« Panthers Lose to Sens Twice on Thursday: Stephane Da Costa Signs with Ottawa | Main | Florida Panthers Playoff Drought Commemorative Banner Contest Is Over »

Evgeny Dadonov Developing Well ... Don't Mess with Hordichuk ... Scott Clemmensen IN vs. Penguins

Bagel Well, barring any unforseen developments, today marked my final practice at IncredibleIce this season.

It sure was fun.

The best part? Seeing all the diehard fans -- when you're talking about the Florida Panthers, are there any other kind? -- at the practices day in, day out. It's always good to talk hockey (and tennis or the Yankees when Harvey X. is around) with everyone each day. Makes things fun, no doubt.

Also going to miss my morning iced coffee and toasted bagel from the fine folks at Brooklyn Water Bagel. I'm voting the addition of that bagel factory in the arena and training facility as the Panthers' biggest free agent acquisition this season.

It really is one of the best moves this franchise has made in years (sad statement there, yes? True? Yes).

Not to rain on anyone else's proclimations, but the staff at On Frozen Pond has voted Brooklyn Water Bagel as the best Bagel in South Florida. Your plaque is in the mail.

Still working on the Best Wings in South Florida Award. Lots of homework to do on that one.

Anyway, on to hockey:


In an otherwise bleak season, the Panthers hope they have seen glimpses of the future offensively in the recent play of Evgeny Dadonov.

With over $30 million to spend just to get to the league-mandated salary cap floor this summer, the Panthers are expected to go after offensive-minded players either through trade or via free agency. But with most – if not all – of the league's top players locked into contracts, the Panthers are going to have to develop scoring through what they have as well.

The Panthers think they have a real keeper in the 22-year-old Russian winger.

“We're looking for top two-line forwards in the organization, guys with skill who play the right way,'' coach Pete DeBoer said. “Winning teams have that. .-.-. The reality is you can't sign four of five of those guys because they're just not out there. He has that kind of potential. He can fit in in one of those roles. He just needs to keep developing.''

It took Dadonov a little while to make it to the Panthers. After coming into his first training camp last year out of shape, the Panthers stashed him with their AHL affiliate in Rochester, N.Y., until the end of the year, finally calling him up with four games left.

Dadonov had hoped to make the roster after a strong training camp this year, but he lost out in a numbers battle, going back to Rochester. Yet once the Panthers called him up in December, Dadonov was here to stay, scoring three goals with 10 points in his first 17 games. Dadonov went through a rough patch where he didn't score in eight straight games before breaking a finger. That cost Dadonov six weeks.

Since returning to the lineup, Dadonov has four goals in seven games – including a pretty back-handed wraparound goal against Columbus' Steve Mason on Tuesday. When DeBoer says Dadonov can't “take his foot off the gas,'' Dadonov says he understands what he has to do to build on this season in the offseason.

“Everyone is trying to play their best right now, end their season good because it's important going into next year,'' said Dadonov, who plans on returning to his hometown of Chelyabinsk, Russia, soon after Florida's season comes to a close next week. “Every player has highs and lows in a season, as did I. I'm just trying to be a better professional, eat good food, get good rest. I know what it takes to play at this level and I just need to keep it going.''


Darcy Hordichuk had Thursday's game against the Senators in his mind for weeks, the Panthers enforcer itching for a chance to fight Ottawa's Francis Lessard to right what he thought was a wrong. In the previous matchup, Lessard's hard hit knocked Florida's Scott Timmins out.

Hordichuk tried to engage Lessard as soon as that hit happened, although Lessard declined as officials herded him off the ice. Lessard received a game misconduct for the hit and was ejected from that game. Thursday, Hordichuk took on Lessard less than three minutes into the game.

“That's my job, to protect our guys,'' Hordichuk said. “If guys think they're going to come in here and take liberties with our guys, well, there are repercussions.''

Timmins has been out since the hit with a concussion and may not return this season. The Panthers are taking Timmins' return slowly and he has just begun skating.

