VANCOUVER – By nature, goalies are a suspicious bunch, always having their guard up.
When you face down a vulcanized piece of rubber being launched at your face like a missile day after day, it's easy to think everyone is against you.
So Tomas Vokoun's explanation on how a disputed goal was allowed was one only a goalie would come up with.
“It doesn't surprise me that they counted it,'' Vokoun said, perhaps half-joking but perhaps not.
“They want to get the scoring up. They count everything I guess. We deserved to win the game. We had 10 minutes where everything that could go wrong did go wrong. That's out of your control sometimes. They beat us on some plays, but how many times do you see goals like that? Not very often.''
Vokoun was at his midseason best on Sunday, but he came out on the short end of a 3-2 score against the Oilers. Of the first three shots Vokoun faced in the second period, all three turned into Edmonton goals.
The first two came off wicked redirections off the stick of players just trying to do something with the puck. The third came when a puck hit Horcoff in the boot; Horcoff appeared to turn his foot to direct the puck into the net. League rules say a player cannot make a kicking motion on an active puck.
The league ruled that Horcoff did not kick the puck and allowed the goal – to the Panthers chagrin.
“I wasn't trying to kick it in, just stop it,'' Horcoff told local reporters following the game.
After facing just 13 shots against the Oilers on Sunday, Vokoun returned to face the Canucks on Monday night.
“We have to get a win, he's our No. 1 guy and this is a test for him,'' coach Pete DeBoer said before the game. “This is one of the best teams in the league and we're going to need him. I can guaruntee you he'll face more than 13 shots. They may have 10 on the first shift.''
DeBoer said he was happy to be able to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving on Monday although he wouldn't have minded being back in South Florida with his family.
“It's a huge day here. I can't get used to calling it Columbus Day,'' DeBoer said with a grin. “My wife made a turkey and stuffing back in Florida. You know, people probably looked at us cross-eyed, but this is the Thanksgiving weekend I grew up with. I don't know what the celebration is for Columbus Day.''
-- Steven Reinprecht and Kenndal McArdle were healthy scratches for the second straight game.
OILERS 3, PANTHERS 2
BY GEORGE RICHARDS
EDMONTON, Alberta – The Panthers dominated the first two periods of Sunday's season opening game against the Oilers, but three fluke goals from Edmonton meant Florida rally to overtake the Oilers in the final 20 minutes.
There would be no comeback for the Panthers.
A disputed goal from Edmonton's Shawn Horcoff turned out to be the game-winner as the Oilers held off the Panthers 3-2 at Rexall Place. All five goals scored by the two teams came in a back-and-forth second period.
“We controlled the play pretty well and it should have been 1, 2-0 for us,'' said Marty Reasoner, who bagged two goals in his Florida debut. “We didn't capitalize on all the chances. That was a little frustrating, but I liked the way we played.''
Edmonton, the league's worst team in 2009-10, are now 2-0 after beating Florida and Calgary by a combined 7-2. The Panthers have lost three straight dating to the end of last season – one in which they finished in last place in their division for the first time in franchise history.
Panthers general manager Dale Tallon was incensed by Edmonton's third goal, a redirection off of Horcoff's skate that gave the Oilers a 3-1 lead midway through the second period.
Replays showed that Horcoff turned his foot as the puck struck him, moving the puck into the goal like a soccer player. The goal went under review at replay central in Toronto, but was allowed. The rule states that a player cannot make a deliberate kicking motion at a puck and put it through.
Tallon felt that's exactly what Horcoff did. So did coach Pete DeBoer.
“His foot moved forward,'' Tallon said.
“It looked like a kick to me,'' DeBoer said. “The interpretation of that rule, I don't understand. I don't know if you have to take a punter's kick or not. That's what the league gets paid to do, make those decisions. We have to live with them.''
Florida goalie Tomas Vokoun didn't have much to do for much of the first 40 minutes as Edmonton took just three shots in the opening period and four in the second. The first three shots the Oilers took in the second, however, turned into goals. And Vokoun couldn't be blamed for any of them.
“They had good fortune,'' Vokoun said. “It was a tough break for us. We played well, the effort was great.''
Edmonton grabbed a 1-0 lead when Dustin Penner camped out in front of the net, stuck out his stick and redirected a long shot from Tom Gilbert 1:33 into the period. Just three minutes later, Ryan Jones – with his back to Vokoun – reached out and knocked the puck out of the air and celebrated as it hit the back of the net. Vokoun, playing in front of the net, never had a shot at it.
Florida, trailing 2-0, kept shooting at Nikolai Khabibulin and got its first goal at the 6:11 mark of the second when Reasoner picked up his first goal as a member of the Panthers off a pass from fellow newcomer Steve Bernier.
Reasoner, centering a revamped fourth line featuring enforcer Darcy Hordichuk and Bernier, picked up his second with 2:09 remaining in the second period and he banged in a rebound off a shot from David Booth. That play was set up when Bernier made a slick pass from behind the boards to Booth. Khabibulin made the initial save but was out of position as the puck found Reasoner all by himself on the other side of the cage.
The five combined goals from the two teams in the second all but erased a pretty mundane opening period as Florida outshot the Oilers 11-3 and had a few good scoring chances.
“We should be rewarded for this and we weren't. That's the frustrating part,'' DeBoer said. “We played well and I'm not frustrated with our play or effort. I thought we were good.''
Chris Higgins, who signed on as a free agent this past summer, had two big chances but was snuffed out by Khabibulin on successive shots. Michael Frolik, playing on the top line with Booth and Stephen Weiss, came hard at the Edmonton goalie with 3:05 left in the first but was robbed.
Florida didn't have much success running its much-maligned power play. The Panthers, ranked 29th out of 30 teams in that category last year, failed to put together much of anything against the Oilers despite some great chances.
In the second, Florida had a pair of 5-on-3 opportunities but failed to put up even a handful of shots.
