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GR's Fourth Period Presented by Titleist: Playoffs Round 2 ... News, Notes from the Panthers

HappyGood morning hockey fans, hope you are enjoying these Stanley Cup playoffs as much as I am.

First off, have to apologize to all of you who religiously check this site each day looking for some Panthers updates, but there hasn't been much going on.

Don't know if you heard, but the Rochester Americans -- the Panthers AHL affiliate -- opened their first round series with the Abbotsford (Miami) Heat by splitting a pair of games in Rochester before heading west for three games.

The Amerks won the first two games and took a commanding 3-1 lead. Sounds great right?

Eh, not so much.

Like the Capitals, the Amerks took it on the chin and lost the next three games (unlike the Caps, Rochester lost the final two playoff games at home) and were bounced from the postseason. Folks in Rochester are not happy at all, with the crowd at War Memorial chanting for coach Benoit Groulx's job during the Game 7 loss to the Heat. I would guess those disgruntled fans will get their wish.

Jason Garrison had a solid series for the Amerks, registering nine points off two goals. Shawn Matthias has two goals and five assists in the seven game series.

-- Also of note, the Panthers -- who announced their offseason was going to be sponsored by a Japanese luxury car maker that rhymes with Texas -- have signed two of their prospects to entry level deals.

Center A.J. Jenks of the Plymouth Whalers signed on Wednesday as the 2008 fourth round pick recently finished his OHL season with 23 goals and 40 assists. He'll be at the Coral Springs training camp (I haven't heard if Florida has finalized its rookie camp info yet) and likely start the season with the Amerks.

Florida also signed free agent forward Eric Selleck out of Division III Oswego, N.Y. The Panthers like this guy as he is said to be a real gamer. He had 21 goals in 28 games last season for the Lakers.

-- How bout those NHL playoffs, eh? Pretty fun stuff. Like many, I was absolutely floored to see Washington flame out the way they did against the Canadiens -- especially offensively. JM's defense smothered the Capitals and held them to three goals in the final three games of the series.

That's darned impressive. The Capitals can usually score three goals in half a period, but they were stymied by the Habs and star goaling in the making Jaroslav Halak (who stopped 94 percent of shots faced in the series).

Montreal's special teams also flattened the Caps as Washington went just 1 for 33 on the power play in the seven games. You would think that would be last in the league, but it wasn't. Buffalo, which lost to Boston, went 0-for-19 with the advantage in its six game series.

Would have loved to have been in Montreal last night for that party.

Alas, I don't see the Canadiens partying all that much after this. They draw the Penguins next.

-- Speaking of predictions, I went 6-2 in the opening round. That Jersey pick was right on (did the Devils even look like they were interested in playing) but the Red Wings had me sweat out a Game 7 that turned into a laugher. The two losses: Buffalo and, yes, Washington.

Here's what I got for the second round.

In the east, I like the Penguins to ease on down the road and knock off Montreal in five. That will set up a Keystone State Eastern Conference final for the second time in three years because Philadelphia keeps its truck running by knocking off the Bruins in six.

Out west, I hate to do this but I think the Red Wings are going to be a little gassed and this might just be the Sharks year. I'm taking San Jose in 7 -- but feel awful about it. Also taking Chicago over the Luongos in 7. Hope I'm wrong though. Would love to see a Chicago-Detroit west final.

Here's the schedule for all the games.

Hopefully I'll have some more news for you in the coming days. Fore!

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Date                         Time (ET)         #4 Pittsburgh vs. #8 Montreal                Network        
Friday, April 30                 7:00 p.m.         Montreal at Pittsburgh                        CBC, RDS, VERSUS**
Sunday, May 2                 2:00 p.m.         Montreal at Pittsburgh                        NBC, CBC, RDS
Tuesday, May 4         7:00 p.m.         Pittsburgh at Montreal                         CBC, RDS, VERSUS
Thursday, May 6         7:00 p.m.         Pittsburgh at Montreal                        CBC, RDS, VERSUS**
Saturday, May 8 *         7:00 p.m.         Montreal at Pittsburgh                        CBC, RDS, VERSUS**
Monday, May 10 *         7:00 p.m.         Pittsburgh at Montreal                        CBC, RDS, VERSUS
Wednesday, May 12 *         TBD                 Montreal at Pittsburgh                        CBC, RDS, VERSUS

Date                         Time (ET)         #6 Boston vs. #7 Philadelphia                 Network
Saturday, May 1        12:30 p.m.         Philadelphia at Boston                         NBC, TSN
Monday, May 3                 7:00 p.m.         Philadelphia at Boston                        TSN, VERSUS**
Wednesday, May 5         7:00 p.m.         Boston at Philadelphia                        TSN, VERSUS**
Friday, May 7                 7:00 p.m.         Boston at Philadelphia                        TSN, VERSUS**
Monday, May 10 *         7:00 p.m.         Philadelphia at Boston                        TSN2, VERSUS
Wednesday, May 12 *         TBD                Boston at Philadelphia                        TSN, VERSUS
Friday, May 14 *         7:00 p.m.         Philadelphia at Boston                        TSN, VERSUS

