« Bryan Allen Fights to Play ... McArdle to Have Surgery No. 2 | Main | Florida Panthers: Lets Wrap It Up ... Season Finale TODAY »

Devils Go Down In Florida: Unable to Find a Goal to Steal ... Clemmensen Puts Jersey In a Bind ... Cheverie Signs

Devilespn

PANTHERS 3, DEVILS 2

BY GEORGE RICHARDS

Scott Clemmensen said he didn't want to stick it to his old team, but by beating the New Jersey Devils 3-2 Thursday night, he kind of did just that.

The Devils are trying to wrap up the Atlantic Division title and Thursday's loss did them no good.

With Pittsburgh beating the Islanders in the final regular season game at the Igloo, the two teams are now tied for the division lead – and the third overall seed that comes with it.

“I'm not worried about them, they'll be fine,'' said Clemmensen, who stopped 42 shots in his second win against the Devils this season. “New Jersey has a great team over there. They have all the components to make a good run at the Stanley Cup.''

The Panthers are playing for nothing more than draft position these days, but don't tell that to the players who were out there Thursday. The Panthers rallied from a 1-0 lead and third period goals from Radek Dvorak and Nathan Horton held up.

“We only have a couple games left and we want to finish strong,'' said Horton, who pounced on a rebound and blasted a shot past future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur. “It's tough playing these games, but that's what we're paid to do. We're trying, trying to finish the season off right. Clemmensen played there and played great tonight. We wouldn't have won without him tonight.''

Dante And as Dante Hicks – the New Jersey convenience store worker in the cult classic Clerks – would say: Clemmensen wasn't even supposed to be working on Thursday.

Coach Pete DeBoer said Wednesday that Tomas Vokoun would start, only his back started acting up on him after Wednesday's practice and Clemmensen got the call. He's now won four of his past six starts.

Clemmensen spent parts of five seasons backing up Brodeur in New Jersey, starting 39 games for the Devils last season when Brodeur got hurt. That extended action earned Clemmensen a three-year deal in Florida, and Thursday's start was his 18th of the year – second only in his career to last season.

On Dec. 11 in Newark, Clemmensen beat the Devils 4-2 by stopping 26 shots.

“The more you play the more comfortable you feel,'' said Clemmensen. “More playing time helps you. I like where I'm at right now, not worrying about the standings or other external factors. I want to feel good about my game. I wish there was more hockey left, or that it was earlier in the season. But it's not.''

Thursday, the Devils got to Clemmensen 59 seconds into the second period when Patrik Elias scored his 19th career goal against the Panthers by jabbing at the puck in front of the net and putting it in past a downed Clemmensen.

The Panthers broke up Brodeur's shutout streak later in the period as Michael Frolik got his 20th of the season after whipping a nice shot from a Horton feed. Brodeur had earned shutouts in New Jersey's past two wins, going 151:29 without giving up a goal before Frolik scored.

Frolik became the third Florida player in history to start his career with back-to-back 20 goal seasons. Frolik had 21 as a rookie last season.

Frolik apparently earned his spot back on the first line after rookie Evgeny Dadonov took it away in his NHL debut on Tuesday. Dadonov started his second game in the bigs back on the top line with Stephen Weiss and Nathan Horton – but didn't stay their long.

The Panthers took the lead in the third when Dvorak – who was stopped on a short handed chance in the second -- rifled off a shot from a nice feed from Rostislav Olesz. The goal was Dvorak's first since March 25 and Olesz's second point in the past 28 games.

With 7:37 left, Horton scored for a 3-1 lead. Clemmensen ended up surrendering a goal to David Clarkson with 5:14 left, but didn't give up anything else to earn his ninth win of the year.

GOALIE SIGNS

University of Denver goalie Marc Cheverie has signed an two-year entry level contract with the Panthers meaning he's done playing with the Pioneers and will be at training camp come September.

Cheverie had a terrific junior season at Denver and was named one of 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award – the Heisman Trophy of college hockey. Cheverie led the nation in wins (24), shutouts (six) and save percentage (.937) as the Pioneers reached the NCAA regional semifinals.

“It's great to have this done,'' said general manager Randy Sexton. “He's a good young goaltending prospect. He made himself a player. He went to Denver as a backup and became one of the top goalies in the NCAA.''

