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82 posts from September 2010

September 30, 2010

Anyone Up for THIS Reunion? Didn't Think So ... Charitable Events ... Coverage for Lightning

Roybeezer The Colorado Avalanche are having a reunion to celebrate some championship it won in 1996.

Read more about it here.

I don't know if the Avs are going to be playing golf on Saturday, but if you are looking to get a round in and want to help out a good cause, I got a tournament for you.

I would be there, but instead I'll be driving up to Tampa listening to Joe Zagacki call the Miami-Clemson game.

Anywho, the Mahi Shriners golf tournament kicks off Saturday at 8 a.m. at the CC of Miami. There are prizes to the top three teams and a Caddy if you can drop in a hole-in-one. Good luck. For more info, 305-325-0411 or mahishriners@bellsouth.net

Chase -- Also, those who are trying to go to the Panthers luncheon on Monday in Coral Springs, forget it. They sold it out again.

The lunch benifits a good cause as well.

I'll be there -- refilling the water glasses, replacing the butter. If you drop a fork, I'll give you another.

-- No television or radio coverage for tomorrow's game against the Lightning in Sunrise, but there is going to be some media stuff happening on Saturday. Almost a media overload!

At 11:30 a.m., FSN Florida breaks out its season preview.

And while they won't be showing the game, it will be broadcast live on their website. Also, Randy Moller will be in Tampa and 560 WQAM will have Saturday's game the old school way. He'll also have a season preview show starting at 6 p.m.

-- LIVE! chats, right here, for both games against the Lightning.

 

 

Dale Tallon Drinks From Stanley Cup, Now Name is on It

Hawkscup The architect of the Chicago Blackhawks may be starting a new project in South Florida, but his legacy is now secure.

Dale Tallon's name is carved onto the Stanley Cup.

Tallon, the first-year general manager of the Panthers, not only will be getting a championship ring (which the Chicago Sun-Times estimates its worth at $30,000) but his name is engraved on the side of the Cup.

(Top photo courtesy of Chicago Sun-Times)

Tallon was named Chicago's general manager in 2005 and held that role until being Tallon1 replaced by Stan Bowman prior to the 2009-10 season. Tallon's name is directly below Bowman on the Cup.

“I was always hopeful it would be on there,'' said Tallon, who will get his ring delivered to him from a Chicago team official at a later date.

“I heard through the grapevine during the summer that it would be. When I left for Florida, I told [team owner] Rocky Wirtz I would love a ring if they won it. He wished me well and promised me that. Having my name on the Cup? I hadn't heard about that until later on. Chicago has been more than gracious with me throughout the process. I was proud to be there, and excited to have my name on the Cup.''

Tallon was widely celebrated in Chicago despite watching his former team win its first Cup since 1961 from South Florida. Players he signed or drafted sent congratulatory text messages and called Tallon to share the moment with him. Tallon missed the parade through downtown Chicago but flew there soon afterward to celebrate with his former players – meeting them at a hotel pool bar for a drink out of the Cup.

“I took my family up there,'' Tallon said. “I had promised those players I would drink out of the Cup with them when we won, and they held me to it. It was my first drink in 16 years. Trust me, it was a bellyfull.''

Tallon had been a part of the Blackhawks organization for four decades, dating to his days as a defenseman for the team. Tallon also worked as a team broadcaster and served as Chicago's director of player personnel and assistant general manager.

Upon being replaced by Bowman, Tallon was named senior advisor to the team. He resigned that post in May to become Florida's ninth general manager in franchise history.

He says he hopes the first time his name gets engraved on the Cup isn't the last.

“That's what we want to do here,'' Tallon said.

Chicagoring

-- Tallon said one of the cool things about the Cup engraving is that his name is directly next to Joel Quenneville.

Those two have been long time friends and Tallon hired Quenneville to be the coach of the Hawks in 2008.

-- Tallon on getting his ring: "I can't wait to get it. I hear it's beautiful. A lot of bling.''