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Date                         Time (ET)         #1 San Jose vs. #5 Detroit                  Network
Thursday, April 29         9:00 p.m.         Detroit at San Jose                         TSN, VERSUS**
Sunday, May 2                 8:00 p.m.         Detroit at San Jose                        TSN, VERSUS**
Tuesday, May 4         7:30 p.m.         San Jose at Detroit                         TSN, VERSUS
Thursday, May 6        7:30 p.m.         San Jose at Detroit                        TSN, VERSUS
Saturday, May 8 *         10:00 p.m.         Detroit at San Jose                        TSN, VERSUS
Monday, May 10 *         7:30 p.m.         San Jose at Detroit                        TSN, VERSUS
Wednesday, May 12 *         TBD                 Detroit at San Jose                        TSN, VERSUS

Date                         Time (ET)         #2 Chicago vs. #3 Vancouver                 Network
Saturday, May 1         8:00 p.m.         Vancouver at Chicago                         CBC, VERSUS**
Monday, May 3                 9:00 p.m.         Vancouver at Chicago                        CBC, VERSUS
Wednesday, May 5         9:30 p.m.         Chicago at Vancouver                         CBC, VERSUS
Friday, May 7                 9:30 p.m.         Chicago at Vancouver                        CBC, VERSUS**
Sunday, May 9 *         8:00 p.m.         Vancouver at Chicago                        CBC, VERSUS
Tuesday, May 11 *         9:30 p.m.        Chicago at Vancouver                        CBC, VERSUS
Thursday, May 13 *         8:00 p.m.         Vancouver at Chicago                        CBC, VERSUS

Comments

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In the playoffs, good goaltending beats good scoring, which is why the panthers should think twice in trading vokie...see if he wants a reasonable extension for 2 years till Markstroms ready...

George,

Any chance you can ask anyone in our front office why we are not bringing in Steve Yzerman for any potential openings with our organization? President, GM, Director of Scouting, etc. I think it is time we overpay for some front office experience to counteract the ridiculous player contracts over the past few years.

Respectfully,

Yzerman would never come here...and quite frankly i can't balme him. I'm beginning to serioulsy wonder why I'm still around.

The thing about goaltending in the playoffs is all it takes is for someone to get really hot and it doesn't matter if they are a top 5, top 10 goalie or not. How many times have we seen guys get on a streak? Look at Brodeur, a Vezina candidate, getting bounced in round 1. Jimmy Howard and the Wings beat Bryzg-whatever-ov, who is another Vezina candidate.

Having Vokoun doesn't guarantee anything, it's the team around Vokoun that needs to be fixed before we can even think about the playoffs (see the past 10 years of Luongo & Vokoun = still no playoffs). I hope the owners put their money where the mouths are this offseason and we see some real change, not just 3rd or 4th liners touted as 1st or 2nd liners (i.e. Rhino, Koistinen, Stillman, etc.)

While I can't say I followed MTL very closely (or at all) this season, I did watch the playoff series. Was it really JM's defense that smothered the Caps? Didn't they give up around 418 shots in game 6 and 7? Sounds a lot like JM's Panthers...

The goaltenders were the difference in that series. Halak was a wall, while Theo-Lamov was their weakness, as it has been every year.

will beats skill (quoting Barry Melrose) every time, unfortunately when you have neither, you have the Florida Panthers.

Noone that would require a big contract will come here. This team runs its hockey operations on a shoestring, all the money is put into the arena, anyone know why Yormark would put those two signs for the arena in areas that you can't see them from the road?

answer is more advertising space for the arena.

Until we have ownership that is interested in winning we will have the same old.

The owner of Tampa said you have to pay more for talented people and they will bring in more of a return.

We only have 3 players that show up every game, Allen, Campbell and Booth.

until ownership commits to building a NHL caliber organization we will be near the bottom of the league.

The panthers have not developed a single player that has been nominated for a post season award, after ten years out of the playoffs you would think they would find one by accident

Light that fuse......blow it up!!

As Alan Cohen's puppets Stu and Cliff sit on there hands and do nothing because their GM says we are happy with our top 5 forwards, the real NHL team in the State of Florida, Tampa continues to make their front office into a first rate front office.

This is from ESPN: "So maybe Steve Yzerman is considering the Tampa Bay Lightning GM job, after all. TSN reports Yzerman, former Minnesota Wild GM Doug Risebrough and Toronto Maple Leafs' No. 2 man Dave Nonis are on new owner Jeff Vinik's short list of potential GMs."

Stu and Cliff please realize that this team has not made the playoffs in 10 years, they have not won a playoff game in 13 years they finished dead last in the weakest division in hockey where you play a majority of your games. You have the same core of forwards for the last 5 years.