“Every time you see him fight it's exciting, but knowing that was for me was great,'' Timmins said. “That's the kind of guy he is. He always sticks up for his guys. I can't thank him enough.''

-- DeBoer said he's treating Clemmensen like the Panthers starter while Tomas Vokoun is out with a back injury saying Clemmensen deserves the chance to play. Vokoun could be out some time – although DeBoer says it's too soon to tell whether Vokoun's season is over.

Vokoun has not skated since being hurt Sunday in Pittsburgh. Clemmensen will start Saturday against the Penguins.

“We're trying to win every game and Clemmensen has paid his dues here,'' DeBoer said before Thursday's loss to Ottawa. “He's been here every day for two years, practiced every day and has been a good teammate. He's also played well. This isn't training camp. We're trying to send the right messages and the message is he deserves to play for what he's done. Vokoun is a free agent so there's a question mark about our goaltending going forward. Clemmensen is under contract and we know he'll be back for sure.''

-- Winger Jack Skille (ankle) practiced again on Friday and DeBoer said he was probable for Saturday's game.

When, Where: 7 p.m.; BankAtlantic Center
TV/Radio: FSN; WQAM 560
The series: Pittsburgh leads 34-30-4
The game: The Panthers have lost seven straight games and haven't scored more than two goals in any of their past six games. Florida is on the verge of not getting a win in a season series against the Penguins for the first time since the inaugural season of 1993-94 when Florida lost three and got a tie. Pittsburgh has lost to Philadelphia and Tampa Bay since beating Florida 2-1 in a shootout last Sunday. Sidney Crosby is still working his way back from a concussion and is practicing with the Penguins without contact. Crosby will not play Saturday.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Pete is clearly lost. three years ago he benched Boynton in the middle of our once a decade playoff race for "yelling"; now he wont sit clemmer for a period while we are once again third from last in the leauge because now " we are trying to win every game".
The bus to kitchener leaves April 9 thank the lord.

actually, for sensible fans out there, his statement makes perfect sense. he's right, you're wrong. there's really no need to go into any further. bringing up an old incident from 3 years ago (the full story which you or i will never know) only serves to further undermine your credibility. get a clue or go kick your dog. either way, take that weak stuff out of here.

You absolutely right zero.

Well said DT. The coach is out of it with quotes like " I'm numb to all the losses" etc....
Plante should be in for some periods if not for some games. Help the tank and get some NHL experience.

DT thankyu someone who knows what they are talking about zero you know nothing, why is clemmensen playing every game? like im not saying he doesnt deserev it, but plante deserves to play too. why are we so desperate on winning now??

Zero G,

I wonder what your opinion on the off season would be. I bet you're one of the ones that has no problem giving Richards 10-11 million a year because that's how clueless you really are.


Zero G,

I wonder what your opinion on the off season would be. I bet you're one of the ones that has no problem giving Richards 10-11 million a year because that's how clueless you really are.


Knock off the cursing and the personal attacks. It takes me two seconds to delete them. This should be a fun forum...getting tired of the crap...you want to talk smack, the other paper has a blog where you can comment there.

i wont talk smack if people stop rippin gon the panthers or people who have no clue what theyre talking about.

I'm sorry. I should just go back to commenting on Yormark. Or will I get fired???

GR, don't let that piece of crap dictate what you write. Yormark is the worst owner in the NHL, he deserves to get criticized. You shouldn't stop, but if you do, that makes you a coward.


Your last comment had nothing to do with Yormark...quit with the f-bombs and the calling out of other people who post here...it's getting old

And Michael Yormark does not own the team...he is an employee...

I personally think Deboer is not the problem, look at Dadonov and you can a real difference in skill level so how does firing the coach change anything? He inherited a salary mess, no superstar talent and as a new coach, had no direction in the GM area and, an ownership mess of uncertainty. Through this entire season and all the disappointments, you still end up with 3 guys who put 20 goals on the board, add another potent scorer and your 1 goal losses get erased.

