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47 posts from November 2010

November 05, 2010

Cory Stillman Injures Shoulder, No Immediate Update

Panthers coach Pete DeBoer said after Friday night's 7-4 win over the visiting Hurricanes that winger Cory Stillman injured his shoulder. Stillman got hurt on his second -- and last -- shift of the night.

Stillman is doubtful for Saturday's game.

It's not know whether Florida will recall a forward (Michal Repik?) before the game or put Darcy Hordichuk in. Depends on how serious it is, I guess.


Florida Panthers 7, Carolina Hurricanes 4: Panthers' 50 Shots in Successive Games Sets Franchise Record

The Panthers scored seven goals in Friday night's victory over visiting Carolina but if it weren't for strong passing from Radek Dvorak or deft penalty killing from Marty Reasoner, the Panthers probably don't win.

Dvorak fed Chris Higgins and Reasoner for key goals as the Panthers held off their Southeast Division rivals 7-4 in front of an announced 14,761 at BankAtlantic Center. The two teams play again Saturday night in Raleigh, N.C.

All Reasoner did was help kill off Carolina's 5-on-3 advantage that would have lasted for a full two minutes had he not drawn Anton Babchuk into a penalty during it.

“It was a key point in the game where we had to buckle down,'' said Reasoner. “We did a good job of taking away what they want to do, get them off balance. I've made my money the past few years killing the penalty, but I'll take the goal any day.''

With the score tied at 3, Dvorak crashed toward the net and his nice pass allowed Higgins to beat Cam Ward and give the Panthers the lead back late in the second period.

Early in the third, Dvorak went back behind the net with the puck, reversed course, pulling Ward out of position. Dvorak sliced a pass to Reasoner on the right side of the net and he was able to give the Panthers a much-needed two-goal lead.

It may have been a little late revenge for Dvorak. Ward backstopped the Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup championship in 2006 over Dvorak's Edmonton Oilers. Ward was named the MVP of the 2006 postseason.

“This is a divisional game and we need these points against Carolina, Tampa, Atlanta,'' said Dvorak. “This was a huge game, especially with us playing them [Saturday].''

Reasoner's goal turned out to be huge as Sergei Samsonov – who played with Dvorak that Cup Finals season in Edmonton – answered just a few minutes later to cut Carolina's deficit to one.

Florida would finally be able to relax – after killing off a 5-on-3 chance for Carolina for almost two minutes – after Michael Frolik banged a puck past Ward with 2:47 remaining. That came seconds after Rostislav Olesz missed a wide open shot from point blank range.

Stephen Weiss, who scored Florida's second goal, added the final dagger by putting the puck in an empty net with 48.8 seconds remaining. The Panthers ended with 50 shots – giving them 105 in their previous two games. The franchise had never had 50 shots in successive games before this week.

“The first win in a home-and-home is obviously very important,'' said Higgins. “We have to keep it going, stay positive. Ten goals isn't too bad. We're playing an up-tempo style, putting pucks toward the net, funneling things to the net.''

Florida goalie Scott Clemmensen, getting some rare game action, held things down for the Panthers in the final 15 minutes. Clemmensen was in the game after coach Pete DeBoer gave starter Tomas Vokoun the early hook after Vokoun gave up two goals on seven shots.

“We had huge penalty kills and Clemm did a good job,'' DeBoer said. “Our best players were our best players. .-.-. It was a good game, it was definitely not an easy night behind the bench. That was like four games in one, but we got the right result.''

Vokoun's benching just 10:49 into the game was the second quickest pull in his four seasons with the Panthers. In 2007, he lasted just 7:10 into a game against Ottawa.

Vokoun put the blame of Wednesday's loss to Atlanta on himself after Florida outshot the Thrashers 55-23 yet lost 4-3. On Friday, Florida led 1-0 when David Booth picked up the puck in the Florida zone and took it all the way down the ice and shoved the puck past Ward just over two minutes into the game.

Only the Hurricanes stormed right back, getting goals from Erik Cole and Tim Gleason within a three minute span as Carolina took a 2-1 lead. That left the door wide open for Clemmensen to come in. He ended with 22 saves on 24 shots.

Panthers Play the Price Is Right: Come on Down, See Your Team!

Leafs We all know how expensive it is to get hockey tickets in places like Toronto, Montreal and Boston.

South Florida?

Not so much.