You don't have a director of hockey operations, you don't have an assistant GM, you have hardly any scouts, your organization has not developed a single player in over 10 years, most knowledgeable hockey people say you only have one player worth anything (Vokoun) and his market value is going down as the teams in the running begin to show that they don't need a goalie. The market of tradeable goalies is increasing and the demand is decreasing which means you won't get fair value for Vokoun.

You talk about accountability but you listen to a guy who was out of hockey before being picked up by his buddy JM the GM, your coach in Rochester another buddy of JM the GM is a joke as he hasn't helped any of our young players, they seam to degress instead of improve when they join your organization.

Where is the action, watch as Atlanta and Tampa improve and we think we have a team capable of making the playoffs. The panthers are not relevant in this market nor are they relevent in the NHL, teams come in and play their back up goalies because they know they are playing a team that is not NHL caliber except for the goal tending

Accountability please do something to improve your image of being a mickey mouse organizationn where the local media doesn't even care about you.

Build a winner bring in winners and build a first class front office, if you are only in it for the arena then bring in someone who wants to win. We want to have the panthers become a NHL team again that people know they will have to be at their best to win. Right now if the 19 guys on the ice don't play their best game we lose.

All I can say is "Remember the 90's" when we were consistantly picked as one of the top teams in the league, and at times even had top 5 odds to win the cup. Bet that is 5 to 10 years away.... hopefully we can all hang on that long.

the way these owners act it will be another 20 years before we can compete.

Ottawa and Washington's owners are both upset that they lose in the first round and say next year they have to be better

The Panthers don't make the playoffs for 10 years and they promote from within.

No real hockey people running the hockey side no wonder we have only one player that is a better player then when he arrived in the panther organization (Booth) under this management team.

Washington, Atlanta, Tampa and Carolina will all be improved next year, the panthers will remain the same. Oh joy, last place in the weakest division in the NHL again, bring on the confetti!

I realize that most of our squad is 'un-moveable' due to worth, etc.

Shouldn't Cliff and Stu AT LEAST move ALL of the office AND scouts/coaching staff (sorry, Pete--you too) and see what a refreshed outlook that would have?

Makes sense to me--they have to do something. I'd rather that happen and keep T-Vo. (Who's worth to other teams is also dwindling big time)

...and while we're at it...let's change the Miami Herald's hockey beat writers too! HAHA--just kidding, George;)

You always have to get personal E....

We tend to forget what a mess the team was in when Keenan was finally fired a couple of years ago. It takes time to rebuild the right way. Under Martin, we acquired our own AHL franchise and rebuilt our farm system. In time, it will translate to an improved product on the ice.

Maybe Yormark will come up with some new slogans. Like I'm a loser and dragging the rest of the team along with me. Or I take credit for everything good and blame everyone else when things dont turn out.
Has Sacco or Moller written any blogs for him lately.

...still checking your site......everyday.....waiting for the accountability........(crickets, chirping)....(a dog barks in the distance)...................

Yormark's new slogan should be I ran this franchise into the toilet so lets sell the space for advertising

You're dreaming about the farm system zenator. The coach here is a total joke. No one likes him and he hasn't done much at all here that has helped the prospects improve. Ellerby is a joke. Dadanov and Repik tailed off significantly this season. Even Garrison had a mediocre playoff. Salak should have been in the ECHL along with at least 5 others on this squad including Caruso, Beaverson and Sweetland.

If they keep this coach, well see how much he can screw up new prospects like Jenks, Comrie, Selleck and Chevrie.

Lets see how smart Sexton is. If he keeps this dud, something is seriously wrong in your front office.

Litterbox cats has an article where Jaime Johnson, who led the Amerks in scoring, rips the Panther organization. It may be a bit of sour grapes, but it also brings up something interesting and valid points. This was a team that was supposed to make a run at the Calder Cup and instead ended up being the first AHL team to lose a 3-1 series lead.

Sexton isn't smart he overpaid after drafting Alexandre Daige.

Maybe this sums it best:
Who would you rather have- Keaton Ellerby drafted 10th in the 2007 draft or PK Subban drafted 43rd in the 2007 draft?
Let's make a deal???

Monty:

you can do that with every draft for the panthers since Cohen bought the team.

For example the 2003 draft is considered the deepest draft ever yet the only players on the panthers from that draft are Nathan Horton and Kamil Kreps.

we could of had Eric Staal, Thomas Vanek, Ryan Suter, Dion Phaneuf, Jeff Carter, Brent Seabrook, Zach Parise,Ryan Getzlaf, Mike Richards, Corey Perry, just to name a few

This is what happens when you don't put the resources into scouting and developing.

Damn!!! I didn't know we had our choices of all those players and ended up with Horton and Kreps. I knew we should've picked Staal over Horton but really? Could you imagine what our team would've looked like with good scouting and GM??

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