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Roadtrip to Rochester II: Goalies in Battle

Plantemask1 Again, this was written before Saturday's game, a 4-1 Amerks win as the series is tied 1-1.

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- The Panthers are in a pretty good position when it comes to having quality goaltenders within its system.

Whether its All-Star Tomas Vokoun or backup Scott Clemmensen on the big club, or minor leaguers Tyler Plante or Alexander Salak with the AHL Americans, general manager Randy Sexton knows his team is deep in net.

And with Jacob Markstrom and Marc Cheverie on the way up, there isn't room for everyone.

The Panthers are expected to shop Vokoun and the one year remaining on his NHL contract this offseason. Even if Vokoun, who has a no movement clause in the contract he signed with Nashville in 2007, is moved, the Panthers still have a numbers problem.

Florida will likely have to make a decision on whether to keep Plante or Salak. With Rochester in the AHL playoffs, their postseason play could make Sexton's decision for him.

“Every team is the same way, no matter the level, in having guys compete for ice time, spots on the roster,'' said Plante, who started for Rochester on Saturday night against the Abbotsford, British Columbia, Heat in Game 2 of the best-of-7 opening series.

“You can't let it affect your friendship. Hockey is an up and down sport and you have to be there for them and help them out. Good things will come for both of us if you do that.''

Salak, a free agent signed by former general manager Jacques Martin, is in his first professional season and has one year left on his contract. Plante's deal is up, but if the Panthers decide to tender him, Salak could be traded away. Markstrom is expected to start at Rochester next season but that's a long offseason away. Plante was called up for the Panthers final two games this season after Vokoun hurt his back but didn't play.

“This has been Plante's best year as a pro,'' said Sexton. “We have lots of options and you need depth in net because it's such a critical position. We have four very good young goalies so we're in a good spot.''

Markstrom, 20, has spent the past three seasons playing professionally in Sweden in a league with comparable – or even better – talent than the AHL. The Panthers would like to ease Markstrom into the North American system and that's valuable experience the AHL would provide.

Yet both Plante and Salak have had strong seasons for the Amerks. Plante ended the season with a flourish. After missing a big chunk of the season with a knee injury, Plante took over for Salak in net and set a career high in wins (12), saves (701) and shutouts (three). He was named the AHL's goalie of the month in March.

Plantemask2 Plante, who turned 23 on Friday, also has one of the coolest masks in the game – regardless of the league. Plante has two Will Ferrell characters on each side: Ricky Bobby from Talladega Nights and Chazz Michaels from Blades of Glory. Movie lines and a Bible passage also adorn the mask.

“Getting hurt in a contract year isn't what you want and I think I tried rushing myself to get back,'' said Plante, who stopped all 20 shots he faced after replacing Salak in Thursday's 3-2 series opening loss to the Heat.

“My injury lingered because I came back too soon. But my confidence came back when [coach Benoit] Groulx showed confidence in me and put me back in there. Being out so long, I didn't know I even had a roster spot anymore.''

It was a bit of a surprise to see Groulx go with Salak in the opening game as well as Plante had been playing. Salak didn't look sharp, with Abbotsford scoring a mere 35 seconds into the game. Salak stopped six of nine shots, the Amerks trailed 3-1 going into the second and Plante was informed during the first break that he was taking over.

Groulx has shown confidence in both goalie, however, although Plante would have to play poorly for Salak to get back in.

Salak carried the Amerks for much of the season and their hot start – the team opened 17-3-1 – was directly related to Salak's play. Named to the AHL All-Star team, Salak went 29-14-0 with the Amerks and made his NHL debut as Vokoun's back up at the beginning of the season when Clemmensen had to leave the team to attend to family matters in his home state of Iowa.

“Alexander Salak had a great start for us,'' said Groulx. “Tyler was off to a great start too, before the knee injury. Then Salak got hurt. That hurt our team because we had to play 12 straight games without them. We struggled. It was a tough couple of months, but they both came back and played well.

“We're still confident in both of them, but you can't play them both at the same time. We all want to win here. This is big for those guys because teams want to see players have success in the postseason.''


Comments

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the goalie situation shows the short sighted looking of Sexton, Yormark and the panthers.

A good/great GM looks at the team 3-4 years down the road. If Sexton were looking 3-4 years down the road he would have traded Vokoun instead of letting Anderson go.