-- Current members of the Panthers organization whose name are engraved on the Cup:

Tallon (Chicago, 2010)

Winger Cory Stillman (Tampa Bay 2004, Carolina 2006)

Center Steven Reinprecht (Colorado, 2001)

Equipment manager Chris Scoppetto (Detroit, 2008)

Pro scout Pete Mahovlich (Montreal, 1971, '73, '76, '77)

Director of player development Brian Skrudland (Calgary, 1989)

Amateur scout Kent Nilsson (Edmonton, 1987)

EDIT: DUH -- Alternate governor Bill Torrey (Islanders, 1980-83)

-- Former Panthers John Torchetti (head coach, 2004) and Nick Boynton (defenseman, 2008-09) are also on the Cup as part of the Chicago championship.

-- The Panthers have struggled to win shootout games but perhaps they have found a new weapon. Mike Santorelli, who appears to be Florida's new second line center, scored four goals in a shootout competition at the end of Thursday's practice.

No other player scored more than once. The Panthers were 6-10 in shootouts last season and the team's 35 percent success rate is lowest in the league since the format came into play in 2005-06.

“I think he scored more goals than we got in the shootout all of last year,'' DeBoer joked. “That's a good thing.''

-- Defenseman Dmitry Kulikov (foot) and wingers Byron Bitz (groin) and Chris Higgins (lower body) all missed practice on Thursday and are unlikely to play this weekend in the home-and-home series against Tampa Bay.

FRIDAY'S GAME: LIGHTING AT PANTHERS
When, Where: 7:30 p.m.; BankAtlantic Center
TV/Radio: None

September 29, 2010

Panthers Notebook: Mike Santorelli to Start Season as Florida's Second Center?

Santorelli2 The message from the beginning of Panthers training camp was that players who have a strong showing in workouts and in exhibition games will be rewarded.

Mike Santorelli may be proof of that.

It appears Santorelli is Florida's new second line center. The 25-year-old who was traded to Florida from Nashville during the summer was working on a line with Cory Stillman and Rostislav Olesz on Wednesday at BankAtlantic Center.

Steven Reinprecht was moved to left wing where he played alongside center Shawn Matthias and right winger Michael Grabner.

Florida isn't expected to make cuts until Sunday – following Saturday night's preseason finale in Tampa – but it looks like Santorelli is on the team.

“The key here is the desperation to play, and guys are going to have to be prepared to play different roles and in different spots,'' said coach Pete DeBoer. “[Santorelli] is definitely challenging for a job and has had a real good preseason so far. He deserves a continued look based on his play.''

Santorelli made the Predators opening night roster last season as a winger and only lasted in Nashville until January. Santorelli, playing mostly right wing, scored two goals with an assist in 25 games with the Predators and was returned to the minors where he finished the season.

“There's a lot of work to be done,'' said Santorelli, who has 74 goals and 171 points in three minor league seasons. “Last year was a great learning experience. I went home this summer to work on the things I thought I needed to. I'm putting those things to the test right now.''

Mike Santos, Florida's new assistant general manager, worked in Nashville the past few years and knew Santorelli didn't fit with the Predators plans. He helped broker the deal. Florida sent a conditional fifth round pick to the Preds.

“This is a guy we drafted in Nashville and was a top scorer in juniors, led the nation in goals at Northern Michigan and is a big-time scorer in the AHL,'' Santos said. “I've spent five years watching him so I know how talented he is. He fills a need for us. We need youth, speed and guys who can play center. He answers all three of those. .-.-. This is the type of guy who, given the right opportunity, could flourish with us.''

With Santorelli not starting with Florida's AHL affiliate in Rochester, N.Y., the Panthers swung a deal with Washington on Wednesday and acquired veteran center Michael Nylander. The Capitals are loaning the soon-to-be 38-year-old to the Panthers and covering his $3 million salary.

Nylander remains Washington's property and will play for Rochester. Washington can recall Nylander whenever it pleases; Florida cannot.

“I recognized he might be loaned and it never hurts to ask. They said sure,'' said Santos.

Reinprecht said he has played wing in the past and added that he wasn't disappointed with the demotion. Reinprecht was traded to the Panthers last summer from Phoenix and signed a three-year contract extension with the team. He scored 16 goals with 22 assists as he played in all 82 games last season.

“It's no big deal, I've played wing in my career before and I'm comfortable there,'' said Reinprecht. “Wherever the team needs me, I'm willing to help out.''