On the first two-man advantage, the Panthers lost the faceoff and watched the puck scoot back into the Florida zone. To make matters worse, Cory Stillman was charged with interference, wiping out the two skater advantage before it even had a chance to get rolling.
The Panthers had another such chance later in the period but failed to solve Khabibulin.
Florida, the last team to begin its 2010-11 season, get another chance to claim its first win of the season on Monday night as it visits Roberto Luongo and the Vancouver Canucks. It's going to be tough for Florida to keep up the rapid pace it showed Sunday, but Reasoner says
“Vancouver has a good veteran team, so it'll be a good challenge for us,'' Reasoner said. “If we can do what we did tonight, get some breaks, we're going to string some wins together.''
Well, Edmonton -- like everyone else in the league -- has already started its season. The Oil is 1-0 after dropping the Flams like a bad habit on Thursday night.
Yes, the Panthers are the last team to begin play this season.
We're going to have a LIVE! chat here tonight. I'll be busy writing and watching but will peek in from time to time. If you have any pressing questions to ask me, go ahead and send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyway, on to the chat. Will be slipping out to grab a bite so be patient. I have to approve everyone to get online so if you send a question and don't see it right away, that means I haven't gotten to it yet.
For those using the iPhone app, you have to give the software I use a second or two to load. Just click on the play icon in the box below and we're ready to go.
We'll see if we can make this a nightly thing.
Kickoff is at 8 p.m. (Miami Time) and we'll have a LIVE! chat for all those who like to watch their game with their computer (or iPhone) nearby.
Fox Florida will have coverage starting at 8 with the return of Steve Goldstein and Billy Lindsay. I won't be able to hear them since they'll be on the other side of the press gondola.
Come on back now, ya hear?
-- As expected, Steven Reinprecht and Kenndal McArdle are the healthy scratches. Tomas Vokoun in net tonight and Pete DeBoer says he'll wait and see on deciding who goes tomorrow in Vancouver.
-- Here are the lines:
EDMONTON, Alberta – Darcy Hordichuk skated onto the fresh ice at Rexall Place on Saturday morning, a familiar logo on the front of his sweater.
“Welcome back,'' Panthers radio voice Randy Moller shouted from the stands.
Hordichuk smiled and waved. Then it was time for work.
Panthers coach Pete DeBoer put Hordichuk and the rest of the team through a long practice, explaining he wanted to shake off the long flight from South Florida. The Panthers open the 2010-11 season Sunday night against the host Oilers. DeBoer's practice apparently wasn't long enough for Hordichuk; he kept everyone waiting for him as he kept going for a good 20 minutes after DeBoer left the ice.
“Anytime you can play for an organization that's headed in the right direction, that's a good thing,'' said Hordichuk, who played parts of two seasons with the Panthers from 2003-04 before being traded back to Florida from Vancouver on Wednesday. “We have a lot of good young guys here and some really good older ones. I think we can be a team that is an underdog that has success this year.''
Hordichuk may have just joined the team, but the Panthers plan on throwing him right into the mix. Hordichuk met the team in Edmonton and will apparently start on the fourth line against the Oilers alongside center Marty Reasoner and winger Steve Bernier.
If DeBoer keeps the same lines for Sunday's game, Steven Reinprecht and Kenndal McArdle will sit as healthy scratches.
“He's a physical presence and for a young team, we haven't had that on a consistent basis in our lineup since I've been here,'' said DeBoer. “He keeps other teams honest. He can skate, he can forecheck and that's how we have to play. Hopefully he can become a valuable player for us.''
Hordichuk has spent the past two seasons battling the Oilers as a member of the Canucks will see many familiar faces on Sunday. One, however, is an old pal. Edmonton enforcer Steve MacIntyre and Hordichuk go all the way back to juniors, and if MacIntyre plays on Sunday, they may revive some bloody memories.
“We played together and probably fought each other five or six times,'' said MacIntyre, who played in 18 games for the Panthers last season. “He says I knocked all his teeth out. He has new veneers in the front and says I'm the one who did that. I don't know. It's been a war between us. He's a good friend. He can afford the teeth now.''
Said Hordichuk: “He definitely chipped these teeth right here and he was the same size back then that he is now. It's good to see him get another shot. He's a good ol' Saskatchewan boy. He just gets stronger and stronger.''
Reinprecht went from being the Panthers second line center last season to being moved to the wing during training camp. Now, for the first time since joining Florida in 2009, it appears that he'll miss his first game. Reinprecht played in all 82 games last year but it looks like he'll start this season in the press box.
“There's definitely going to be a couple guys who are not going to be happy about not being in the lineup,'' said DeBoer, saying who will be scratched hasn't officially been decided. “It's a luxury we have this year that we didn't have last year. Last year, everyone played regardless of the situation. They were all put on notice at the end of last year in that was going to change. I expect them to handle it professionally. When they get in, make it so I can't take them out.''
TALLON CELEBRATES 40 YEARS OF THE CANUCKS IN VANCOUVER
Panthers general manager Dale Tallon missed Saturday's practice as he was in Vancouver taking part in that team's 40th anniversary celebration prior to the Canucks game against Los Angeles. The Canucks first game came against the Kings on Oct. 9, 1970.
Tallon was the Canucks' first-ever draft pick in 1970. Tallon, a defenseman, spent three seasons in Vancouver before being traded to Chicago. Tallon has a morning flight scheduled to rejoin the Panthers on Sunday.
SUNDAY: PANTHERS AT OILERS
Where, When: Rexall Place, Edmonton; 8 p.m.
TV/Radio: FS Florida/560-AM
The Series: Edmonton leads 9-8-3
The Game: The Panthers are 7-6-2 with a tie all-time in season openers and have lost two of their past three. Florida beat Chicago 4-3 in a shootout in last year's opener in Helsinki, Finland. The Oilers opened their season Thursday with a rousing 4-0 win over rival Calgary. .-.-. Edmonton will don its throwback uniforms from the glory days of the franchise on Sunday. .-.-. Florida will start Tomas Vokoun in net. .-.-. The Panthers won their previous meeting in Edmonton on Dec. 11, 2008.
