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54 posts from March 2010

March 03, 2010

The Panthers Are Not Better After Today. They Are a Little Worse, but...

Pantherlogo The NHL trade deadline has come and gone.

The Panthers gave away Jordan Leopold, Dominic Moore and Dennis Seidenberg for three second round picks, Byron Bitz and a minor league player.

This is not what people were expecting when the team's management came out with their much-ballyhooed letter saying that minor changes were not good enough and the team needed to go in a different direction.

This isn't the direction people were expecting.

No "small changes or quick fixes will do" the letter stated.

So what have the Panthers done since then, save for some small changes?

The Panthers all but told people their store was open for business. Come in and get what you want. No one did save for a desperate Boston team trying to stay within the top eight in the east.

"We could have had a fire sale if we wanted,'' GM Randy Sexton said this afternoon.

Co-managing partners Cliff Viner and Stu Siegel both said Wednesday night that they are not happy where the team is right now, but didn't want to just make deals to make deals. "We want to do things the right way,'' Viner said.

It could be that the other 29 teams didn't want what the Panthers had to offer at the money they were signed to. That's not really all that hard to believe. But you have to think something could have happened. Something should have happened today. Instead, Sexton said he was close on one deal -- and it doesn't sound by his description that it was a major one.

The Panthers were expected to be players at the deadline and they were not. The Panthers basically said they were going to blow things up -- and with losses in eight of nine and in seven straight -- no one would blame them for doing just that.

Sexton said that they don't want to blow things up. He likes a lot of the players here. He only wants to get rid of a few. I doubt the three he did get rid of -- sending all three into the thick of the playoff chase -- were the players he wanted to get rid of.

Coach Pete DeBoer said just that. He said the three players "were what we want Florida Panthers players to be'' and that they were moved because of their contracts and because teams wanted them.

Give Sexton credit for turning those three pending free agents into three second round picks. But those picks will not help this team today, will not help them next September and may never help the team. This isn't the NFL. This is more like baseball. The NHL draft is a crap shoot even in the first round.

The Panthers are going to tell us they are not done and not to judge them on today alone. The draft is coming, they'll say. We're committed to building a winner and will make trades then.

But will they? Can they? This team is filled with bloated contracts that no other teams want to take on.

Tomas Vokoun will bring you something in the summer. Nathan Horton, Stephen Weiss too. And if David Booth, Dmitry Kulikov, Michael Frolik and Keith Ballard are off the table, the Vokoun-Horton-Weiss trifecta are basically all the Panthers have worth anything. Unless teams want some draft picks.

After today, the letter Stu Siegel and Cliff Viner sent out looks worse than it did when they sent it out. Privately, players within the locker room said that letter was going to come back and bite them if deals were not made. Deals were not made.

The Panthers are in desperate need of change, major change. Their co-managing partners have said as much. Their general manager has said as much.

Today was a disappointing day for the Panthers. Lets hope their management says as much. Sexton did not.

Of course, if things continue to go as they have been, the Panthers will likely have a top three draft pick coming up and a chance for the top overall pick in Los Angeles. That might work out alright.

-- OnFrozenFilm presents Sexton's media briefing online. Also trying to get Seigel and Viner. Will also be talking to Pete DeBoer around 6. So stay tuned!

Dennis Seidenberg Says Goodbye to South Florida, Hello to Beantown -- And Eighth Place in the East

Cheers Dennis Seidenberg said goodbye to his Florida teammates, cleaned out his locker and will eventually be on his way to Boston.

As of 12:30, he said he hadn't heard when he would be going.

Although he said he knew because of his contract that Florida needed to move him, he didn't want to go. He wanted to stay long term, and adds that door hasn't closed. Many players who get traded away from a team as a pending UFA close that door quick.

Boston holds the eighth and final spot in the east -- seven points in front of the Panthers. The two teams play at Boston Garden later this month.

"Obviously I'm disapointed to be leaving, but I am going to a playoff team,'' said Seidenberg, traded to the Bs for Byron Bitz, minor leaguer Craig Weller and a second round pick (Tampa Bay) in 2010. "You never know what can happen. Maybe I'm a free agent again and maybe I sign here again. It's a possibility. I liked it here. I would have liked a little more success. .-.-. You never know, anything can happen. Last year, I didn't know I would sign here two days into camp. You can never say never. I'm keeping my options open.''

