CALGARY -- The Panthers Canadian roadie comes to a close tonight when they visit the Saddledome to take on the Calgary Jokimeesters.
When tonight's game is done, the Cats will board their buses, head to the airport and fly to the Empire State -- good ol' Texas.
Florida will play Dallas on Tuesday and be back in South Florida by Wednesday morning. It'll be nice to be home, if only for a few hours.
As previously reported, Bryan Allen and Keith Ballard will not play tonight, and Gregory Campbell (hip flexor) is out as well. Allen skated with the main team today at the Saddledome; Pete DeBoer said Ballard was given an optional at a nearby rink. Will find out if he skated today later on.
-- Quick question: Why can't we get the Browns-Broncos on up here?!? I really don't ask for much, but as a visitor to this fine country, someone should have asked which game I would like on. I don't care if no one else wants to watch the Brownies, I do!
-- EDIT: Glad I didn't get to watch the Browns.
-- As has been the case throughout the preseason, GameDay LIVE! returns tonight. Will be up and running between 8:30-8:45 Miami Time. Hope to see all the regulars back as well as some newbies. Come one by; it's kind of like a live chat. Lots of hockey talk -- as well as other crap. It's fun, it's educational (at times) and best yet, it's free.
GameDay LIVE! continues in Dallas, at Wednesday's preseason game at The Billboard and will be up and active in Finland.
CALGARY -- Good afternoon from the Canadian west, hanging in the underbelly of the Saddledome as we speak.
Good day for a hockey writer today; the Flames practiced this morning, and both of the guys I wanted to speak to were here and more than willing to talk to an old pal.
CatCam Alumni Edition with Olli and Jay can be found below. Hope you enjoy.
Will be back in a little bit after the Panthers get off the practice ice. Will have more video from Pete DeBoer and perhaps a few others. So come on back, ya hear!
-- Speaking of alumni, just ran into former assistant coach Guy Charron watching the skate from the stands. Guy now lives in Calgary with his wife and says he's having fun being a Grandpa. For now. Will be a good day in hockey when Guy's back in the game.
-- Good score by LitterBoxCats: Seems the Bahamian tourism folks are happy the IceDancers came over to shoot their calendar there last year, although they really don't know what the IceDancers do.
Other than dance.
But from whom, they have no idea.
Says the press release: Pelican Bay at Lucaya was the
featured resort for the Miami Panthers football team's 2009 Ice Dancer
calendar shoot October 19 - 22. Videography and stills photography
featuring the 17-strong Ice Dancers were shot around the resort and
Grand Bahama Island.
-- Wanted to speak with former Florida goalie Jamie McLennan, but I didn't see him after the skate.
Noodles -- now the Flames goalie coach -- got hit hard by a puck flying along the boards during practice, and had blood streaming down his face. He's good though; he went in, got patched up and was back to finish the skate.
Some of you may not remember Noodles, but he was one of the coolest guys to ever wear the Leaping Cat. Check this out:
ENOCH, Alberta -- Greetings from the River Cree Resort and Casino, your temporary home of the Florida Panthers.
The team has stayed here the past few nights, and have practiced on the ice rink attached to the hotel/casino.
Photo at left is of an outdated Nike Bauer poster that's hanging in the pro shop that greets the players as they come off the ice.
The Panthers get to see Olli Jokinen and Jay Bouwmeester up close and personal Sunday night as Florida visits the Saddledome to take on the Flames.
-- Keith Ballard and Bryan Allen were held out of Saturday's practice for precautionary reasons. Ballard has a sore groin; Allen, well, he played a lot of minutes the other night at Montreal on that surgically repaired knee.
Ballard said if this was the regular season, he wouldn't be missing time.
''I'm sure a lot of guys are banged up right now,'' Ballard said. ''It just doesn't make sense to go out and skate and then sit on a bus for a few hours.''
-- Here are the lines for Sunday's game against the Calgary Jokimeesters:
-- The Panthers will play both of their top goalies in Calgary, with Tomas Vokoun likely starting and Scott Clemmensen coming in relief. Both goalies were working with new pads on Saturday, Vokoun switching from white to red with Clemmensen dropping his New Jersey black-and-red blockers to a Florida color scheme.
''We're in the tail end of the exhibition season and we leave for Finland [Friday],'' DeBoer said. ''We're starting to split the groups a little bit more, in practice and for the games.''
-- Prospect Colby Robak was sent back to his junior team after Friday's loss in Edmonton.
-- I'm off to Calgary via Red Deer; will tell everyone that Randy Moller said hello.
See you tomorrow with what I hope is a special 'CatCam: Alumni Edition.'
You can just guess who I plan to speak to in Calgary.
EDMONTON -- Mike Comrie wasn't real popular when he left the Oilers in 2003, but he was a big hit upon his return to Rexall Place on Friday night.
Comrie, who resigned with the Oilers this offseason, notched three assists as Edmonton blew out the Panthers 4-0 in a preseason contest.
All four of Edmonton's goals came in the second period and all came against Tomas Vokoun.
Tyler Plante, who is competing for the Rochester starting job with Alexander Salak, pitched a scoreless third.
Florida was outshot 10-4 in the opening period and things got worse in the second.
''It was an ugly one. Our legs looked like we jogged here from Ottawa instead of flew,'' said coach Pete DeBoer, whose team played its fourth game in as many nights and fell to 2-2-0.
''We didn't have much in the tank and had a thin lineup anyway, a lot of AHL players. Give Edmonton credit though.''