FORT LAUDERDALE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT NEAR DANIA JAI-ALAI -- For those of you who asked, here is the NHL's release of all 30 Opening Night rosters.
Matt Beleskey, Jason Blake, Troy Bodie, Sheldon Brookbank, Ryan Carter, Kyle Chipchura, Cam Fowler, Ryan Getzlaf, Jonas Hiller, Saku Koivu, Paul Mara, Todd Marchant, Curtis McElhinney, Brendan Mikkelson, George Parros, Corey Perry, Bobby Ryan, Luca Sbisa, Teemu Selanne, Dan Sexton, Andy Sutton, Lubomir Visnovsky, Aaron Voros.
Injured: Jason Jaffray, Joffrey Lupul.
Nik Antropov, Niclas Bergfors, Zach Bogosian, Eric Boulton, Dustin Byfuglien, Nigel Dawes, Ben Eager, Tobias Enstrom, Ron Hainsey, Evander Kane, Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little, Chris Mason, Freddy Meyer, Fredrik Modin, Johnny Oduya, Ondrej Pavelec, Rich Peverley, Brent Sopel, Anthony Stewart, Chris Thorburn, Boris Valabik.
Injured: Patrice Cormier, Jim Slater.
Patrice Bergeron, Johnny Boychuk, Gregory Campbell, Jordan Caron, Zdeno Chara, Andrew Ference, Nathan Horton, Matt Hunwick, David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand, Adam McQuaid, Daniel Paille, Tuukka Rask, Mark Recchi, Michael Ryder, Nolan Schaefer, Tyler Seguin, Dennis Seidenberg, Mark Stuart, Tim Thomas, Shawn Thornton, Blake Wheeler.
Injured: Marc Savard, Marco Sturm, Trent Whitfield.
Chris Butler, Tim Connolly, Tyler Ennis, Paul Gaustad, Nathan Gerbe, Mike Grier, Jochen Hecht, Patrick Kaleta, Patrick Lalime, Jordan Leopold, Cody McCormick, Ryan Miller, Steve Montador, Shaone Morrisonn, Tyler Myers, Rob Niedermayer, Jason Pominville, Craig Rivet, Derek Roy, Andrej Sekera, Drew Stafford, Thomas Vanek, Mike Weber.
Mikael Backlund, Rene Bourque, Jay Bouwmeester, T.J. Brodie, Craig Conroy, Mark Giordano, Curtis Glencross, Niklas Hagman, Jarome Iginla, Raitis Ivanans, Tim Jackman, Olli Jokinen, Henrik Karlsson, Miikka Kiprusoff, Stefan Meyer, Brendan Morrison, Adam Pardy, Robyn Regehr, Cory Sarich, Steve Staios, Alex Tanguay, Ian White.
Injured: Ales Kotalik, Daymond Langkow, David Moss, Matt Stajan, Ryan Stone.
Anton Babchuk, Drayson Bowman, Brett Carson, Erik Cole, Joe Corvo, Zac Dalpe, Patrick Dwyer, Tim Gleason, Jay Harrison, Jussi Jokinen, Tom Kostopoulos, Chad LaRose, Jamie McBain, Patrick O'Sullivan, Justin Peters, Joni Pitkanen, Justin Pogge, Tuomo Ruutu, Bobby Sanguinetti, Jeff Skinner, Eric Staal, Brandon Sutter, Jiri Tlusty, Cam Ward.
Injured: Sergei Samsonov.
Bryan Bickell, Dave Bolland, Nick Boynton, Troy Brouwer, Corey Crawford, Jacob Dowell, Jordan Hendry, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Tomas Kopecky, Nick Leddy, Fernando Pisani, John Scott, Brent Seabrook, Patrick Sharp, Jack Skille, Viktor Stalberg, Jonathan Toews, Marty Turco.
Injured: Brian Campbell.
Craig Anderson, Peter Budaj, Kyle Cumiskey, Matt Duchene, Philippe Dupuis, Adam Foote, T.J. Galiardi, Scott Hannan, Milan Hejduk, Jonas Holos, David Jones, John-Michael Liles, Cody McLeod, Ryan O'Reilly, Mark Olver, Kevin Porter, Kyle Quincey, Paul Stastny, Chris Stewart, Ryan Wilson, Daniel Winnik, Brandon Yip.
Injured: David Koci, Peter Mueller.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Jared Boll, Derick Brassard, Chris Clark, Mike Commodore, Derek Dorsett, Nikita Filatov, Mathieu Garon, Jan Hejda, Kristian Huselius, Rostislav Klesla, David LeNeveu, Derek MacKenzie, Steve Mason, Marc Methot, Ethan Moreau, Rick Nash, Samuel Pahlsson, Kris Russell, Anton Stralman, Fedor Tyutin, R.J. Umberger, Antoine Vermette, Jakub Voracek, Kyle Wilson.
Injured: Tomas Kana, Andrew Murray.
Krys Barch, Jamie Benn, Fabian Brunnstrom, Adam Burish, Trevor Daley, Loui Eriksson, Mark Fistric, Nicklas Grossman, Kari Lehtonen, Brenden Morrow, James Neal, Matt Niskanen, Steve Ott, Toby Petersen, Andrew Raycroft, Mike Ribeiro, Brad Richards, Stephane Robidas, Brandon Segal, Karlis Skrastins, Brian Sutherby, Tom Wandell, Jeff Woywitka.
Detroit Red Wings
Justin Abdelkader, Todd Bertuzzi, Dan Cleary, Pavel Datsyuk, Kris Draper, Patrick Eaves, Jonathan Ericsson, Valtteri Filppula, Johan Franzen, Darren Helm, Tomas Holmstrom, Jimmy Howard, Jiri Hudler, Jakub Kindl, Niklas Kronwall, Nicklas Lidstrom, Drew Miller, Mike Modano, Chris Osgood, Brian Rafalski, Ruslan Salei, Brad Stuart, Henrik Zetterberg.