Seidenberg said last week that he wanted to be part of the solution here. With the Panthers playoff hopes fading fast, he understands.

"Maybe not this year,'' he said about the playoffs, "but maybe next year.''

And going to Boston?

"It's a history rich franchise,'' he said. "They have had great success in the past and trying to repeat it. They had a really good team last year, this year, getting there. It's a great organization. It's nice. It's nice to go to Boston, where the games are sold out almost every game. It'll be nice to be in that market. There are pros and cons to being traded. That's one of the pros.''

Of course, for what Boston is paying him for the rest of this year, they might want to sign him to an extra year or two just to get some value back.

Seidenberg signed with the Panthers in the first week of training camp when the team was in Nova Scotia. His contract was structured so that he got $1 million in base salary and a $1.25 million bonus on June 30. That $1.25 million -- plus whatever is left of the $1 million -- now belongs to the Bruins.

Now that's a Saveology Save!

"That was another big reason they wanted to get rid of me,'' Seidenberg said. "They wanted to get rid of the money, and Boston, I guess, made a big commitment to pick up such a big amount of money for 20 games and hopefully maybe more. Maybe they plan on resigning me. I don't know. I don't know what's going to happen.''

First Trade In: Dennis Seidenberg to Boston Bruins

Seidenberg The Panthers made their first deal on deadline day just before noon, sending pending free agent Dennis Seidenberg to the Boston Bruins for forwards Byron Bitz and Craig Weller.

Florida also sent the rights to d-man Matt Bartkowski (Ohio State) to the Bruins.

The Panthers also get another 2010 second round pick in the deal, getting the Boston pick it had previously acquired from Tampa Bay.

Bitz, a Cornell man, has four goals and five assists for the Bruins in 45 games. He has played in 80 career games. Bitz is 25 and from Saskatchewan. Bitz has a limited cap hit of $687K, is signed through next season and then is a restricted free agent.

Weller played 55 games for the Providence Bruins this season and is probably headed to Rochester, although who knows. He has four goals and 10 assists for the P-Bs this season.

Will have more on the new guys -- and we're talking to Dennis as he is headed back to Sunrise to get his stuff -- in the coming hour or so.

-- Keaton Ellerby has been recalled from Rochester and will be in the lineup tonight.

-- Pete DeBoer says Tomas Vokoun will start in goal tonight against the Flyers. Not a surprise there. But we'll see.

-- The Panthers had an optional skate today. DeBoer, and a lot of others, skipped. Florida had two defensemen, 10 forwards and both goalies on the ice for about 20 minutes. It was fun.

Come Make a Deal, No Money Down! It's NHL Trade Day ... Panthers Ready to Wheel, Deal

Usedcars Randy Sexton is working the phones like Rick Sanchez after a second pot of coffee this morning as the trade deadline is set for 3 p.m.

It appears that the Panthers are not only sellers, but they will refuse no reasonable offer. Everything must go. I know I said yesterday that I didn't think Tomas Vokoun would be heading out the door and I still don't.

But that's because I believe Randy and Cliff and Stu when they say they want to build for the future and want to get top assets. I don't think they can get the top assets for Vokoun today.

But they could dump a big chunk of their payroll by trading Vokoun. And with the team losing money almost as quickly as they are losing games, that fact cannot be discounted.

As we head into the deadline, here's where the Panthers stand:

-- The team has lost seven straight games and eight of nine.

-- Florida is now ranked 27th in the league -- meaning only three teams are behind the Cats. And Carolina, which is having a disastrous season, is just one point back.

-- Who, who does Randy try to deal today? Again, I would be surprised if Vokoun, Stephen Weiss or Nathan Horton go anywhere today. Two of those three could go in the summertime as this team goes through a major rebuild (No! That frame isn't bent!).

To do the build the Panthers probably need to do, you need to get serious return for players like Weiss, Horton and Vokoun. Those are really the only available players who can bring back the kind of players you need. David Booth might, but he isn't going anywhere -- at least not yet David!