-- Sexton said he will represent the Panthers at the NHL draft lottery show Tuesday in Toronto. The lottery will be held in New York at 7:45 with live television coverage and results shown a few minutes later. No word on what lucky charm Sexton will be bringing with him.

-- Rookie defenseman Dmitry Kulikov confirmed Thursday that he would participate in the World Championships for Russia.



Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Sexton should bring a rat for good luck.

I heard that Sexton was on MSG last night and said the following:

we need to get bigger, faster and younger.

He then said we are where the Devils were before they became good.

It is the first time I agree with Sexton. Before the Devils were good, the Great One called them a Mickey Mouse organization.


Yes Mr. Sexton you are the GM in a mickey mouse organization.

You have been here since 2007 and yet have never addressed the lack of a sniper, you have turned over the defense and they are not any better.

We are next to last in scoring, in the bottom 10 in goals against, power play goals and power play goals against.

If it wasn't for your goalies, we would be the worse team in the NHL.

Yes, we need to get bigger, faster and tougher.

Other teams are allowed to roam around our zone without being challenged, instead we try to block shots.

Clean House, don't let Sexton near the lottery or the draft

I realize we are all ticked off that we didn't make the playoffs again--take this to heart=neither did Tampa--They have Lecavlaier, St. Louis, Stamkos, Tanguay, Downie and they are tied with us??? Tampa should be embarassed to be tied with us. Take a look at the crop of free agents that is coming-I see nothing to get excited about--This is going to be a building process-hope we have good scouting and patience(mine is gone)

I think this upcoming draft..and subsequently, what they do with Vokoun in relation to the draft...will ultimately tell the tale about the fate of Sexton. They got Vokoun from Nashville with a draft-day trade of a first round pick and 2 second round picks, so I would look to a playoff team(Chicago) that has a bit of a "log-jam" at scoring forward that's looking to upgrade they're goalie situation, and looks at that as being they're last piece of the Stanley Cup puzzle.

Make your move in this draft, pair down the roster(and it's salary) to the "core players", take your lumps with Clemmensen for 2011(he's signed for 2 more years), either sign a relatively inexpensive veteran or bring up Salak to be the backup in goal, Find yourself a 1st freakin line center, and then get yourself some dependable veterans at forward that don't hurt themselves rolling off the training table(see Cory Stillman), and give this damn fanbase something to be able to actually brag about THIS DECADE!!!

I'm still willing to give Sexton the draft. He was sabotaged last year with JM's departure (probably with all the Panthers' notes) ownership's situation. Considering Sexton did pretty well considering what he was handed last year, I want to see how he does this time around. There's all sorts of trickery he could try and deals to be made.

I'm still hoping the Panthers can move up in this draft, but it looks unlikely. EDM and BOS aren't going to move their picks and Tampa will probably let the Panthers split the next two games, which will give TB the third pick (pending lottery). The Panthers will most likely pick 4th or 5th and at that spot they probably won't get the right-now help they need. I'm hoping they take Seguin if they win the lotto, Connolly if they don't.

Here's what he has in draft picks:
one high first round (FLA)
three second round (FLA, TB, PIT)
no third round
two fourth round (FLA, TOR)
one each in the fifth, sixth, seventh rounds

JM should never of traded 3 draft picks for Vokoun knowing the lack of depth in the organization.

I would give Sexton a break except he doesn't do his homework.

Why was he at the Bank Atlantic Center instead of going to games where possible draft picks are.

The guys history is of picking the wrong guy, he has been here long enough and had imput to create this team.


He is too conservative to build a winning organization. Earlier this year he was happy with the talent.

Last night despite saying we need to get bigger, faster and younger he blamed injuries for where we are at.

He brings in a 4th line center and makes him out as a 2nd line center. We do not have a first line center, winger nor a top 2 defensemen on this roster.

The reason Tampa is tied with the panthers is that they do not have the quality of goal tending the panthers have.

If they had the goalies they would be a top 5 team in the east

Take your lumps with Clemm? Really. Can't be any worse then the lumps you got now.

^Exactly my point. You take your lumps with Clemmensen as your #1 goalie for a year, and either give the backup job to Salak(if you think he's close), or an inexpensive veteran(Legace, Auld, Fill-in-the-blank-here, etc.).