Gilbert Brule, Andrew Cogliano, Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers, Devan Dubnyk, Jordan Eberle, Kurtis Foster, Colin Fraser, Sam Gagner, Tom Gilbert, Taylor Hall, Ales Hemsky, Shawn Horcoff, Ryan Jones, Nikolai Khabibulin, Steve MacIntyre, Magnus Paajarvi, Theo Peckham, Dustin Penner, Ladislav Smid, Zach Stortini, Jason Strudwick, Jim Vandermeer, Ryan Whitney.
Injured: J.F. Jacques.
Bryan Allen, Steve Bernier, David Booth, Scott Clemmensen, Radek Dvorak, Michael Frolik, Jason Garrison, Chris Higgins, Darcy Hordichuk, Dmitry Kulikov, Shawn Matthias, Kenndal McArdle, Bryan McCabe, Rostislav Olesz, Nathan Paetsch, Steve Reinprecht, Mike Santorelli, Cory Stillman, Tomas Vokoun, Mike Weaver, Stephen Weiss, Dennis Wideman.
Injured: Byron Bitz, Mark Cullen, Marty Reasoner.
Los Angeles Kings
Jonathan Bernier, Dustin Brown, Kyle Clifford, Drew Doughty, Davis Drewiske, Michal Handzus, Peter Harrold, Jack Johnson, Anze Kopitar, Trevor Lewis, Andrei Loktionov, Willie Mitchell, Jake Muzzin, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Jonathan Quick, Brad Richardson, Brayden Schenn, Rob Scuderi, Wayne Simmonds, Ryan Smyth, Jarret Stoll, Kevin Westgarth, Justin Williams.
Injured: Marc-Andre Cliché, Matt Greene, Scott Parse, Colten Teubert, Viatcheslav Voynov.
Niklas Backstrom, Cam Barker, Kyle Brodziak, Andrew Brunette, Brent Burns, Cal Clutterbuck, Matt Cullen, Dennis Endras, Justin Falk, Martin Havlat, Anton Khudobin, Chuck Kobasew, Mikko Koivu, Guillaume Latendresse, John Madden, Antti Miettinen, Eric Nystrom, Nick Schultz, Brad Staubitz, Clayton Stoner, Jose Theodore, Casey Wellman, Greg Zanon, Marek Zidlicky.
Injured: Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Josh Harding.
Alex Auld, Dustin Boyd, Mike Cammalleri, Mathieu Darche, Lars Eller, Hal Gill, Brian Gionta, Scott Gomez, Josh Gorges, Jeff Halpern, Roman Hamrlik, Andrei Kostitsyn, Maxim Lapierre, Travis Moen, Ryan O'Byrne, Alexandre Picard, Tomas Plekanec, Benoit Pouliot, Carey Price, Tom Pyatt, Jaroslav Spacek, P.K. Subban.
Injured: Andrei Markov.
Wade Belak, Francis Bouillon, J-P Dumont, Martin Erat, Cody Franson, Marcel Goc, Patric Hornqvist, Sergei Kostitsyn, Kevin Klein, David Legwand, Anders Lindback, Matthew Lombardi, Shane O'Brien, Cal O'Reilly, Pekka Rinne, Jerred Smithson, Steve Sullivan, Alexander Sulzer, Ryan Suter, Jordin Tootoo, Joel Ward, Shea Weber, Colin Wilson.
Injured: Jamie Lundmark.
New Jersey Devils
Jason Arnott, Martin Brodeur, David Clarkson, Patrik Elias, Mark Fraser, Andrew Greene, Johan Hedberg, Adam Henrique, Ilya Kovalchuk, Jamie Langenbrunner, Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond, Zach Parise, Rod Pelley, Brian Rolston, Henrik Tallinder, Alexander Urbom, Anton Volchenkov, Colin White, Travis Zajac, Dainius Zubrus.
Injured: Bryce Salvador, Anssi Salmela.
New York Islanders
Josh Bailey, Blake Comeau, Rick DiPietro, Mark Eaton, Bruno Gervais, Trevor Gillies, Michael Grabner, Jack Hillen, Trent Hunter, Milan Jurcina, Zenon Konopka, Andrew MacDonald, Radek Martinek, Mike Mottau, Matt Moulson, Nino Niederreiter, Frans Nielsen, P.A. Parenteau, Dwayne Roloson, Jon Sim, John Tavares, Doug Weight, James Wisniewski.
Injured: Kyle Okposo, Rob Schremp, Mark Streit.
New York Rangers
Artem Anisimov, Sean Avery, Martin Biron, Derek Boogaard, Brian Boyle, Ryan Callahan, Erik Christensen, Michael Del Zotto, Brandon Dubinsky, Steve Eminger, Ruslan Fedotenko, Alexander Frolov, Marian Gaborik, Matt Gilroy, Dan Girardi, Tim Kennedy, Henrik Lundqvist, Brandon Prust, Michal Rozsival, Michael Sauer, Marc Staal, Derek Stepan, Todd White.
Injured: Chris Drury, Vaclav Prospal.
Daniel Alfredsson, Chris Campoli, Matt Carkner, Brian Elliott, Mike Fisher, Nick Foligno, Sergei Gonchar, Erik Karlsson, Chris Kelly, Alex Kovalev, Pascal Leclaire, Brian Lee, Milan Michalek, Chris Neil, Chris Phillips, Peter Regin, Jarkko Ruutu, Ryan Shannon, Zack Smith, Jason Spezza, Jesse Winchester.
Injured: Filip Kuba.
Oskars Bartulis, Blair Betts, Sergei Bobrovsky, Brian Boucher, Daniel Briere, Dan Carcillo, Matt Carle, Jeff Carter, Braydon Coburn, Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell, Ville Leino, Andrej Meszaros, Andreas Nodl, Sean O'Donnell, Darroll Powe, Chris Pronger, Mike Richards, Jody Shelley, Kimmo Timonen, James Van Riemsdyk, Matt Walker, Nikolay Zherdev.