-- So, you have everyone else on the parking lot. Some have their hoods raised, some are parked out back so you don't see the blemishes. And there are plenty of blemishes. The team has scored two goals or less in 14 straight games. That's FOUR with a TEEN straight games. And that is brutal.

I would think Dennis Seidenberg is as good as gone and that sucks. He's a very underrated player and a real cool guy. But business is business. Thanks for the laughs, D.

It will also be tough to see Radek Dvorak go, but hopefully he gets a chance to win that ring. He's been close. Dvorak has one year left on the deal he signed the past offseason and has a cap hit of $1.7 million.

Captain Bryan McCabe probably is safe, but only because of his massive contract. He counts for $5.75 million next season in the final year of his deal.

Bryan Allen also probably sticks around because he has two more years at $2.9 million; same goes for Rostislav Olesz (four years after this at $3.125 per).

TSN has Cory Stillman and Steven Reinprecht high on their list of available forwards. Really? OK, Stillman I can see. He's a veteran guy who has lifted the Cup in his career. And he's scored a few goals of late. Of course, he has that pesky contract with one year left at $3.5 million.

Reinprecht is probably going to be harder to move and will bring much less. That's because he not only has two years left on his deal, but he hasn't registered a single in 14 games. That's right. FOUR with a TEEN. Reinprecht also hasn't scored a goal in 20. Not what you want from a player you pegged to be center of your second line coming into the season.

As far as RFA guys go, I'm sure Kamil Kreps and Gregory Campbell are available to the right suitor, although Campbell is pretty popular around the organization and they might want to keep him around.

Scott Clemmensen is also out there, but he has two more years left after this season. They might want to pull him into the showroom.

-- Again, going to be around all day today. For the latest, up to the minute news, sign up for both our Facebook fan page (On Frozen Pond) and Twitter (@OnFrozenPond). The cellphone is charged, I'm heading to Starbucks and then to the arena.

Should have new videos up sometime this afternoon after the dust has settled. Have already confirmed we're going to get Randy, but will also try to get Cliff, Stu or Cliff and Stu as well as Pete DeBoer and whatever players I can grab flying out of the parking lot on their way to the playoffs.

Should be a very, very, interesting day.

 

March 02, 2010

Panthers Lose 4-2 to Thrashers: Losing Ways, Scoring Woes Continue

BY GEORGE RICHARDS

ATLANTA – When the Thrashers picked up their second goal just 3:43 into Tuesday night's game, it looked like the Panthers had not only picked up where they left off but had actually regressed.

The Panthers quickly turned things around with a pair of goals from Stephen Weiss and David Booth but couldn't overcome Atlanta's two-goal outburst in the second and dropped their seventh straight with a 4-2 loss at Philips Arena.

Florida, with an uncertain roster going into Wednesday's 3 p.m. trading deadline, didn't curl up and die despite Atlanta's quick 2-0 lead. But Florida's scoring woes continue to haunt as the team continued its franchise record mark for scoring futility as Tuesday marked the 14th straight game Florida was held to two goals or less.

“I don't know what to say really,'' said Booth. “It's frustrating. The guys want to win in here. It's tough losing these games. You look back throughout the year and so many of these slipped away. Other teams have that drive to win, know how to win. We have to get to that. Down, tied or up, we have to win these games.''

Depending on what general manager Randy Sexton can pull off before the deadline, the Panthers could look much different come Wednesday when the Flyers visit Sunrise.

If the white flag hasn't been raised on the 2009-10 season, it's creeping up the pole. The Panthers have now lost eight of nine and their playoff hopes continue to dim.

Florida limped into the 17 day Olympic break and looked rusty in the early goings Tuesday. The Thrashers, who beat Florida 4-2 in their final home game before the break on Feb. 6, scored two goals off the first three shots goalie Scott Clemmensen faced. The first came just seconds after Michael Frolik had a great opportunity stolen away by Johan Hedberg.

The Panthers got on the board just over two minutes after Colby Armstrong made it 2-0 when Weiss scored on a power play – just Florida's fifth goal in 53 such chances.


With 9:15 remaining in the period, Booth snared his third goal of the season after charging in on Hedberg and blasting a shot off a Bryan McCabe feed.