Just another mistake by the front office of the Florida Panthers as they only think one season at a time, wanting to make the playoffs instead of building a winning organization.

The way it is going they will get lucky one year and make the playoffs lose 4 straight then not make the playoffs 10 more years.

Bring in real hockey leadership, clean out the front office

Clean out the front office? who's wants to come to Florida with Yormark in charge. A first time coach like deboer and a guy without a job for 15 years like sexton. Yormarks track record is nothing but losing. Until the owners realize this guy is nothing but a joke around the league and inside the team, its what it is.

youre a joke if you think thar Yormark has anything to do with the Panthers. He does not hire the coach he does not hire the GM he is not more powerful than the coach he is not more powerful than the GM he has no influence on either of the two. You are utterly ignorant if you think otherwise. Yormark is a gigantic tool. A businessman who runs SSE. He runs promotions, advertisements, etc. to keep this team afloat. He has nothing to do with the Panthers AT ALL. The sooner you can realize that and get your head out of your ass and realize that our poor management/coaching lies at fault of ownership... the quicker we can stop pointing fingers at the wrong guy.

youre a joke if you think thar Yormark has anything to do with the Panthers. He does not hire the coach he does not hire the GM he is not more powerful than the coach he is not more powerful than the GM he has no influence on either of the two. You are utterly ignorant if you think otherwise. Yormark is a gigantic tool. A businessman who runs SSE. He runs promotions, advertisements, etc. to keep this team afloat. He has nothing to do with the Panthers AT ALL. The sooner you can realize that and get your head out of your ass and realize that our poor management/coaching lies at fault of ownership... the quicker we can stop pointing fingers at the wrong guy.

Amerks win game 3, 8-4. Lead series 2-1. Shawn Matthias was first star. He's come a long way. Should be a decent Panther next season.

Awesome for Matthias and the Amerks! I wish we could see the games - anyone know of any online links?

Yormark keeps those urinals ads I pee on at the BAC - that's his job: make money through the venue. Like the guy said, he doesn't hire/fire the inept management we've had over the years, starting with AC. We really do need someone at the top in charge of hockey operations, someone who knows what they are doing. My jury is still out on Sexton as GM. I, like STH, wanted to stick with Anderson last summer and trade Vokoun for assets to round out the team.

Maybe we can try to sign 1 impact free agent this year? Just 1, please?

Matthias had a great game for Rochester last night. I hope he keeps it up so he can earn a spot on the team next season.

If you don't think Yormark has any influence on the hiring of a coach and GM you are kidding yourself.

I have always giving Yormark credit for the profits he makes running the arena.

Yormark makes the final decision on all business matters including budgets.

Anyone who is honest in this organization will tell you that Yormark is involved on the hockey side.

The problem is that this team has not had a team President since the mid 1990s. One of the reasons is the costs of having a first class front office. Without budgeting the money to hire these people you get stuck with JM the GM trying to coach and GM at the same time. You hire someone who has been out of the NHL for 15 years because that is all you can afford.

It was Yormark that decided to use video to scout players instead of finding out the character.

Sexton reports to Yormark.

Talk to people that worked in Tampa and you get the same picture.

If we have a President to run the hockey side and the proper budget to improve the scouting and development and Yormark handled the arena only then hockey will mean more than filling 41 days in the arena and getting enough attendence to qualify for the profit sharing.

Here it all is boys! if we do draft third overall, there is only one guy that can produce other then hall and Seguin and That is Connolly. Come on people look at the kids stats he was sixteen years old and got 30 goals and 30 assists in his first year and when he came back from injury started producing right away. this kid in my mind would be the first draft pick if he stayed healthy. So i hope sexton plays it right and picks him. we have a good core of young defense-men already and are goal tending has more depth then ever.
this team is lacking offensive, we have no star players or identity players here,
guys like horton and weiss are collecting paychecks and are far from identity players, like sexton said in his year end interview some of the players were playing for themselves not the team! come on anyone who was drafted third overall and has not made the playoffs in 6-7 years in his career you think they would put in the extra effort! clearly tells me they are collecting paychecks well laying in the sun swinging golf clubs. you can just tell they have no chemistry on the team at all, its almost like horton and weiss buddy up, try and get some points for themselves then you have the czech clan that cant produce and are way overpaid.
Everyone is watching sexton i hope he knows that the panthers whole fan base it waiting on this summer to see how much of a hero or complete tree stump he is predicted to be, with decisions this franchise has made in the past.
If i was sexton this summer here is what i would do.
first draft Connolly, throw him on the second line with frolik and weiss.
trade Horton and one of those second round draft picks he picked up and a youngster like Repik/clay Wilson/ Dadnov for Iginla now that he is rumored to be on the trade block its worth a shot am i right?!?!
next trade vokoun to Washington for mike green or another team that needs a goalie like detroit and get valtteri filppula??, mike green would play a huge role in the dressing room with his American bad ass identity and scoring touch. then bring up Markstrom and pick up a goalie like Fernandaz off free agency and swap Markstrom and Fernandaz back and fourth all year.
now the most simplest guys to get rid of, throw olesz kreps and campbell and stillman in a bag and ship them away for 2 guys like voracek from columbus and a guy like steen from the blues with 25plus goals this year . Its not rocket science the team needs a feel of fire and intensity and guys who want to play every night.
so this is how my roster would look.
first line) booth steen iginla
second line) Connolly weiss frolik
third line ) dvorak reinprecht matthias
fourth line) bitz tarnasky oreskovich