Injured: Ian Laperriere, Michael Leighton.
Adrian Aucoin, Eric Belanger, Paul Bissonnette, Ilya Bryzgalov, Shane Doan, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Vernon Fiddler, Martin Hanzal, Ed Jovanovski, Lauri Korpikoski, Jason LaBarbera, Sami Lepisto, Al Montoya, Derek Morris, Petr Prucha, Taylor Pyatt, David Schlemko, Lee Stempniak, Kyle Turris, Scottie Upshall, Radim Vrbata, Ray Whitney, Wojtek Wolski, Keith Yandle.
Injured: Kurt Sauer.
Craig Adams, Mike Comrie, Matt Cooke, Sidney Crosby, Pascal Dupuis, Deryk Engelland, Marc-Andre Fleury, Eric Godard, Alex Goligoski, Brent Johnson, Tyler Kennedy, Patrick Killeen, Chris Kunitz, Kris Letang, Mark Letestu, Ben Lovejoy, Evgeni Malkin, Paul Martin, Zbynek Michalek, Brooks Orpik, Michael Rupp, Maxime Talbot, Eric Tangradi.
Injured: Arron Asham, Jordan Staal.
St. Louis Blues
David Backes, Patrik Berglund, Brad Boyes, Eric Brewer, Carlo Colaiacovo, Ty Conklin, B.J. Crombeen, Matt D'Agostini, Jaroslav Halak, Barret Jackman, Cam Janssen, Erik Johnson, Jay McClement, Andy McDonald, T.J. Oshie, David Perron, Alex Pietrangelo, Roman Polak, Alex Steen, Tyson Strachan, Brad Winchester.
Injured: Nikita Nikitin, Vladimir Sobotka.
San Jose Sharks
Dan Boyle, Ryane Clowe, Logan Couture, Jason Demers, Thomas Greiss, Dany Heatley, Kent Huskins, Patrick Marleau, Jamal Mayers, John McCarthy, Jamie McGinn, Frazer McLaren, Torrey Mitchell, Mike Moore, Douglas Murray, Scott Nichol, Antti Niemi, Antero Niittymaki, Joe Pavelski, Devin Setoguchi, Joe Thornton, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Niclas Wallin, Tommy Wingels.
Injured: Derek Joslin.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Sean Bergenheim, Brett Clark, Steve Downie, Dan Ellis, Simon Gagne, Adam Hall, Victor Hedman, Randy Jones, Pavel Kubina, Vincent Lecavalier, Mike Lundin, Ryan Malone, Dominic Moore, Mattias Ohlund, Teddy Purcell, Mattias Ritola, Matt Smaby, Mike Smith, Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos, Nate Thompson, Dana Tyrell, Michael Vernace.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Colby Armstrong, Francois Beauchemin, Tyler Bozak, Tim Brent, Mike Brown, Jeff Finger, J-S Giguere, Mikhail Grabovski, Carl Gunnarsson, Jonas Gustavsson, Tomas Kaberle, Phil Kessel, Mike Komisarek, Nikolai Kulemin, Matt Lashoff, Clarke MacArthur, John Mitchell, Colton Orr, Dion Phaneuf, Luke Schenn, Fredrik Sjostrom, Kris Versteeg, Mike Zigomanis.
Injured: Brett Lebda.
Andrew Alberts, Keith Ballard, Kevin Bieksa, Guillaume Desbiens, Alexander Edler, Christian Ehrhoff, Tanner Glass, Dan Hamhuis, Jannik Hansen, Cody Hodgson, Ryan Kesler, Eddie Lack, Roberto Luongo, Manny Malhotra, Ryan Parent, Mason Raymond, Aaron Rome, Rick Rypien, Mikael Samuelsson, Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Lee Sweatt, Raffi Torres.
Injured: Alex Burrows, Sami Salo.
Karl Alzner, Nicklas Backstrom, Matt Bradley, John Carlson, Jason Chimera, John Erskine, Eric Fehr, Tomas Fleischmann, Boyd Gordon, Mike Green, Matt Hendricks, Marcus Johansson, D.J. King, Mike Knuble, Brooks Laich, Michal Neuvirth, Alex Ovechkin, Tom Poti, Dany Sabourin, Jeff Schultz, Alexander Semin, Tyler Sloan, David Steckel.
Injured: Semyon Varlamov.
Panthers Notebook: Hitting the Road ... Reasoner is Good to Go ... Erik Gudbranson Talks ... Party at Duffys
The Panthers held a quick practice on Friday morning in Coral Springs before getting to the important stuff: Packing for Canada.
After yet another long offseason, the Panthers are on the verge of kicking off their 17th season Sunday night in Edmonton.
The team flew to western Canada on Friday afternoon and will practice at Rexall Place on Saturday in preparation for the season opener.
“We're ready to get on the road and get this thing going,'' said center Stephen Weiss.
The Panthers finished at the bottom of the Southeast Division for the first time in franchise history last season, another poor start taking a nice chunk of the blame. Florida has struggled out of the gate the past few years, but this time around, the Panthers didn't travel all over North America – and last year, Europe – playing meaningless preseason game. Before leaving for Edmonton, the Panthers have spent the better part of two weeks in South Florida.
Last year, the Panthers played nine preseason games after starting training camp in Nova Scotia and ending in Finland. This year, the furthest the Panthers traveled to was Montreal.
Florida lost eight of its first 10 games last year. In 2008-09, the team started 8-11-3. Since the 2005-06 season, the Panthers have gone 46-64-17 in the first two months.
“We were focused on getting off to good starts before and it hasn't worked out,'' said goalie Tomas Vokoun. “We have to get a better start because we're not the kind of team than can chase teams down by getting eight game winning streaks going. Everyone realizes that. We have to be consistent throughout the year.