Florida had ample opportunity to pick up its third goal of the opening period but failed to do so and it was costly. Late in the period, Booth drew a hooking penalty on Ron Hainsey with 1:56 left. Hainsey joined teammate Marty Reasoner in the bin, giving the Panthers a two-man advantage for a whopping 1:32.

Only the Panthers were able to sustain little in the Atlanta zone and came away with nothing.

“That's a huge momentum shift,'' coach Pete DeBoer said. “We came back from 2-0 and got the power play and could have come out of the first with the lead. We didn't. That's the game.''

After Hainsey's penalty ended early in the period, Florida continued to come hard at Hedberg and the Thrashers – with Atlanta committing its fifth penalty of the game early in the second. But Florida once again failed to convert, allowing Atlanta to retake the lead 7:33 into the second with Cory Stillman serving a delay of game call.

Florida went 1-of-8 on the power play and failed to score with two extra skaters in the final 90 minutes as Clemmensen came out of the net.

The Thrashers scored their fourth goal of the night with 5:13 left in the second when Pavel Kubina knocked a puck past Clemmensen to make it 4-2. Clemmensen, making his first start since Dec. 27, stopped 35 of the 39 shots faced in relief of starter Tomas Vokoun.

“Two goals isn't going to do it,'' DeBoer said. “We need to learn how to bury some of our chances.''


Tomas Vokoun Likely Staying

Vokoun ATLANTA -- It doesn't appear that Tomas Vokoun has played his final game with the Panthers as it looks like he will at least finish this season in sunny South Florida.

The Panthers will likely reassess things in the summer when more teams -- and more assets -- are available.

Of course, things could change. But right now, it doesn't look like the Panthers are going to get what they think they should for a goalie of Vokoun's caliber.

With money tight between most teams in contention, Vokoun's cap hit of around $1.2 million from now until the end of the season is prohibiting most teams from making realistic offers.

I would be surprised if Vokoun wasn't in net in Sunrise tomorrow -- backstopping the Panthers and not the Flyers.

Of course, you never know what kind of deal Randy Sexton might be able to swing between now and then. Wednesday's 3 p.m. deadline is quickly approaching, but plenty can be worked out in those hours.

Tick tock, tick tock.

Miami's Trade Day Central

Central

Just a reminder that The Miami Herald will be updating throughout Wednesday's trade deadline on a variety of online platforms.

Not only will you find up to the minute updates right here at On Frozen Pond, but feel free to sign up for our Facebook fan page (On Frozen Pond) or to our Twitter account (@OnFrozenPond).

On Frozen Pond is a name you need to remember, in case you haven't noticed.

I will be up andRadioactiveman atom first thing Wednesday morning offering whatever updates there to be updated.

Unless my internet is down. Then I'll have to go to my aircard.

And if that is down, Starbucks on Flamingo Road. Regardless, it'll be an all day deal.

-- As a special aside, OnFrozenFilms -- AKA the CatCam -- makes its triumphant return tomorrow. Yes, I finally found the charger for the camera.

Here is the link to previous OnFrozenFilms, including a favorite of mine from Helsinki.

Man, that trip feels like it was two years ago.

Sunday Leftovers

Tupperware ATLANTA -- Just remembered that our NHL Extra stuff that usually runs on Sunday didn't run this Sunday.

Something about the Olympics or something.

Well, I wrote it, so I'm going to run it.

It ain't much, but it's free.

NHL EXTRA

FLORIDA PANTHERS WEEK AHEAD

PANTHERS @ THRASHERS

TUESDAY

7 P.M.

FSN

(*) Player to watch: Winger Niclas Bergfors came to the Thrashers in the blockbuster Ilya Kovalchuk deal and scored his first goal in Atlanta against the Panthers just a few days later.

GAMES VS. FLA: 5. GLS: 1. AST: 0.

(*) Analysis: The Thrashers may have handed the Panthers their most humbling loss of the season on Feb. 6 when the team spent all day traveling to Atlanta from Washington because of a massive snowstorm yet dominated the Panthers in a 4-2 win.

(*) Series: Thrashers lead 32-24-5

FLYERS @ PANTHERS

WEDNESDAY

7:30 P.M.