Added Santos: “The message to Reinprecht is the same as it is to everyone else: No one is guaranteed a spot here. There's certainly a youth movement afoot. We're going with the best guys. There are some contractual issues, sure, but we're going with the best guys we can.''

-- Wingers Byron Bitz and Chris Higgins both missed Wednesday's practice with what DeBoer called minor injuries. Both could return for today's 10 a.m. practice and 11 a.m. scrimmage at the Coral Springs Iceplex.

-- The Panthers made seven cuts to their roster on Monday night and are currently at 29 players. Florida is expected to carry the full allotment of 23 players to start the season. Players who are waived would have to clear before the Panthers submit their opening night roster to the league on Wednesday.

Florida opens the season Oct. 10 in Edmonton and the Panthers expect to have their opening night team on the ice at Monday's morning practice.

THURSDAY'S SCHEDULE
At Coral Springs Iceplex (admission free)

Full squad practice, 10-11 a.m.; scrimmage 11-noon

FRIDAY'S SCHEDULE
Tampa Bay Lightning at Panthers (BankAtlantic Center), 7:30 p.m.

UPDATED: Michael Nylander Off to Rochester ... Bitz, Higgins Miss Practice

NylanderKevin Oklobzija of The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle broke the story this afternoon regarding the Panthers acquiring veteran center Michael Nylander on loan from Washington with him being assigned to AHL Rochester.

Washington will cover his entire $3 million salary as this is a straight loan -- with the Panthers paying the Caps a nominal fee. Washington can recall him whenever they want.

So, why would the Caps pay his salary and send him to the Panthers affiliate instead of the Hersey Bears? Probably because the Bears are already loaded with veteran guys.

"I can't speak for Washington, but sometimes the situation isn't right for a particular guy,'' said Mike Santos, Florida's assistant GM.

"With Mark Cullen going down [achilles tendon] and Mike Santorelli looking like he has a good chance to make Panthers, we needed a center in Roch. I recognized [Nylander] might be loaned and it never hurts to ask. Washington said sure.

"The Capitals may have as much firepower up front as any other team so you can see why he isn't a fit there anymore. But he is under contract and this gives him a chance to have people see him play. People may be interested as he is a free agent next year. He can show someone he still has enough to sign somewhere else.''

-- Also, Byron Bitz and Chris Higgins missed practice today with what Pete DeBoer called minor injuries.

OnFrozenFilm: Steven Reinprecht, Training Camp in Sunrise

OnFrozenFilm: Mike Santorelli, Training Camp in Sunrise

Stay Off the Logo: Panthers Block off the Locker Room Cat

 

Lockerroomlogo The Panthers put up a little temporary fence around the carpeted logo inside their locker room in Sunrise.

It's supposed to be there so media types like yours truly don't walk all over it while in there trying to grab players for interviews.

Truth is, it should keep some players from walking all over it as well. From my experiences, they are the biggest culprits of the unwritten locker room code than anyone else.

A little overboard, if you ask me. And no one did.

OnFrozenFilm: Pete DeBoer, Training Camp in Sunrise

Mike Santorelli Making His Point: Panthers Competition Heating Up

Santorelli Panthers coach Pete DeBoer said there would be plenty of opportunity for players who go strong in training camp to make this team.

Mike Santorelli, a guy the Panthers front office has liked all along, may have just swiped a gig.

In Wednesday's practice at The Billboard, Santorelli was centering a line with Rostislav Olesz and Cory Stillman.

That part actually isn't the news. The news is that Steven Reinprecht, penciled to be the second line center, was moved to another line. As a winger. Reinprecht was on a line with Shawn Matthias centering and Michael Grabner working the right side.

I have video from Pete DeBoer as well as Santorelli and Reinprecht upcoming.

Santorelli made the Preds out of camp last year but was sent back to the minors in Janurary after not making much of an impact. Santorelli had a two goals and an assist in 25 games with Nashville. He was minus-8 in those games.

So far this preseason, Santorelli has a goal in three games. He's also a minus-2.

More later...