“Last year was extremely tough and we shouldn't use it as an excuse, but this was a good training camp. But that won't do anything for us once the puck drops on Sunday. There are no excuses here. We're paid to do our job and if we don't, they'll find someone who will.''
Marty Reasoner appears to be centering the fourth line after missing a few days with a bruised knee. Reasoner was put on the injured list retroactive to last Saturday's game in Tampa Bay where he got injured. He's practiced the past two days and should be activated before Sunday's game.
“I feel good,'' Reasoner said. “It was good to take a couple of days off after the exhibition games to get some treatment. I wanted to be cautious with it, especially this early in the season.''
With Reasoner activated, the Panthers will have 22 players on the active roster – and can only dress 20 for games. Coach Pete DeBoer says one problem last season was that there wasn't enough internal competition, players pushing others for playing time. Now, if one isn't playing well, DeBoer has options.
“I can count on one hand the opportunities I had last year to healthy scratch someone,'' DeBoer said. “It creates desperation, urgency in people's play. We need that, it's a necessity over 82 games. It's something we had to fix from last year.''
Backup goalie Scott Clemmensen didn't play in Florida's final two preseason games, but says he's ready to go. The Panthers open in Edmonton on Sunday then play in Vancouver on Monday so Clemmensen could see action early on.
“We had such a long break between the games, I don't think it mattered whether I played in one of those games or not,'' he said. “I feel good about my game right now. If I wasn't feeling good, I would have spoke up and asked to play. We'll see how the schedule goes. I know I have to be ready to play at all times.''
Erik Gudbranson, the third overall pick of the 2010 draft, made the Panthers out of training camp and was going to get at least a nine game tryout had he and the team come to terms on a contract. But the Tuesday afternoon deadline came and went without a deal and Gudbranson was returned to his junior team in Canada.
The Panthers retain Gudbranson's rights for the next two years and it's expected that he'll be part of the team next season. Gudbranson, a defenseman, was the only player to participate in all six exhibition games.
“It's frustrating that it came down to a business deal,'' Gudbranson told The Ottawa Citizen. “I was pretty sure [a contract] was going to happen. I had a meeting with Pete DeBoer and the coaches. They were happy I was getting better and better every day. I was there. That's what I was told.''
-- Byron Bitz (groin) will not make the trip to Canada.
-- Want to watch Sunday's game with the Ice Dancers?
From the Panthers:
Marketing partner Duffy’s Sports Grill has teamed up with the Florida Panthers to host a series of watch parties throughout the 2010-11 NHL season.
The watch parties kick-off this Sunday night, October 10, when the Panthers open their season on the road against the Edmonton Oilers. Fans can catch all the action on huge 12ft screens and over 50 plasma TVs at two Duffy’s Sports Grill locations: Plantation (811 S. University Drive) and Palm Beach Gardens (11588 US Highway #1 at PGA Blvd.).
The Florida Panthers Party Patrol, Panthers Party Mobiles and Ice Dancers will be at each location from one hour before game time through the conclusion of the first period, providing fans with giveaways and special ticket offers only available at the Duffy’s watch parties.
Additionally, Duffy’s will provide fans with 2 for 1 Happy Hour all night long, beer specials and the “Hat Trick” feature which includes BBQ baby back ribs, grilled shrimp skewer and boneless wings with one side dish for $9.99.
Future watch party dates include:
o Saturday, Oct. 30 – Fort Lauderdale
o Saturday, Nov. 6 - Plantation
o Wednesday, Nov. 18 – Plantation
o Saturday, Dec. 4 – Boca Raton
o Thursday, Dec. 9 – Deerfield Beach
o Saturday, Jan. 23 – Coconut Creek
o Wednesday, Jan. 26 – PGA
o Wednesday, Feb. 2 – Fort Lauderdale
o Saturday, Feb. 19 – Boca Raton
o Wednesday, March 23 – Delray Beach
o Sunday, March 27 – PGA
o Wednesday, April 6 – Coconut Creek
o Friday, April 8 - Plantation
The “Diamonds, Hearts, Clubs & Cures” fundraiser is Tuesday, Oct. 19 at the Isle Casino.
From the Panthers:
The event, set in Isle Casino’s private and luxurious Farraddays’ Steakhouse, will feature cocktails, light cuisine, high-end auction items, live music, and appearances from Florida Panthers personalities and executives. Tickets are $125 per person with all proceeds going toward Light The Night and its mission to cure blood cancers.
Guests can RSVP by printing and returning the attached RSVP card, or by contacting Light The Night Campaign Director Sheriann Namer at Sheriann.Namer@lls.org or 954-744-5227. Isle Casino is located at 777 Isle of Capri Circle in Pompano Beach.
The 2010 Light The Night Walk in Broward County will take place on Saturday, Nov. 13 at the Huizenga Plaza in downtown Ft. Lauderdale. Yormark and the Florida Panthers walk team have set a goal of raising $100,000 for the 2010 Light The Night Walk and “Diamonds, Hearts, Clubs & Cures” will play a huge part in reaching that goal.
The team will also have appearances from goalie John Vanbiesbrouck (Nov. 10 vs. Toronto) and forward Pavel Bure (TBA).
From the Panthers:
“The entire Panthers organization, through General Partner Cliff Viner and General Manager Dale Tallon, is committed to reconnecting with and honoring it’s past wherever possible,” said President & COO Michael Yormark. “The South Florida Hockey Den Of Honor Series presented by ADT is the perfect way for our franchise to recognize some of it’s greatest players and contributors, while also giving our fans the opportunity to show their appreciation.”
Bill Torrey Tribute Night will honor original Team President, current Alternate Governor and Hockey Hall of Fame member Mr. William A. Torrey with a special pre-game banner-raising ceremony, South Florida Hockey Den of Honor case dedication, in-game tribute, and more as the Cats take on his former team the New York Islanders.