FSN

(*) Player to watch: Center Mike Richards knocked David Booth out for 45 games with a vicious open-ice hit in Philadelphia on Oct. 24 and then fought Florida captain Bryan McCabe in the rematch. This is Richards first trip to Sunrise since the hit.

GAMES VS. FLA: 18. GLS: 0. AST: 8.

(*) Analysis: The Panthers have won two of three against the Flyers this season but could be a very different looking team than previous editions. The trading deadline is 3 p.m. on Wednesday and the Panthers are expected to be active.

(*) Series: Flyers lead 37-24-4

HURRICANES @ PANTHERS

SATURDAY

7 P.M.

FSN

(*) Player to watch: Center Eric Staal has been having a disappointing season for the Hurricanes. But like his team, things are looking up. The newest captain for the Canes, Staal had a strong Olympics for Canada and the Canes won five straight going into the break.

GAMES VS. FLA: 40. GLS: 9. AST: 19.

(*) Analysis: The home team has won each game in this series this season with the Hurricanes winning all three against Florida in Raleigh – including a 4-1 decision on Feb. 9 prompting general manager Randy Sexton to say “this is not the type of team we want.'' Among other things.

(*) Series: Carolina leads 44-32-11

CAT CONFIDENTIAL

QUESTION: What did you do on the Olympic break?

Coach Pete DeBoer: “I did get to Universal for a day with the kids. It was quite an experience. I took on the Hulk roller coaster. I had to gut it out. I wasn't going too, but when you 9 and 10 year olds are trash talking because you have that look of fear in your eye, you don't have much choice.''

Defenseman Keith Ballard: “I went to Key West for three days and then just came back. It was cold, bad weather for most of it, but there was one great day. It was a lot of fun.''

Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg (Germany): “Playing in the Olympics was great. We kind of knew we were going to lose so we just enjoyed it. We took in as much as we could. .-.-. It was a good time. The city was just, downtown, everyone was outside partying. It was a neat experience to be there.''

ASK A PANTHER

Topic: Going from Olympics back to the regular season doldrums

To: Tomas Vokoun

This is my job and I'm a professional. You have to be able to come back and do what I'm paid to do. That's stopping the puck. I'm worried about what our record is, but I have to do my job the best I can so I can sleep sound at night.


Tomas Vokoun: Keeping Options Open

Vokoun3 ATLANTA -- Is it possible Tomas Vokoun has played his final game with the Florida Panthers.

Yes, it is.

With the trade deadline quickly approaching -- and Vokoun getting the night off tonight in Atlanta -- he may have rocked the leaping cat for the last time.

We spoke to T-Vo today after the morning skate at Taco Mac Arena and he said he had spoken to GM Randy Sexton regarding the trade rumors and his stance on dropping his no trade.

Vokoun says he had not told Sexton that he would not waive the no trade as I had read somewhere and he knows there are potential deals out there. The Twitterverse is, ahem, a-twitter with rumors that he might be going to Philadelphia.

Which would make for an uncomfortable night come Wednesday what with the Panthers playing host to the Flyers and all.

But lets not forget, a team like Philadelphia -- which is pretty tight to the salary cap -- would have to move some money to get a player like Vokoun (or rather, Vokoun's salary) in under.

We spoke to Vokoun about a variety of subjects, but we can get to all that later.

Here's what he had to say about the potential for a trade. And Sexton isn't with the team, he's back in South Florida working the phones.

WHAT'S IT LIKE WAITING TO SEE WHAT HAPPPENS?

It's a little bit uncertain, but I can't worry about it. Right now, all I know about it is rumors. I'm waiting like everyone else to see if there are any truth to the rumors. We'll find out soon.

HAVING THE NO TRADE GIVES YOU A LITTLE MORE PIECE OF MIND THAN OTHERS THOUGH, RIGHT?

Yeah, I had my conversation with Randy and he knows where I stand. And I know where he stands, so, we're at an understanding. There are a couple of scenarios and I'm ready for all of them.

Vokoun2 HAVE YOU GIVEN HIM A LIST OF TEAMS?

