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2 posts from November 9, 2010

November 09, 2010

Panthers Hall of Famers: Who's Next? Ciccarelli Feted in Toronto; Vanbiesbrouck Honored in Fort Lauderdale

Dino Dino Ciccarelli became the second player with ties to the Florida Panthers to be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Monday night in Toronto.

Ciccarelli ended his NHL career with the Panthers, playing in 42 games after GM Bryan Murray acquired him in a trade with the Lightning in January, 1998.

He had 11 goals and 12 assists in 42 games – including his 600th goal against Detroit on February 3, 1998.

Ciccarelli was just the ninth player in NHL history to reach that record.

“It was just one year, but all these guys are just the tops,'' said Radek Dvorak, who played with Ciccarelli with the Panthers in 1998.

“Dino scored so many goals in the league and was a great leader. He had 600 goals. I played with so many great players and Dino was one of them. He could score from anywhere. Anywhere. He would get in front of the net, tip the pucks with his stick. He was unbelievable. He accomplished great things. It's great to see him in the Hall of Fame.''

Igor Larionov – who, like Ciccarelli, played just part of one season with the Panthers – was inducted in 2008.

Soon, there could be a few more.

Joeniew Joe Nieuwendyk, who signed with the Panthers shortly after the lockout ended, retired with the Panthers in 2006 and was a finalist to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer this year. He could go in next year.

Belfour Ed Belfour, whose final NHL season was with the Panthers in 2006-07, becomes eligible to join the hallowed Hall in 2011.

Roger Neilson, the Panthers first coach who spent two seasons in Florida, was inducted into the Hall in 2002. Bill Torrey built the Panthers from scratch in 1992 and was inducted in 1995.

On Tuesday night in Fort Lauderdale, original goalie John Vanbiesbrouck will join a different hall as he is formally inducted into the Broward County Sports Hall of Fame. He joins such local football luminaries as Nova High star Autry Denson (Notre Dame, Dolphins) and South Broward's Danny McManus (FSU, Grey Cup MVP).

Beezer Vanbiesbrouck will be celebrated by the Panthers at Wednesday's game against the Maple Leafs.

“Not everyone gets this honor, so congratulations for him and I look forward to seeing him at the game,'' Dvorak said. “It's well deserved. When he played for us, he's the reason we won and why we went to the Stanley Cup Finals. Good for him.''

Dale Tallon on Coach Challenge: "It's Dead"

Flag Dale Tallon's proposal to have coaches have a chance for a video review like NFL coaches was on the agenda at Tuesday's GM meeting in Toronto. Only it didn't go far. 

According to the Canadian Press, the league's GMs turned it down.

"We had a lot of conversation about it but it's a dead issue," Tallon told the CP.

The stimulus for Tallon putting the issue on the table was Florida's loss in Toronto on Oct. 26 when Colton Orr collided with goalie Scott Clemmensen right as a shot was coming on net. The puck hit Orr as he and Clemmensen crashed to the ice and went in; it turned out to be the game-winning goal.

Game officials didn't call goalie interference although league VP Colin Campbell later said they should have.

On Monday, Leafs GM Brian Burke blasted Tallon's plan. Believe it or not, Tallon and Burke are friends.

“Talking about a coaching challenge in response to one goal is like killing a house fly with a bazooka,” Burke said. “All of a sudden, we’re talking about a rule change because of one goal. Our group gets paid to not panic on rule changes and not overreact. This, to me, seems like an overreaction of the highest magnitude.

"We think we have the best officials in the world and we don’t need to handcuff them with needless replays.”