“It will be a special night when the entire Florida Panthers organization honors a hockey legend and wonderful man in Bill Torrey,” said Panthers General Partner Cliff Viner. “Bill has become a great friend and everyone in this organization owes him a great debt of gratitude for what he has given to the Panthers franchise. I’m sure Saturday, Oct. 23 will be an evening that none of us will ever forget, and we hope that Bill will cherish these memories for the rest of his life.”
Vanbiesbrouck and Bure will be honored with a special pre-game ceremony, Den Of Honor fan appearance and various other initiatives.
The South Florida Hockey Den Of Honor Series presented by ADT is the latest example of the Panthers organization’s efforts to honor and reconnect with its past including Den of Honor Weekend 2010 and the hiring of former Cats Mike Santos (Asst. GM), Brian Skrudland (Director of Player Development) and Gord Murphy (Assistant Coach). For more information fans are encouraged to regularly check back to FloridaPanthers.com.
I know you weren't, but I needed to know for our Panthers Preview which runs Sunday.
He'll take Nathan Horton's old No. 16.
Hordichuk wore No. 24 in his first run with the Cats back before the lockout. Bryan McCabe has that now.
Others to sport No. 16?
Len Barrie, Randy Moller, Ray Sheppard, Gilbert Dionne, Craig Ferguson, Craig Fisher, Ryan Johnson, Oleg Kvasha, Ray Sheppard, Ivan Novoseltsev, Mike Sillinger, Kevyn Adams, Matt Cullen and Horton.
Mike Duco had worn that number in training camp, but he's switching to Gregory Campbell's No. 11 (well, he will when he comes back up from Rochester).
Wondering who else wore that number for the Panthers?
Glad you didn't ask: Evgeny Davydov, Bill Lindsay, Kevyn Adams, Bill Lindsay, Mikael Samuelsson and Jon Sim. Andrew Peters, traded to Vancouver today for Hordichuk, wore the double 1s in camp.
Been a long day. Going home and taking tomorrow off. But if anything happens, I'll let you know.
The Panthers continued to make moves on Wednesday as they set their roster for Opening Night from Edmonton come Sunday.
Earlier today – sorry, was working at another job this morning – Florida put defenseman/forward Nathan Paetsch on waivers.
Then, Florida traded Andrew Peters – slated to start the year in Rochester – to the Canucks for fourth liner Darcy Hordichuk.
Hordichuk will meet the team in Edmonton. Here’s hoping there are no visa issues with Hordichuk -- and there shouldn't be. He'll be able to play in all three games in Canada and his issues should be resolved by the time the team leaves Calgary next Thursday night.
“I know Darcy from Nashville, so I know what I am getting,’’ assistant general manager Mike Santos said. “I know he was a very popular player here and I expect him to play the same style of game he did before and be popular with the fans again We can use that kind of life not only on the ice, but in the locker room. It just made sense.’’
Florida opens the season with 22 players on the roster (not counting Paetsch, who probably comes back).
“We’re seeing if there are any teams interested in him,’’ Santos said. And if not? “He’ll stay on the roster.’’
The roster had to be set at 23 players by 3 p.m. and Florida got to its number by putting Byron Bitz and Marty Reasoner on the injured list and sending defenseman Keaton Ellerby to Rochester.
Santos on Bitz: “Just a groin strain. It’s early in the year, we don’t want to make anything worse than it is.’’
On Reasoner: “It’s more precautionary than anything. He could be ready for the opener.’’
The return to Florida by Hordichuk (he spent parts of two seasons here before the lockout) adds just a touch of grit to the Panthers fourth line. Hordichuk, who has 18 goals and 15 assists in 431 NHL games, has been in 27 fights in the past two seasons.
-- Ellerby will be back, especially if he carries over what he did this training camp to Rochester. Here's thinking that Ellerby gets it now. Don't know if he was overwhelmed last year or what, but he's looked like a completely different player.
“Keaton played well, it was a good camp for him,’’ Santos said. “He had a real up and down year last season. It was important he came in and played the way he did. It’s a numbers game. He doesn’t require waivers and sometimes that is the way it works. He has a bright future. Some day he’ll need waivers and will benefit from the waivers game.’’
-- Just got word from Kevin O. at the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle that Andrew Peters will stay in Rochester for the time being as the Canucks are loaning him to the Panthers and the Amerks. But, like in the Caps/Michael Nylander deal, Florida can not recall Peters because he belongs to Vancouver.
“When we signed Peters, he knew he would spend time in the minors and he lives in the area and wanted to play in Roch,’’ Santos said. “They are honoring that.’’
Erik Gudbranson Doesn't Sign, Returns to Juniors ... Grabner Grabbed By Islanders ... Cats Raise $165K For Cancer
Defenseman Erik Gudbranson made the Panthers out of training camp, but he will not be playing for them this season.
Gudbranson, the third overall pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, did not come to a contractual agreement with the Panthers by Tuesday's 5 p.m. deadline and will be returned to his Canadian junior team in Kingston, Ontario.
Gudbranson practiced with the Panthers Tuesday morning in Coral Springs.
“Sometimes you just can't get a deal done,'' assistant general manager Mike Santos said Tuesday afternoon. “They worked at it and we worked at it. It's not over for us. We still have his rights for two more years. I'm confident we'll have him signed down the road.''
The key hangup for getting a deal done was the amount of money the Panthers were willing to pay Gudbranson in performance bonuses. As a young player signing an entry level contract, Gudbranson's base pay and signing bonus weren't going to be extravagant numbers. The performance bonuses, however, could bring his salary into the millions.
Gudbranson, who is now cleared to play for Team Canada at the world juniors later this year in Buffalo, was expected to start the season with the Panthers and then possibly be returned to Kingston.
The Panthers could have played him in nine games and then sent him back without the first year of his entry level deal being burned off. Last year, Dmitry Kulikov played the entire season after being drafted the summer before. As a result, Kulikov can theoretically become a free agent at the age of 25.
