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Panthers Notebook: Chris Higgins Looked Good on New Line ... Injury Updates ... Flyers Get Even Better

With the Panthers not creating much of anything Sunday against visiting San Jose, coach Pete DeBoer did some minor modifications to three of his team's four forward lines and may have found something that works.

The new combinations helped Florida score three goals in the final 21 minutes of what turned into a 3-2 victory over the streaking Sharks.

With the Panthers struggling to score, DeBoer apparently doesn't want to mess with even moderate success.

Florida's new lines were on display at Tuesday's practice in Coral Springs. While the moves weren't major – basically, DeBoer just moved around wingers Chris Higgins, Radek Dvorak, Cory Stillman and Rostislav Olesz – they did seem to breathe new life into a moribund offensive attack.

Higgins seemed to be the biggest benefactor of the switch as he had numerous scoring chances against the Sharks and ended up tying the score when his shot found its way past goalie Antti Niemi.

“We had 11 shots at the end of two periods,'' DeBoer said. “We weren't getting thing going offensively. Higgins kickstarted his line. I like his game lately. He's working hard, battling for pucks and quietly putting together a good season, one we anticipated he could have.''

Higgins, who had been playing with Stephen Weiss and Jack Skille, says having a big forward like Rostislav Olesz get in front of the net and create space really helps shots find their way. Olesz was camped out in front of Niemi when Higgins' backhanded shot took flight.

“Playing with Weiss was a lot of fun, he creates a lot of offense, but I liked playing with Reasoner earlier this season and I think it's going to work well,'' Higgins said. “On the right side, both Skille and Olesz are big guys. That's nice to have a big presence around the net. They protect the puck well in the corners.''


Defenseman Bryan McCabe was back on the ice participating in a full practice one month after breaking his jaw in a game against the Devils. Doctors said McCabe would be out six to eight weeks after the injury, but he looks good and is ready to jump into the lineup.

DeBoer says the Panthers have to slow McCabe down a bit and that the Panthers captain wouldn't be in the lineup Wednesday against the Flyers. McCabe could play Friday against Detroit.

“He looks good, but the doctors and the trainers will say one thing and that's probably not the same as his mindset,'' DeBoer said. “He'll be in sooner than later. If he keeps going the way he is, I would anticipate him in there this weekend. He's adamant he'll be back this week.''

DeBoer also said that while Dmitry Kulikov's ankle isn't broken, it is severely bruised. DeBoer said it will be at least a week before Kulikov can begin skating, and likely two weeks before he's back playing in games.


The Flyers made a nice deal on Tuesday, getting forward Kris Versteeg from Toronto in exchange for a first and third round pick in the upcoming June draft.

Versteeg, who had 14 goals with 21 assists for the Leafs, was a key member of the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks last season. In 22 playoff games, Versteeg recorded 14 points. He has two goals and three assists against his new teammates in the 2010 Finals.

“They made themselves a lot stronger,'' DeBoer said. “He fits right into that third line.''

Versteeg was expected to make his Philadelphia debut Tuesday night in Tampa Bay.

When, Where: 7:30 p.m.; BankAtlantic Center
TV/Radio: FSN; WQAM 560
The series: Flyers lead 38-26-7
The game: The Panthers have done surprisingly well against the Flyers of late, winning 12 of the past 18 meetings. Florida split the first two games between the two this season in Philadelphia, with the Panthers winning 5-0 on Dec. 20. Florida – which will start Tomas Vokoun in net -- has won the past three games against the Flyers at BankAtlantic Center dating to the 2008-09 season. The east-leading Flyers had won three straight before being shutout by the Kings 1-0 on Sunday. Philadelphia played at Tampa Bay on Tuesday night.


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All that trade did was make Weiss so much more valuable. 1st and a 3rd for Versteeg?? he's a 3rd line player on a good team. Weiss is a 2nd line center on a good team. I wonder what's being offered for Weiss right now? If I were Tallon and got a good offer for Booth, I'd make a deal so quick you wouldn't have time to blink. Booth is finished, trade him while people still think he's got something to offer.

Good day

Totally agree get rid of Booth before we are stuck with his contract like Rusty's.

agree booth only has 15 goals he plays with way more caution!
by the way grabner number 25 tonight tieing goal tonight gooooooood job tallon wahoooooooooo! and an apple to boot!

we should of sent booth down on waivers kept grabner haha booth it like -20

Booth has 1 goal and 1 assist in last 11 games.