 

Home Ice Advantage: Panthers Return to Sunrise


Home Ice Advantage: Panthers Return to Sunrise

Home Ice Advantage: Panthers Return to Sunrise

Home Ice Advantage: Panthers Return to Sunrise

Home Ice Advantage: Panthers Return to Sunrise

September 28, 2010

Panthers Cancel Game: Hurricanes Won't Have to Weather Storm

Stormwarning The Panthers just called letting me know that Wednesday's preseason game between the Carolina and Panthers has been canceled due to the tropical storm.

We're currently under a tropical storm warning in case Channel 7 hadn't told you enough times.

Will have more details later, but according to team spokesman Justin Copertino, those with tickets for tomorrow's game can cash them in for a regular season game at a later date.

The Panthers will hold a practice tomorrow morning at The Billboard, so I'll have more On Frozen Films and such then.

Check back here for more storm updates.

From the Panthers:

The Florida Panthers announced today that their home preseason game against the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday, Sept. 29, has been canceled due to the threat DSCN0327 of severe weather conditions associated with Tropical Storm Nicole.

“We felt that it was in the best interest and safety of our fans, our players and the Carolina Hurricanes to cancel Wednesday’s game due to the threat of the impending tropical storm,” said Florida Panthers Executive Vice President/General Manager Dale Tallon. “We look forward to seeing all our fans on Friday night when we host the Tampa Bay Lightning.”

Wednesday night’s preseason game will not be re-scheduled. All fans holding tickets purchased for tomorrow night’s game can log onto www.floridapanthers.com and will be able to exchange their tickets for a select Panthers regular season game.

September 27, 2010

Panthers Notebook: Wideman's Fresh Start ... Panthers Make Cuts After 6-2 Loss to Canadiens

Wideman Just a side note: I left the team in Boston on Sunday and returned home. Therefore, I wasn't with them in Montreal.

Back on the beat Wednesday morning in Sunrise.

That doesn't mean I didn't watch the game tonight...

PANTHERS NOTEBOOK

Bryan McCabe knows exactly what Dennis Wideman went through last year in Boston.

In what would become McCabe's final season in Toronto, the fans turned on McCabe so badly that he even got booed after wins. After being traded to the Panthers in the summer of 2008, the only time McCabe gets the business is when he returns to Toronto.

“It's great for him, to get a breath of fresh air,'' said McCabe, who has three goals and two assists in the four games played in Toronto since being traded to the Panthers. “Sometimes it's nice to go to a non-hockey market and just go to the rink and have fun again. Don't take it so seriously. It does wear on you, it snowballs. God knows I've been through it. I think he's ready for the year, brings a different element.''

Wideman may not have been treated as rough as McCabe was, but he was definitely singled out by the Boston fans last season. Wideman struggled on both sides of the ice as the boos got louder and louder. Wideman rebounded late in the year and finished strong with 11 points in the playoffs. Wideman, with one year left on his contract, was shipped south in the Nathan Horton-Gregory Campbell trade in June.

He says he's looking forward to making new fans in Sunrise.

“I liked Boston, had a great time here, but it's a fresh start here,'' said Wideman. “I just have to play my game, get the puck to the forwards as quick as I can and follow the play. The guys here have been very good, the transition has been very easy. I'm really happy here.''

The Panthers didn't get much offensive production from their defensemen last season, something coach Pete DeBoer says has to change.

In 2008-09, Florida got 49 of its 231 goals (21 percent) from defensemen. Last year, Florida's blueliners accounted for 35 goals (17 percent).

Wideman is expected to help on that end. An offensive-defenseman, Wideman got six goals and 24 assists last season. Even though those numbers were a disappointment, his 30 points would have put him second on the team behind McCabe among Florida defensemen last year. In 2008-09, Wideman scored 13 goals with 37 assists. The Panthers would love to see numbers like that.

Florida's power play – ranked 29th in the league last season – should also benefit from Wideman. A right handed shot (Florida hasn't had one since Nick Boynton in 2008-09), Wideman has been working on the top power play unit with McCabe. Wideman has 17 power play goals with 41 assists in the past three seasons.