“If he was signed, I think he would have played in some games,'' Santos said. “I thought he played well in the preseason. He's only 18 years old. He's going to get better.''
General manager Dale Tallon said Tuesday the Panthers would likely start the season with the league-maximum of 23 players on the roster. That was with the thought Gudbranson would be on the team.
With the loss of Gudbranson, the Panthers have 24 players on the roster and would not have to cut anyone right now if Byron Bitz is placed on the injured reserve.
Keaton Ellerby could also be sent back to the minors as the Panthers are currently carrying eight defensemen. The Panthers have to have their roster set by 3 p.m. on Wednesday.
-- Winger Michael Grabner, who was waived by the Panthers on Sunday, was claimed as expected. He was awarded to the New York Islanders on Tuesday.
Grabner was thought to be a key part of the draft day trade with Vancouver in which the Panthers sent defenseman Keith Ballard and winger Victor Oreskovich to the Canucks in exchange for Grabner, winger Steve Bernier and the 25th overall pick in the draft.
“I was not surprised [Grabner was claimed], but he didn't have a very good camp and didn't earn a spot on our roster,'' Tallon said.
“I was disappointed with his play. He has a lot of potential but you have to earn your playing time here. Reputation doesn't mean anything to me. It gives an opportunity to someone else. We liked his speed and his skill. He didn't show any skill in camp. He can skate and has skill but didn't show any of it.''
-- A good number of injured Panthers returned to practice on Tuesday after missing time with nagging injuries. Defenseman Dmitry Kulikov, who has been nursing a bone bruise in his foot since taking a puck off his skate in a scrimmage on Sept. 18, returned as did winger Chris Higgins (groin).
Ellerby (shoulder) also practiced for a second straight day.
Bitz (lower body) and Marty Reasoner (knee) were both out.
-- The Panthers raised $165,000 for pediatric cancer at the team's annual kickoff luncheon on Monday in Coral Springs.
Like former Florida blueliner Steve Montador, Paetsch has no problems filling in on a forward line when needed.
With three forwards missing practice on Monday, Paetsch was summoned to help out.
“It's not a big deal because it's something I've pretty much done my entire pro career,'' said Paetsch, who worked on a fourth line with center Steven Reinprecht and winger Kenndal McArdle. “I've been going back and forth. It's gotten me a lot more games over my career because they know I can jump in on the fourth line and then keep my spot on the power play.''
The Panthers had a rough and spirited practice Monday morning as the team gears up for its season opener Sunday in Edmonton. The Panthers are missing center Marty Reasoner (knee) and wingers Byron Bitz (lower body) and Chris Higgins (groin).
Florida has plenty of defensemen, however, even with Dmitry Kulikov (foot) missing and Keaton Ellerby (shoulder) practicing, but without contact. Paetsch is in his first year with the Panthers after splitting last season with Buffalo and Columbus. Paetsch has seven goals and 35 assists in 167 NHL games.
“We have some injuries and he's a guy who has played up-and-back throughout his career,'' said coach Pete DeBoer. “It was a pretty easy decision when we needed someone. .-.-. Obviously, that's something you use more of a last resort. But it's good to know he can go up there and do it.''
The Panthers held their annual kickoff luncheon Monday afternoon in Coral Springs with all proceeds benefiting the Panthers Foundation. The team is raising money to pediatric cancer in South Florida, with goalies Tomas Vokoun and Scott Clemmensen doing a little extra to help out.
During the lunch, Clemmensen and Vokoun announced they would both donate $1 per save this season to the Jessica June Children's Cancer Foundation. Vokoun credited Clemmensen for coming up with the idea after the team had a private meet-and-greet with afflicted children and their families prior to the event.
“It's just like people say, they never think it's going to affect them,'' said Vokoun. “It's always someone else. Truth is, cancer does affect a lot of people and we see that all the time. I'm happy to join Clemm in trying to help out.''
When the lunch was complete, the entire team boarded a charter bus and headed south to the Homestead-Miami Speedway for a team building event. At the track, the players and coaches were scheduled to work with Team Penske members who stuck around after Saturday night's Indy 300.
The Panthers planned to work on the pit crew and take a couple of laps around the track in a pace car.
“We have a new group, a lot of new faces as we made some major personnel changes over the summer,'' DeBoer said. “We just thought it would be good to get the guys together to do something. This fit. It's not a two or three day excursion and doesn't take away practice or preparation time. I also don't think these guys have been exposed to before.''
-- Players waived on Sunday – wingers Michael Grabner and Andrew Peters as well as defenseman Joe Callahan – will either clear or be claimed by another team at noon on Tuesday. Whatever players clear will be assigned to Florida's AHL affiliate in Rochester, N.Y.
The Panthers continued to pare down their roster on Sunday, assigning their rookie goalie to the minors while waiving three others.
Jacob Markstrom, the 20-year-old future of the team in net, was sent to Florida's AHL affiliate in Rochester, N.Y., where he will team up with Tyler Plante for the Americans. Florida also waived forwards Michael Grabner and Andrew Peters along with defenseman Joe Callahan. If those three clear waivers at noon Monday, they will likely be assigned to Rochester as well.
Those bubble players who survived the first big round of cuts include Keaton Ellerby, Kenndal McArdle, Byron Bitz and 18-year-old Erik Gudbranson. Florida currently has 25 players on the roster and need to get to 23 by Wednesday afternoon.
Grabner being put on waivers was a bit of a surprise considering he was part of the Panthers big draft day deal with the Canucks. Florida sent defenseman Keith Ballard and winger Victor Oreskovich to Vancouver for Grabner, Steve Bernier and the 25th overall pick. Grabner was named one of seven players expected to have a breakout year by NHL.com during the offseason.
In four games this preseason, Grabner didn't record a point and was minus-4. Grabner had five goals and four assists in 20 regular season games with the Canucks last season.
-- The Panthers will have a full workout Monday at 9:30 a.m. at their training facility in Coral Springs. Admission is free.