He is done, get something for him at least.


0 goals 3 assists in last 17 games. Tallon might have had a reason to dump him.


2 goals 2 assist in last 11 games. Needs to pick it up before he gets dealt away.

Booth has never been the same since the Richards hit. Even the "Booooooths!" have lost their luster at the BAC.

Although I do think Weiss is NOT a 1st liner, I do admire his ethic and desire to stay in FL. You can say the same for T-Vo and McCabe BUT THEY want to stay because they are at the end of their careers and have families that love South FL. Weiss wants to start AND finish his career in FL. I respect that.

Yea because Weiss loves to play golf and Florida has some great courses and he could play year round hahaha

Also, I'd like to keep McCabe around. With Gudbranson coming up next year, you have Gudy, Garrison, Ellerby, Kulikov, Wideman, and hopefully McCabe.

Why do I want this?

McCabe is someone these guys are going to look up to. You need a guy like this to help mature these VERY young HIGH FIRST ROUND DMEN, McCabe is an asset in more than his play. We need to keep him here.

Allen on the other hand, hope he's gone come the 28th.

back tracking, I don't see them dealing a Dman since Kulikov is out. I doubt PDB would want Callahan up again. I could see Allen being shopped after the season for a pick.

The Future

Garrison/Weaver or Garrison Wideman

Alex Petrovic is a stud, can't wait to see him up with the Panthers as well. Man are we deep on D. Even Robak WAS suppose to be decent. Doesn't look like he had a great AHL season though.

Trade Wideman?

Wideman getting almost 4 million. I wouldn't mind dealing him for a decent return. Maybe a pick 2nd round and a prospect. Too low? Too high?

Why are we discounting Bryan Allen out. I'd rather him than mccabe at this point. Although i did want Gudbranson up this year to learn from him and Mccabe but if i had to choose either Allen or Mccabe to keep i'd keep Allen. Also i will say this our Defense is set for a long long time.

Also as much as i love Gudbranson and will get his jersey when he is up. The future of our team is gonna end up a Howden that guy is a steal in the draft.

This dumb organization will screw things up.Tallon loses best skill player in Frolik for a guy nicknamed No Skill Skille in Chicago,next he lets 25 goal scorer Grabner go for nothing,next he sends Gudbrannson down to play with his 17 yr old brother.The TRUTH is Frolik was shipped out because it would have cost Panthers 1.5 million/yr--Skille is 900000/year.They save 600,000.They saved 800000 by not signing Gudbrannson.All about money while conning fans about how they are rebuilding.Why was Tallon let go?

This year's draft is supposedly very weak so Flyers giving their late first pick is not that much of a loss. The late first rounders wouldn't be first rounders in a normal draft year.

since tallon started
-good draft
-dropped grabner for free
-gave away frolik
-we need to get rid of wiess mccabe all those vets they have been here forever havent done anything. they all just like the weather there lets face it ! get them the hell outa there i agree they just want to retire there like snowbirds

Panthers could not give Wideman away with his negative numbers. Why would they want to? This team is rebuilding for 2 years from now. He may be worth a first rounder if he can pull it together next season at the trade deadline.

Who cares that the Panthers have signed any junior players? Santos has already stated that there will be no more bringing up players too early, so the kids in the AHL or juniors will not be brought up unless their name is Repik or Markstrom.

Why should the Panthers be top heavy cap when they are trying to get top picks and are at the bottom of their division? If anyone here thought the Panthers were going to make the playoffs this year after a 5game+ losing streak in January is kidding themselves. The writing is on the wall that the Panthers will be major sellers at the draft and deadline.

P.S. Grabner did nothing at training camp, he did not want to be a panther. Why do we want a player that does not want to play for the team? They are cancer in the locker room.

http://www.litterboxcats.com/ poor repik the guys never gets a chance, guys ike booth are a minus 20 and they dont get shutdown. hes put up insane numbers in the ahl but pete all canadian coach pulls his confidence away from him every game fire are coach he doesnt know how to motivate players

Relax, Repik doesn't have the size or awareness to stay at the NHL level.

Booth might be our worst forward, he needs to be shopped now.

George is Dale back from Europe

I did not see him so I don't think so

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