“I like the mix we have back there right now,'' said DeBoer. “Wideman is a bona fide offensive defenseman in this league. He had a down year, but there's no defenseman worth his salt who hasn't had a season like that. We think it was just a bump in the road. He's going to bounce back and be a big part of our team. With them he may have been a third or fourth [pairing]; with us, he's a one or two. I think he's ready for that.''

-- The Panthers assigned seven players to minor league camp in Rochester, N.Y., after Monday's game in Montreal. Goalie Tyler Plante as well as wingers Evgeni Dadonov, Michal Repik, Scott Timmins, Mike Duco, Triston Grant and Bill Thomas have joined the Rochester Americans of the AHL.

MONDAY'S PRESEASON GAME – CANADIENS 6, PANTHERS 2: David Booth was back in Montreal for the first time since Jaroslav Spacek ended his 2009-10 season with a jarring hit on March 25.

Booth scored the first goal of the night, but the Canadiens bounced back and scored five unanswered goals to hand the Panthers (3-1-0) their first loss of the preseason. Stephen Weiss scored with 1:53 left for Florida's second goal.

Montreal got to goals from Tomas Plekanec (one shorthanded) and one each from Spacek, Tom Pyatt, Mike Cammalleri and Ryan White.

The Panthers will take Tuesday off and return to the ice Wednesday when they play host to the Carolina Hurricanes at BankAtlantic Center.



September 25, 2010

Horton Gets a Goal, Panthers Get a Win: Florida 3, Bruins 2 (SO)

Hortonboston BOSTON – The walk from their condominium on the north side of town is only about 10 minutes from the arena, and these days, the hockey players from Florida are able to make that stroll in the shorts and sandals they've grown accustomed to wearing year round

The wardrobe will soon change.

Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg was the first member of the Panthers to be traded to the Boston Bruins, the shot blocking German sent north at last year's trade deadline. He signed a long-term contract with the team during the offseason. In June, he was joined by former teammates Gregory Campbell and Nathan, two wingers who had spent their professional career playing in the Panthers organization.

Seidenberg has been helping his old pals adjust to life in a new city – and to the pressures that come with playing in a true hockey market.

“I think they are definitely excited to get started here,'' said Seidenberg, who played in 62 games for the Panthers last season. “They're excited about the change, the pressure.''

The three players all live in the same building and often walk to and from the Garden together. Horton is the big name among the Florida Bruins, coming to the team in a big trade prior to the NHL Draft. General manager Dale Tallon also sent Campbell to the Bruins. Defenseman Dennis Wideman came in return as did the 15th overall pick in the draft.

The Horton/Campbell deal was not necessarily considered a blockbuster although it was one of the few major offseason NHL trades. Campbell was surprised by the move especially since he had always said he enjoyed playing in Florida and wanted to stay.

Horton being moved, however, had been talked about quietly for the past few years. The third overall pick of the 2003 draft, Horton's work ethic had been questioned and it was wondered if he would ever hit his potential in Florida. When he told new general manager Dale Tallon that he wouldn't mind a change of scenery, Tallon quickly started making calls and a deal was struck in Boston.

In Florida, Horton was looked upon as a talented power forward who could be much better than he was; in Boston, Horton is expected to flourish and help a Bruins team that struggled to score last season. Some feel Horton may be the missing piece that can help Boston reach the Eastern Conference finals after being beaten in the semifinals in each of the past two seasons.

Horton scored a career-high 27 goals in 2006-07. His goals dropped to 22 in 2008-09 when coach Pete DeBoer moved him to center. Horton was on pace to have a career year last season, but he missed 17 games after suffering a broken leg on an errant shot from Seidenberg on Jan. 21. Horton still ended up scoring 20 goals – third most on the team.

“It's been tough, ever since I was in Florida, not winning,'' said Horton. “It was a long time. It's nice for a change I think. I hope it all goes well. [Tallon and I] both knew it was time for a change and I think it's worked out well. .-.-. I think everyone underachieved. When you don't win, don't make the playoffs, it's not fun. It was a tough seven years, but it's where I started, where I started my family. It will always have a thing for Florida.''

On Saturday, Horton and Campbell played against the Panthers for the first time in their careers – with Horton getting the second goal of the game.