Firing the coach is the most important thing to do to change the mentality of the Panthers.

If management is asking McCabe how to bring respect to the Panthers at the begginning of the season, there is a problem. Coach should have fixed that when he came in......Heck, they had to rope off the Panther emblem at the beginning of the season in the lockerroom...........the players dont respect the team, that they are asking Captain McCabe's opinion? I remember that story from the beginning of the season.

how many times do we see a Bad line change called, or how Debore has allowed his players not to fight back when vokoun is clobbered in the net....booth is knocked out by Richards and no fight back.

He has allowed for a ZERO % powerplay.

Worst, he let the refs cream the panthers over three times this season without a fight (the no goal calls and no interference, zero reaction from debore-- is he afraid to talk to the refs??)

He is a junior coach that belongs there with Hulton. It is time for the panthers to bring a veteran coach for this team.

This statement below speaks for itself:
If the Carolina Hurricanes can fire a coach that got them to the finals the year before, then the Panthers can fire a coach that has gotten them NOWHERE!!!!

why should the players respect the logo when Yormark allows them in the urinals.

As far as DeBoer, I think it is time for a change simply by the statement I am numb of the losing.

While a coach can make a difference (look at NJ), we don't have the talent level in the organization for a great coach to do anything with.

This is not the season to spend on free agency and the draft does not have that superstar talent in it.

This Panthers season, like the 9 before it, has been a major disappointment. I knew when they got rid of Denis Potvin that this team was going nowhere. Potvin, there from day 1, and the only tradition this team had besides the rats, was sent packing. And now when I get calls or emails to buy season tickets as I had in the past, I tell them, bring back Denis Potvin and I'll put my money back in the team. A hockey club that doesn't respect tradition, like this one, is going nowhere.

GR, why was Potvin canned? What was the story there?

I am all for replacing DeBoer provided the replacement isn't some of the usual suspects, ie Doug MacLean, Craig Hartsburg.

Everyone says DeBoer hasn't had much to work with, that may be true this year but his first year he did and lost on the tiebreaker. A better coach wouldn't need a tiebreaker. DeBoer had his chance and he failed. He has one year on his contract, let him scout for the Panthers. When a team gets knocked out early in the playoffs, their coach may be available and there may be some good ones ready to take the humongous challenge known as the Florida Panthers.

puckbubba you're wrong. He had no one on that 08 team

GR, why was Potvin canned? What was the story there?

The official word was this:

''I'm not in the job to make sure people believe me,'' Michael Yormark said on a conference call with myself, Barry Jackson, Steve Gorten and Brian Biggane.

"I've always been truthful and up front with our fans. I have a blog like you do. I tell the good, bad indifferent. I respond to every email. The reality, based on financial relationship with Fox is there really is no difference whether we have three, five, one or 10 in the booth. It's not a financial decision. We make decisions that are best for the franchise. I believe in time people will look at this as another good decision. And that's not a slap at Denis. He's a great analyst. We're looking for something different, something that's in the right direction of the franchise.''

Michael Yormark said the fact that Denis spends his summers in Quebec had a lot to do with his not being retained. The Panthers have a new three-year deal with FSN, and will be handling a lot of the ads and all that. So, read into that what you will. Sounds to me like games are going to become one big infomercial. And the team wants its broadcasters to sell the team, sell tickets, sell sponsorships during the offseason.

Steve Goldstein, Bill Lindsay and Randy Moller all live local and spend a good majority of their summers here. So they can go to Panther cookouts and come into the office and call season ticket holders. Denis, being up north, could not. And probably would not.

The Panthers obviously want more from their broadcasters than them just being, you know, professional broadcasters. And that's fine. And it seems the other three are cool with taking on more of that -- especially Randy since he's part of the team's front office.

''That was a factor,'' Yormark said. ''We want our broadcasters here, help market the franchise, meet with season ticket holders. That's very important.''


The comments to this entry are closed.