No, I didn't. We agreed we wouldn't make public any of the details. But I didn't. It's more like, if there's a deal in place, he'll let me know. Ultimately it's my decision, yes or no.

HAVE YOU TOLD THE PANTHERS YOU WOULDN'T WAIVE THE NO TRADE?

No, that's not true.

SO YOU ARE OPEN TO TALK ABOUT IT ALL?

Yep.

Not-so-Hotlanta

Atlantasnow2 ATLANTA, Alaska -- It's snowing pretty good here right now and has been since the morning.

Not much is sticking, but the temperature is said to be dropping, so that could lead to problems with the Panthers getting out of town tonight.

We'll see what happens.

Maybe they could bus to Jacksonville and then fly home.

Atlantasnow1


Atlantasnow3

March 01, 2010

Panthers Try to Balance Present and Future as Trade Deadline Nears

Backfuture2

BY GEORGE RICHARDS


Coach Pete DeBoer says his team needs to go on a big run following the Olympic break if it hopes to get into the playoffs.

His players are echoing that sentiment as well, knowing Florida needs to catch fire right out of the gate.

Yet with the team going into Tuesday's game at Atlanta riding a six game losing streak with losses in seven of its past eight, general manager Randy Sexton needs to be a realist.

The reality is this: The Panthers are not good enough to make that run to the postseason. The future of the franchise needs to be put in front of the needs of the current team – one six points out of eighth place with 21 games remaining.

“It's difficult, but we have to keep the big picture in mind here,'' Sexton said. “We have to think of the long term, not the short term but balance them both.''

On Monday morning, Sexton continued to try and help the future of the Panthers, trading defenseman Jordan Leopold to Pittsburgh for a second round pick in the upcoming draft. It was a good move for Sexton in which he got a nice piece for a pending free agent. But it didn't help the current team as the Panthers lost one of their top defensemen.

Before the break, Florida sent Dominic Moore – one of its top centers – to Montreal for a second round pick in 2011.

“Leo is a terrific player and did a great job for us,'' said Sexton. “From our perspective, we're shifting things around here a little bit. A second round pick is a fair value and a good value. Pittsburgh's delighted to have him. This is just continuing the process we started a few weeks ago.''

If the Panthers want to make the playoffs, they are going to have to play better than they have over the following six weeks.

“We look at the schedule over the last six weeks and we have a lot of games, 11 at home starting with Philadelphia on Wednesday,'' said coach Pete DeBoer. “We have to win some games, make sure we're still in the playoff hunt.''

The Panthers have a game Tuesday before the trade deadline hits at 3 p.m. On Wednesday so a number of players are wondering if they will be next to follow Moore and Leopold out of town for greener pastures.

Florida's players went into the Olympic break with plenty of uncertainty. The team's ownership sent out a letter saying major changes would be made in the coming months, and Sexton feverishly worked the phones trying to cut some deals before the roster freeze that precluded the Olympics.

No player – save for younger players such as Dmitry Kulikov, Michael Frolik and David Booth – appear to be immune from trade talks.

“They haven't let that creep into our preparation,'' said DeBoer. “They have been good about it. A lot of them have been through this before; some of the young guys are just oblivious to it. It hasn't been an issue.''

Stephen Weiss has been with the Panthers since 2002 and, with the team not making the postseason since 2000, has seen these days plenty of times before. The Panthers have made minor moves around deadline day in the past few seasons, usually saving their blockbuster deals for the summer when teams are more willing to give up good pieces because they are not currently in a playoff push.

“Its tight going into the deadline, especially being in the spot we have been in over the past few years,'' Weiss said. “Once the games start and you are on the ice, you are playing with the players out there. It's not an easy time, though. It's stressful for the guys in here.''

Before being traded, Leopold talked about the pressure of possibly being traded – something he has been through before. Leopold started last season with Colorado before being sent to Calgary. A free agent, his negotiating rights were sent to Florida over the summer in exchange for Jay Bouwmeester. Leopold eventually signed a free agent contract with the Panthers – and will be a free agent come July 1 if he doesn't sign an extension with the defending Stanley Cup champs.

In 61 games for Florida this season, Leopold had seven goals and 11 assists.