DeBoer has coached against former players, but he knew Horton and Campbell very well as the three have a long history. DeBoer and Horton are both from Dunnville, Ontario, and DeBoer coached Campbell not only in Florida, but in juniors as well.

“It's part of hockey obviously, and you get used to it the longer you're in it,'' said DeBoer, who warmly greeted Horton and Seidenberg near the Florida locker room as they were leaving Saturday morning. “I like both of those guys, have known them a long, long time.''

Campbell, like Horton, is excited to take on the new challenges playing in an Original Six hockey market poses – although there is decidedly much more pressure on Horton than there is on the fourth-line Campbell. Neither player has been to the NHL playoffs and if they miss it again this year, there will be much more consternation than there was during their run in South Florida.

“This is uncharted waters for me. I spent a long time in Florida and didn't know what to expect here,'' said Campbell. “But I'm excited. I'm really embracing the opportunity. The trade was a shock, although my contract was up. I guess if it was going to happen, that was the time. I didn't expect a trade, especially to Boston.''

SATURDAY'S PRESEASON GAME – PANTHERS 3, BRUINS 2 (SO): The Panthers rallied from a 2-0 deficit after getting goals from Radek Dvorak and Kenndal McArdle in the third period.

Goalie Scott Clemmensen played the entire game, making 25 saves – including two in the shootout. Florida got goals from Mike Santorelli and Cory Stillman on the only shots the Panthers needed.

Boston got its goals in the second period from newcomers Tyler Seguin (second overall pick in 2010) and Horton. The Panthers (3-0-0) conclude their four game exhibition road trip Monday in Montreal.

The Panthers have beaten the Bruins (1-1-1) twice this preseason.

BONUS STATS

GOALS

Bos Tyler Seguin (1:20 2nd) from Chara

Bos Nathan Horton (11:51 2nd) from Krejci

Fla Radek Dvorak (2:20 3rd) from Reasoner, Paetsch

Fla Kenndal McArdle (8:46 3rd) from Reasoner

SO: Cory Stillman (Santorelli also scored)

GOALIES

Bos Tuuka Rask 2-28; SO: 2-2

Fla Scott Clemmensen 2-25; SO 1-3

PP

Bos 0-5 (9:43)

Fla 0-4 (7:59)

ATT: 15,855

 

OnFrozenFilm: Scott Clemmensen, Boston Bruins Postgame (Part II)

OnFrozenFilm: Erik Gudbranson, Boston Bruins Postgame (Part II)

OnFrozenFilm: Radek Dvorak, Boston Bruins Postgame (Part II)

OnFrozenFilm: Pete DeBoer, Boston Bruins Postgame (Part II)

LIVE! Panthers 3, @ Bruins 2 (SO): Recap Below

To read the chat we had here tonight, go ahead and click on the link below. iPhone users have to wait a minute for it to go through.

-- First off, it looks like Scott Clemmensen will start the game tonight with Jacob Markstrom likely getting in sometime in the second period.

EDIT: That did not happen. Clemmensen went the whole way, stopping 23 shots -- plus two in the shootout.

Also, tonight's game is carried live by NESN. Those of you with satellite or AT&T U-verse (but probably not Comcast because, well, they're Comcast) should get this channel. Go through the sports channels (you know, all the FSNs and the like) and find it.

Then you can watch it. And chat here with us.

LIVE! Chat Tonight? Your Call

Since tonight's game is on NESN, should we go LIVE? Vote in the comment section. Heading to the Garden now...

The Billy Lindsay Goal: Now with Video!

Lindsaygoal BOSTON -- Here's a picture of Billy Lindsay's goal on April 26, 1996.

The goal -- one in which Billy left his feet and somehow poked it through -- broke a 3-3 tie between the Panthers and Bruins in Game 5 of the opening round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

The Panthers held on for a 4-3 win, giving them their first (and now, just one of three) playoff series victories.

Maybe not as big as Bobby Orr's goal for the Bruins (see post below) but still pretty memorable. Especially for the 150,000 people who claim they were there. I really was. Seriously.

Video below courtesy of the Panthers.

-- Speaking of that, anyone remember Incredible Universe? That place was great. I bought a sound system for my car there. I loved going there. You could really kill some time walking around that joint. I miss Circuit City too.