorious day here, the sun shining, just a hint of a breeze.

Went out for a nice walk, although I doubt I put a dent in the BBQ that Steve X. and myself threw down for lunch. On the bright side, I probably won't eat dinner.

Well, that's probably not true either.

This could and very well just may be the final road game of the 2008-09 season for your Florida Panthers. The team took today off and will return to the ice Thursday morning at Philips Arena just blocks from the team hotel, the world's biggest aquarium and the World of Snapple.

-- Spoke with coach Pete DeBoer today and he continues to contend that if the Panthers win their final two games, they'll be a participant in Lord Stanley's postseason.

"I feel the same as I did last night,'' DeBo said. ''

If we win lthe last two, we'll get in. I don't know how. I don't know who is going to lose.''

DeBo said he doesn't know who is going to play in net tomorrow night, and I asked if him debating this at this time of year means he's not real high on Tomas Vokoun. He said don't read too much into it.

"It's not about individual play,'' he said. ''I've said this for weeks; It's about getting wins. We have to be better than the guy at the other end at all positions. I'm not saying I will or won't go with him. I just want to think about it for 24 hours. It's just like D pairings, line combos.''

On last night's game:

"That was a high power team with a lot at stake. We went in there and executed our gameplan to perfection. Smothered them for long period of time, created some chances. Did a lot of things right. Ninty-eight out of 100 game like that, you get rewarded with points. We didn't. I'm not going to make wholesale changes.''

-- DeBo also said the Kamil Kreps should be OK for tomorrow as long as his flu bug was of the 24 hour variety. Says Kreps got through yesterday's morning skate, but got worse as the day went on and that's why he couldn't go.

-- Uh oh, there's some competition in the Florida Panthers online webophere (is that a word? I don't think Yormark so, but I like it.) One Michael Yormark now has his own blog on the Panthers website, giving a little insight into the business doings of the hockey team down at One Panther Parkway.

Now, I don't expect him to reciprocate and link to this side of the web for various -- and obvious -- reasons, but I invite you to head down to Sunrise via the internet and see what Mr. Yormark has to say. Enjoy.

-- Tuesday's Games (and how they affected the Panthers): Well, the Rangers took care of the Canadiens and that may turn out to be good for the Panthers. Actually, who knows. The Panthers losing in Philadelphia kind of messed everything up for them, although there is a chance. Florida just needs to win out and Montreal can't get another point and the Rangers can only get one.

-- Wednesday's Games (and who the Panthers would be rooting for if they weren't playing Frisbee at Olympic Park)

Sabres @ Maple Leafs: Panthers don't need any more complications. Buffalo losing would be one less thing to worry about. If they're worried about Buffalo at all.

-- The Standings (presented by Fat Matt's BBQ in Atlanta and courtesy of TSN.ca)


RankTeamGPWLOTPTSGFGAHomeAwayLast 10Streak
1y-Boston7951181011226218428-6-623-12-47-2-1Lost 1
2y-Washington804923810626423629-9-320-14-56-2-2Won 2
3x-New Jersey804927410223820527-12-122-15-33-6-1Lost 1
4x-Philadelphia794325119725723024-12-419-13-76-3-1Won 1
5x-Carolina80452879723621826-13-119-15-69-0-1Won 9
6x-Pittsburgh80432899525523724-13-319-15-67-2-1Won 1
7Montreal804129109224423924-9-717-20-35-4-1Lost 2
8NY Rangers80413099120421425-11-416-19-55-4-1Won 1
9Florida803930118922422521-12-718-18-45-4-1Lost 1
10Buffalo79383298523623122-15-316-17-64-5-1Lost 2
11Ottawa803634108221322922-12-614-22-46-4-0Won 3
12Toronto803334137924428815-15-918-19-45-5-0Won 1
13Atlanta80344067424927517-20-217-20-45-5-0Lost 2
14Tampa Bay802438186620626912-17-1112-21-71-6-3Lost 7
15NY Islanders79264496119626417-16-69-28-33-6-1Lost 1


RankTeamGPWLOTPTSGFGAHomeAwayLast 10Streak
1y-San Jose8053161111725319632-4-421-12-77-2-1Won 2
2y-Detroit795119911129023327-8-424-11-56-4-0Won 2
3x-Calgary80452969624924226-10-419-19-24-6-0Lost 1
4x-Chicago794424119925421023-9-721-15-47-2-1Won 4
5x-Vancouver804327109624422023-12-520-15-55-4-1Won 1
6Columbus794029109021821825-12-315-17-74-2-4Lost 2
7Anaheim80413368823723019-18-322-15-38-2-0Lost 1
8St. Louis803931108822923222-13-517-18-57-2-1Won 1
9Nashville80393388620522224-13-415-20-44-3-3Lost 1
10Minnesota80383398520519322-11-716-22-25-4-1Won 1
11Edmonton80373498322824317-17-620-17-33-7-0Lost 1
12Dallas803535108022425120-16-515-19-52-6-2Lost 1
13Los Angeles803336117720323017-15-816-21-33-6-1Won 1
14Phoenix80343977519924722-15-312-24-45-4-1Lost 2
15Colorado79324436719725218-20-014-24-31-7-2Lost 1


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I have been saying this all year, you cannot win hockey games in today's NHL when you score one goal a game. This team needs some scorers. If next year's plan is to wait for this group of forwards to mature and score multiple goals in a game on a regular basis then we might as well get use to never getting in the playoffs. They are a good group of guys they just are not goal scorers and you can't win games unless you score. Thanks GR for the great coverage. Your blog is a must read but I believe the Panthers are done. Should have bought that promise plan and got the four free tickets for next year. Those guys backing up the coach aren't good enough. Vokoun should have made the save and the ref should have called cross checking penalty and blew the play dead but it is not a perfect world and a team needs to score goals to overcome the occasional softie by Vokoun or a noncall, I don't blame Vokoun he has made many good saves I blame a group of forwards that can't muster two goals in a game, a receipe for failure. Thanks again GR. I am thanking you now because when the Panthers lose in Atlanta I probably will turn off the Panthers and wait for the real teams in the playoffs.

Well, regardless of whether the panthers are there or not, this is going to be Stanley Cup playoff central...you can keep coming back here each and every day...if you want to, that is...

GR thanks for the the great reads this past year. cant wait to listen to your playoff coverage of the panthers in the weeks coming. i believe we will make it. i like the blow mr yormark put out. but he wont like all the e0mails he will be gettin from me and others. its payback for all the ads. thanks again GR.

GR .... I will tell you again in simple terms ... The dieharda amongst us apreciate the lifeline you give us....

GR- if you want some good home cookin', go to Mary Mac's Tea Room on Ponce de Leon Avenue. If it's your first time there, they'll give you a free cup of Pot Likker soup. Good stuff and the place is reasonably priced!

David Booth is an RFA- what kind of contract extension do you think is fair in today's market? I say $3.25M per season (comparable to Olesz, Weiss, and Horton).

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