“Jordan was great to work with and I thanked him for his service here,'' said DeBoer. “He came as advertised: A puck moving defenseman who was a professional across the board. I think he really helped our younger players. I'm sad to see him go.''

-- Injured winger Nathan Horton (leg) skated on the ice before Florida's practice Monday morning with coach Mike Kitchen. He will not play until next week at the earliest.

-- Weiss said the nagging injuries that have been bothering him for the better parts of two months are behind him. “I'm 100 percent,'' he said.

TUESDAY: PANTHERS AT THRASHERS

When: 7 p.m.; Philips Arena, Atlanta

TV/Radio: FSNF/WAXY-790

The series: Thrashers lead 32-24-5

The game: The Thrashers may have handed the Panthers their most humbling loss of the season on Feb. 6 when the team spent all day traveling to Atlanta from Washington because of a massive snowstorm yet dominated the Panthers in a 4-2 win. This is the final game of the six-game series between the two. Backup Scott Clemmensen will start in net for the Panthers with Tomas Vokoun expected to start Wednesday against the Flyers – if he isn't traded before then.

Booth Loses Bet, Not Happy About It ... NHL Would be "Stupid" Not to go in 2014

Boothcanada David Booth loses bet with coach Pete DeBoer and ends up wearing a borrowed Team Canada jersey from video coach Jamie Pringle during this morning's practice.

The usually good natured Booth was not happy that he was captured on camera in the jersey -- one he tore off as soon as he got to his locker stall and slammed to the bench in full view of cameras from Channels 6 and 7.

"Good thing you guys didn't get me on camera wearing that,'' he said as a warning that we shouldn't use what he knew we already had.

Oh well. 

DeBoer said he didn't know what Booth had in store for him had Team USA beat Canada on Sunday, although he was prepared to run Monday's practice "looking like Uncle Sam.''

Minnesota's Keith Ballard apparently shredded a Team Canada shirt belonging to Pringle on Sunday -- but they'll find him a new one. According to Stephen Weiss, Ballard has to wash "at least one" car out in the players parking lot while sporting a Team Canada shirt or jersey.

"He could dress me in any paraphernalia he wanted too,'' DeBoer said of his bet with Booth. "Thankfully we won.''

Booth, who should have been in Vancouver as a member of Team USA had he not taken a cheap shot from Philadelphia's Mike Richards on Oct. 24, said the USA doesn't get enough credit.

"Everything is all about how good Canada is, but USA battled just as hard,'' he said. "It was a lucky bounce. Both teams battled hard and going into overtime with that team -- and already beating them -- it's kind of cool. I just hope they go to 2014. I think it's the best thing for the game. It would be stupid not too. The TV ratings were huge, it's growing the game not only in North America but Europe too. A lot of people were watching that game.''

-- DeBoer on Monday being a national holiday in Canada: "If we weren't so used to winning, it would be.''

-- TV ratings were huge nationally and very strong in South Florida -- a TV market which had been dead last in viewership for the winter games.

"It reinforces that this is a hockey market and there are a lot of passionate hockey fans here,'' DeBoer said. "You couldn't have gotten two better teams or a closer game. It was a great night.

"I don't know how you could turn that game off last night and not be a hockey fan.''

Vokoun, Horton at Practice

Nathan Horton worked out before practice with Mike Kitchen, don't know how long he will be out here. Also, Tomas Vokoun is here as well (to end any early speculation)....

And We Are Off: Jordan Leopold to Penguins for 2nd Round Pick

Leopold The Panthers came off the break with a trade, sending pending UFA defenseman Jordan Leopold to the Penguins for a second round pick in the upcoming draft.

Good trade for the Panthers future in my opinion, but once again shows management is waving the white flag while coaches and players try to make a run at this playoff thing.

Spoke to GM Randy Sexton about the move and he basically said it's hard for the program to not look forward into the future and move some things around. Sexton is not done; he's skipping the trip to Atlanta and I would think more trades could come down before Tuesday night's game at Philips Arena.

Sexton said Leopold thanked him for giving him a chance in Florida and I think he's thankful to be heading to Pittsburgh -- a place he has a realistic chance to win a Cup.

Will have quotes from Randy as well as Pittsburgh GM Ray Shero and Leopold coming soon.

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