And if you are a fan of a traditional hockey team from a traditional hockey market, the Panthers want you to come on down to South Florida and watch the game.

The Panthers have some web pages set up for different teams (web capture above and below).

The only ones I can find so far are targeting Toronto, Montreal, Pittsburgh and Boston. I'm sure there's a Rangers page out there somewhere.

Habs A lot of folks are up in arms after seeing the Montreal page. The Panthers giving discounts to fans of the opposing team?

Focusing advertising to get fans of the other team in the building?

The horror!

Come on. I've been getting emails about this the past two days, and truthfully, I have no problems with it.

The Panthers are trying to sell tickets to people who like hockey.

Those people may also want to see the Pens, Habs, Bs, Buds, whatever.

And, hey, the Panthers wouldn't even be here if the idea of "there are a lot of snow birds here who would come to see their teams" wasn't thrown out there back in 1992.

This is South Florida. Most everyone is from somewhere else. Especially in the winter. And it's not like the hometown fans are exactly packing the joint.

Pens The Panthers hope to convert some of those living here to root, root for the home team, but really haven't given any reason for people to convert to their brand of hockey over the past decade.

Also, the Panthers aren't the first team to market in another town.

When the Cleveland Indians were kicking it and a ticket couldn't be found in Cleveland, the Tigers advertised in the Plain Dealer touting how easy it was to get their tickets when the Indians came to town. Now, Cleveland advertises games in Detroit papers.

If the Orlando Magic weren't drawing, don't you think they would advertise in South Florida trying to get people to come up north when the Heat do?

Money is money. It doesn't matter where it comes from.

Of course, the Panthers do absolutely ZERO advertising in the biggest county (Miami-Dade) in their market.

I'm sure there are at least a few fans interested in their product and would like to root on the home team. I grew up in Miami and liked hockey. There are people in Miami who like hockey.

I don't think the Panthers like Miami.

But that's a conversation for another day.

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November 04, 2010

Under the Weather: Panthers Shooting It Out ... Jason Garrison Limping ... Pete DeBoer, Paul Maurice Old Chums

Nurse I'm not feeling too good today (got the old Montreal Flu it seems) but that doesn't mean we have the Panthers covered for you.

Didier Morais filled in for me at practice today and watched the Panthers work on their shooting drills.

He also found out that Jason Garrison, who got his first goal of the year last night, injured his groin in the process. He's already missed a few games with a similar injury this season.

Check out his story right here. Just one click and you're there. Don't cost nothin. Our problem, not yours.


November 03, 2010

Dale Tallon: Let's Talk Coaches Challenge at GM Meeting ... Hello, Anthony Stewart

Tallon3 General manager Dale Tallon says he will ask his fellow general managers to look into giving coaches a chance to challenge a call if a goal is questionable.

Currently only the league can look at plays on video to determine whether a goal was called or not. The league general managers meet Tuesday in Toronto.

The Panthers would have liked to have asked for a challenge in Toronto last week when Colton Orr ran through Scott Clemmensen on what turned out to be the game-winning goal in Toronto's 3-1 win.

“It's a work in progress, but perhaps a one-time challenge on a goal-related call for each coach would work if you have a time out left,'' Tallon said Wednesday night.

“We're just trying to figure something out that doesn't make the game longer and more drawn out. There are a lot of issues, same as replay itself. I don't know if it has legs or not. You discuss it, see if it makes sense.''


Winger Anthony Stewart returned to Sunrise for the first time since the Panthers let him go after the 2008-09 season. Stewart, the 25th overall pick by the Panthers in Stewart 2003, has four goals and four assists. He recorded his first career hat trick Oct. 15 in Anaheim.

“Everything is going well and I had a good camp. Not having to ride the bus back in the minors is a major motivation,'' said Stewart, who had four goals and eight assists in 105 games with the Panthers from 2005-09.

Florida Panthers Tie Franchise Record with 55 Shots, Still Lose 4-3 to Atlanta Thrashers


On some nights, Tomas Vokoun is going to have to be near perfect for the Panthers to win. On Wednesday, Vokoun wasn't anywhere near that level and the Florida offense couldn't find enough goals to bail their goalie out.

Despite out-shooting visiting Atlanta by double digits and tying the franchise record for shots on goal in the process, the Panthers found themselves on the wrong side of the scoreboard Wednesday night as the Thrashers left BankAtlantic Center with a 4-3 win.