The team didn't play with much life at all, save for Adam Keefe. Fighting to make the roster as a potential replacement for Nick Tarnasky (broken orbital bone), Keefe dropped the gloves twice in the first period. His second time out came in defense of defenseman Christian Backman who was dropped to the ice by J-F Jacques. Keefe missed the rest of the period, taking 17 minutes in penalties for instigating and fighting.
''He has the heart of a lion,'' said DeBoer, who coached Keefe for four seasons with the Kitchener Rangers. ''I know what he's about and that's why I recommended him to Randy to bring to camp. He's taking on guys 40-50 pounds heavier, 5-6 inches taller. It was good to have him out there.''
-- The Panthers are expected to send a few more of their junior league prospects back to their junior teams after Friday's game.
-- Florida, which is playing seven games in nine days, will only
practice on Saturday before driving to Calgary for Sunday's preseason
game against Olli Jokinen and Jay Bouwmeester.
''It's nice to have a day where there's no game or no travel,'' DeBoer said. ''Both teams flew halfway around the country. It'll be nice to stay in one spot for a few days.''
EDMONTON -- Hello hockey fans. Warm greetings from atop Northlands Colisieum, home of the Edmonton Oilers.
Have some work to do, so I'm keeping this short.
We're LIVE! anyways.
-- FYI: I will be joining Randy Moeller on Panthers Insider on 790 The Ticket on Saturday morning. It goes from 9-10 Miami Time.
Guests: This Guy, Darren Pang, Chuck 'Hall of Famer' Kaiton and Steve Colby (Caps radio).
We'll go for a little bit, at least 30 minutes. A number of you have emailed me questions, and if you want to get in an early question, just leave it on the site below. Only I can publish those questions, so don't be alarmed if you leave a question at 5 p.m. and don't see it pop up. It wouldn't pop up until I log on for the chat. But they'll be there waiting for me.
This should be fun.
Oh come on. I like Jacques Martin. Everyone here knows that.
JM's Canadiens take on the Panthers tonight in Florida's third preseason tilt of what is a very long preseason. Florida has won its first two games, both coming against Ottawa.
-- Pete DeBoer says Dmitry Kulikov is in for his third straight game. He will not play tomorrow in Edmonton. Kulikov is taking the place of Keith Ballard, who has a minor groin issue. Martin Skoula and Dennis Seidenberg are both in.
-- Going LIVE! here in a little bit. May have some pregame video up as well. Stay tuned.
-- If you have a Jay Bouwmeester jersey, at least someone is using the number. Dennis Seidernberg is sporting that digit.
-- Some quotes I promised ya:
JM on the Panthers and his new gig:
''Our focus has to be on our team,'' Martin said. ''They won their last two games they've played and that's a good indication of the depth of their organization. For me, my primary concern is to evaluate our people and start the process of getting them to perform the way we want to.''
''The most important thing is to make sure we start engaging and playing the way we want to play. For a lot of our players, this is their first game. Hopefully we execute.''
''The process is underway. We're going to take a good part of preseason to continue evaluating and hopefully find guys who gel and find chemistry.''
''There's a real excitement in camp that we didn't have last year,'' Montreal's Josh Gorges said. ''There's a lot of competition here, nothing is the same as it was.
''He notices the fine details. If the drill is to come down low and set up, you better come down low and set up. There is no cheating. One thing he said to me that stuck is that 'you play how you practice.' If you practice sloppy, you're going to play sloppy. You can see the intensity with the speed of practice. He's really pushing us.''
''It'll be strange for sure,'' Stephen Weiss said. ''That was a pretty sudden move for everyone. It'll be a little different. It was a little shock, but this has to be special for him. This is a once in a lifetime job and he jumped at it. I wish him all the luck – well, not too much.''
MONTREAL -- Turning the site over to the good folks in Rochester on Friday evening as Amerks coach Benoit Groulx has been kind enough to join us for a live chat tomorrow night before the Edmonton game.
Kickoff for the Oilers-Panthers is 9 p.m. in the east, so, we'll be on for 30 minutes or so starting at 8. The question and answer system will go like this:
You can come back here tomorrow and find the format to ask an early question, or just come back at 8 and ask something live. We will limit the early questions to just five so we can get as many live questions in as we can.
Not only are the Panthers the opponent in his first home game as bench boss of the storied Montreal Canadiens, but the Panthers have also stormed his house and are crashing at Casa de Jacques.
That's right, the Panthers are staying at Jacques Martin's home while in town.
Of course, Martin happens to be living in a downtown hotel right now. You know, the same hotel the Panthers are staying in. For the record, JM the ex-GM is living in temporary quarters while his new place is renovated. Over/under on how many months it takes him to unpack the boxes?
I'm going with 'next summer.'
-- Spoke with JM this morning over at the Canadiens Practice Castle (one word: Stunning. OK two: Really, really stunning) and he says he's not focused on the Panthers, instead he has to focus on what the Canadiens are up to.
He's stacking the lineup tonight against his former bunch, with most of the Montreal regulars going tonight.
Will have more from JM later on once I scroll through the tape.
-- Pete DeBoer, one of JM's best moves during his tenure in Sunrise, says he doesn't think Dmitry Kulikov will play a third straight game tonight. If Kulikov sits, the plan is to play him tomorrow in Edmonton.
In the tape I heard of DeBo (I couldn't be in two places at once), he said he would be OK with Kulikov going back to junior for another year because he believes in the coaching at Drummondville. ''I don't think he would take a step back in his development,'' DeBo said.
-- Will have a Nick Tarnasky update when I talk to DeBo later this afternoon.
-- We're back for Panthers GameDay LIVE! tonight around 7 p.m.
-- The Panthers made their first cuts of camp, sending Adam Comrie, AJ Jenks and Garrett Wilson back to their junior teams.