If the goaltending position is the current strength of your team, from the NHl level down through the minors, and you think that moving a player like Vokoun would help bring you the young scoring/playmaking forwards that The Ctas need, then you need to find out if the "strength" of your team really IS something you can count on a year or two from now. You'll never know if Salak, Cheverie, or Markstrom really are good enough to take the rigors and grind of The NHL season as long as Vokoun(and his 6 million dollar anual salary) is still here. Vokoun will be 32 years old next year, and be in the last year of his contract(if I'm not mistaken), so you can either trade him before or during the draft(supposedly one of the best and deepest in years), or you can wait until next year(his walk year at 6.3 million) and HOPE you can move him(sounds like a Luongo situation ALL OVER AGAIN).

As much as I like having a world-class goalie like Vokoun in net, and as great as he was for most of the year, you simply can't(if you think your talent in the minors in goal is THAT good) re-sign him to another 6-7 million dollar contract extension, and they also can't let him walk for nothing. If you talent in goal is THAT good, then you either trade one of the kids for picks/players or you trade Vokoun for picks/players....We already know what the status quo has goten us, don't we?

Connolly had injuries during the season...Not saying that he is fragile, but might not be the guy you want to pick up. Tarasenko and Grunland might be the guys.

Panthers could trade (Vokuon or Weiss) to get another first round pick. Could be a good move, pick up another first rounder in the process. Especially if injuries are a concern for Connolly, we don't need another Oslez.

P.S. If the Panthers don't get rid of Oslez, send him to atheletic training for the entire summer. Boot camp would work well for him too. He needs to toughen up.

OK, so I tried using my upgrade ticket last night in order to get seats in the lower bowl, but when I went up to the box office, they said there weren't any more lower bowl seats available, apparently because everyone wanted to use their upgrade tickets last night (b/c Sunday's game is blacked-out).

I was so pissed because there were quite a few seats available last night. Yes, the arena was more filled up than I anticipated, but nonetheless, lower bowl seats were available. Evidently, Cliff and Stu are much like the Cohen regime.

Oh, and earlier in the week, I got an email from the organization giving me the opportunity to purchase lower bowl seats to last night's game for $25. Screw them man! They used to offer them for free ($8 convenience fee)!

I would prefer that Sexton is nowhere near this years draft come June. I'm sorry (not really) but I have zero, that's right zero confidence in him to make the right picks, as well as work the offseason for things that this organEYEzation needs.

Think about this, and I heard this remark by a former player and now hockey analyst today: When you look at your roster and you're trying to decide what to do and how to do it, your goal cannot be to just make the playoffs. You need to look at your roster and determine of these guys are the right guys that can go four rounds in the playoffs and contend for the cup.
Weiss-no
Horton-no
Reinprecht-no
Stillman-not any more
etc.

Someone earlier said that we shouldn't be too upset about not making it again, since teams that have some more skilled players didn't make it either. The problem with that is, we've missed the playoffs for nine consecutive seasons.

That should be enough to make a complete overahul.
No one should be protected this time.

MASS: You're nuts, Vokun is NO world class goalie, not even close. Early in the year he was good because they had Leapole and Seidenberg blocking shots. Compare his play before and after. It's a no brainer

EJ it is not Stu and Cliff it is Yormark.

Until these guys realize that they need to change the organization from the top down, we will continue to be a second rate organization.

It wasn't until NJ cleaned house that they became a first class organization.

Monday morning I am hoping Stu and Cliff will announce changes to the organization including bringing in a real hockey person to run the hockey side instead of Yormark.

I hope we have scouts go to the games and watch the players we might draft or sign instead of watching video tape.

Being cheap in the scouting and development part of hockey has put us in this position.

I hear Yormark is leaving. A rat leaving a sinking ship. Hope its true.

think about it....there's been different gm's, coaches, players, owners, assistant coaches, scouts, minor league coaches..
what's been the constant - yormark. He's scum...hurt players, people, families, employees, advertisers...
get his stench out of here.

That Charlie Daniels plays a mean fiddle.

So, the suggestions have been here:

Get rid of our top goalie scorer
Get rid of our all star goalie
Get rid of the non hockey operations guy who successfully sells advertising ...

Ok.

The comments to this entry are closed.