Vokoun blamed himself for the loss afterward although coach Pete DeBoer took some of that weight off.

“We didn't get enough goals and that's the bottom line,'' DeBoer said. “We shouldn't give up four on [23] and we should get more than three on [55]. There's fault on both ends. Two more saves, but on the other end, we get guys on the board we win regardless.''

Said Vokoun: “I played horrible, gave up two bad goals. We played a good game, had 50-plus shots. It wasn't a good game on my part and that happens sometimes. Obviously we were better the whole game. This one hurts. The guys played with heart and played well. A few more saves from me and we win no problem. The thing about goalies is sometimes you make a good difference, sometimes a bad one.''

Vokoun gave up four goals on Atlanta's initial 19 shots as the Panthers outshot the Thrashers 55-23. When the Thrashers took a 4-3 lead after scoring goals on successive shots within a 1:11 span, Florida was out-shooting the visitors 45-19. Florida broke the home record for shots on goal. In 2007, the Panthers had 54 shots in a win against Washington.

The Panthers got things going the right way in the first period after defenseman Jason Garrison scored his first of the season by driving a puck in from 40 feet away past Chris Mason. Atlanta answered late in the period as Fredrik Modin scored his first of the night by knocking a puck past Vokoun from his spot in the slot. That goal came with just 5.6 seconds left before the first intermission.

Modin got his second of the game midway through the second to give Atlanta a 2-1 lead. That was lost when Steven Reinprecht knocked down a pass from Bryan Allen and beat Mason with 2:07 left in the second. Florida added a goal from Bryan Allen (his first since March 13) to take the lead, but the Panthers and Vokoun couldn't hold on.

First, Dustin Byfuglien scored on a long shot from just inside the blue line to tie the score at the midway point. Just over a minute later, Vokoun gave up another bad goal as Niclas Bergfors drove one past the Florida goalie from the left circle.

November 02, 2010

Florida Panthers, Pete DeBoer Digging the Del Boca Vista Boys ... Stephen Weiss Questionable

Delboca4 The Panthers third line of Radek Dvorak, Marty Reasoner and Cory Stillman has heard the jokes about their age. Only, if coach Pete DeBoer is the one delivering the cracks, he does so with the utmost respect.

The third line – which still has yet to earn a full-time nickname – has been Florida’s most consistent and productive through the first month of the season. The trio, which boasts a combined 43 NHL seasons and 2,663 games played, have scored six goals with nine assists and have been called upon by DeBoer to do just about everything.

Delboca2 “You look at their point totals, but it’s not just that. They’re a real momentum line for us and have grabbed hold of that role,’’ said DeBoer, whose team plays host to Atlanta on Wednesday.

“Those are three veterans out there. They are safe, they’re going to make the right play with the puck. They have a lot of composure. That’s a lot of games out there. You feel comfortable putting them out on the ice.’’

Reasoner will get to face some old friends on Wednesday as he spent the past two seasons with the Thrashers. Reasoner scored four goals in 80 games with Atlanta last year; in nine games with the Panthers, he has two goals and five assists.

Stillman says knowing what his role is and working almost exclusively with the same linemates brings a certain comfort level to his game.

DeBoer and the Panthers haven’t had a line they could rely on to score timely goals or settle things down since Dvorak, Ville Peltonen and Gregory Cambell teamed up in 2008-09. Those three players combined for 40 goals that season.

“We jumped in and have played well,’’ said Stillman, who has a goal and three assists. “We’re getting chances and not giving them up. We’ve made some plays, but we have to cash in our opportunities. We’re chipping in when we can. I know the role I’m playing here and I like it.’’


Stevemartin Center Stephen Weiss was back at practice after missing Saturday’s game at Montreal after rolling his ankle playing a form of soccer with teammates prior to the morning skate. Weiss missed practice on Monday – and then endured two hours of oral surgery after taking a puck to the face on Oct. 23.

DeBoer said Weiss lost two additional teeth during the dental procedure, although Weiss said he lost only one. He does, however, expect to lose more teeth when he returns for follow-up work next week.

Weiss’ mouth was visibly swollen and he complained of being nauseous after the practice. He’s questionable for Wednesday.

“He’s moving around fine and is through the ankle injury,’’ DeBoer said. “But he had major dental surgery so we wanted to keep him out of the way.’’