defense
ballard
mccabe
green
garrison
kulikov
ellerby

goalies
markstrom and fernandaz
plante

Read more: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/flapanthers/2010/04/panthers-headed-to-the-draft-florida-set-to-pick-third.html#ixzz0lhLLkAaJ

After watching the goaltending debacle in Ottawa - Let's make a (3-way) deal including Cheap Lou.
Vokun to Ottawa; Kovalchuk to Florida; Ottawa's no. 1 and Florida's No.1 ( if necessary)to NJ
Makes sens (no pun intended). Obviously the devil is in the details (pun intended). Now- the cat is out-of-the-bag (couldn't resist).

except that Kovalchuk is a unristricted free agent at the end of the season and appears to be going to LA


Anyone that gives Kovy big money is crazy... They'll only end up regretting it. Atlanta got what they could, and that's what you're supposed to do--cut your losses... Maybe we should learn some lessons... Someone will probably end up paying the guy, but I wouldn't offer him anything more than he's making now... And even then, he doesn't make others around him like Sid and A-O... Let him play in the KHL...

No chance in hell the Panthers pay Kovy 10 million a year. Not this franchise, not this ownership...no way. Forget that he'd put people in the seats ala Bure and would open things up for our other scorers whether he intends to or not. Sigh. I miss the 90s.

If anyone down there is still paying attention, the Amerks went up 3 games to 1 against Abbotsford with a 6-1 pasting of the Heat last night in British Columbia. Jordan Henry (who really should get a good look by the Cats next fall) had 2 more power play goals and is leading the AHL playoffs with 4. Tyler Plante had another outstanding game stopping 45 shots. Game 5 is on Friday.

This is what we need in an owner, not talk but action.

Stu and Cliff, you can learn alot from this owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning who lives in our own backyard.

This is what the Boston Globe is saying about Jeff Vinik who lives in Weston!!!!!!!

“I want excellence throughout the organization, people who are great people with great vision and integrity.’’

"If they come at a high cost, so be it, said Vinik, whose aim is to have the top three jobs filled by the time of the draft at the end of June. His career in finance has taught him that the best people often come with high price tags, but he’s OK with shelling out, “because in the end, you find those people pay dividends.’’

How did Alan Cohen miss the opportunity to have this well qualified gentleman buy into the panthers.

Maybe the rumors are true and Stu and Cliff are really fronts for Cohen who is still an owner.

Put money into the hockey operations, hire people in hockey operations that have vision and not just integrity

Sexton doesn't have a vision. we don't draft the right players, we don't sign the right free agents, we let the wrong people go for nothing.

Clean out the front office, hire people with a vision to make this mickey mouse organization into a first class organization.

Make hockey matter again in South Florida.

Amen!!!!

brett connolly brett connolly brett connolly brett connolly brett connolly brett connlly brett connolly

IS THE SAVIOR OF THIS FRANCHISE

Amerks lost 2-0 in game 7 of the playoffs, if anyone cares.

The Amerks took the pipe and lost a 3-1 lead in games. All your prospects played like crap. The biggest bust was Ellerby. He should go in any trade for Vokoun. Repik, Dadanov, Salak, Garrison and Oreskovitch ALL disappeared for the final 3 games.

The coach was just horrible, and if Sexton keeps him here, your prospects will continue to stink when they try and reach the NHL.

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