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79 posts from September 2011

September 22, 2011

Heading to Vegas? 2011-12 NHL Odds

Swingers Courtesy of our friends at bodog.com: 

Odds to win the 2012 Stanley Cup

Vancouver Canucks                   7/1

Washington Capitals                  7/1

Boston Bruins                            10/1

Pittsburgh Penguins                   10/1

Philadelphia Flyers                     11/1

San Jose Sharks                       11/1

Chicago Blackhawks                  12/1

Detroit Red Wings                      12/1

Los Angeles Kings                     14/1

Tampa Bay Lightning                  16/1

Buffalo Sabres                           18/1

Anaheim Ducks                         25/1

Montreal Canadiens                   25/1

Nashville Predators                    28/1

New Jersey Devils                      30/1

New York Rangers                     30/1

Phoenix Coyotes                       35/1

St. Louis Blues                          35/1

Calgary Flames                         40/1

Dallas Stars                              40/1

Carolina Hurricanes                    45/1

Toronto Maple Leafs                   50/1

Winnipeg Jets                            60/1

Colorado Avalanche                    65/1

Edmonton Oilers                        65/1

Ottawa Senators                        70/1

Columbus Blue Jackets              75/1

Florida Panthers                        75/1

Minnesota Wild                          75/1

New York Islanders                    80/1 

Odds to win the 2012 NHL Western Conference

Vancouver Canucks                   3/1

Detroit Red Wings                      11/2

Odds to win the 2012 NHL Eastern Conference

Washington Capitals                  4/1

Pittsburgh Penguins                   9/2

Philadelphia Flyers                     5/1

Boston Bruins                            11/2

Tampa Bay Lightning                  8/1

Buffalo Sabres                           10/1

Montreal Canadiens                   14/1

New Jersey Devils                      15/1

New York Rangers                     16/1

Carolina Hurricanes                    24/1

Toronto Maple Leafs                   28/1

Winnipeg Jets                            35/1

Florida Panthers                        40/1

Ottawa Senators                        40/1

New York Islanders                    45/1

Angelo Esposito Gets Opportunity with Florida Panthers ... Alexander Petrovic Sent back to Red Deer

Espo For two hours, Angelo Esposito sat in his seat at Nationwide Arena in Columbus waiting to hear his named be called. 

In 2006, Esposito was considered the top prospect going into the following year's draft. Then, something happened.

The speedy winger was called lazy by some scouts, not interested in the game by others. When the 2007 draft kicked off, it was obvious Esposito wouldn't go first. But he wouldn't fall much further. Or would he?

Chicago general manager Dale Tallon took Patrick Kane with the first pick; James van Riemsdyk went second to the Flyers. The Panthers may have been temped to take Esposito with the 10th pick, but chose Keaton Ellerby instead.

When the Penguins stepped to the podium and announced Esposito's name, the look of relief on his face was understandable. “It's over now,'' Esposito said then, “and I'm looking forward to the future.''

Things haven't worked out the way Esposito had hoped, although the Panthers are giving him a chance to continue his journey toward the NHL.

Esposito was traded from the Penguins to Atlanta in the Marian Hossa deal in 2008, then came to Florida this offseason for Kenndal McArdle – coincidentally, also a former 20th overall pick. 

Esposito has played just 69 minor league games over the past two seasons and has yet to make his NHL debut. In 2008, Esposito suffered a serious knee injury while playing for his junior team in Quebec. Esposito injured the same knee a year later while playing for the Thrashers' minor league team in Chicago. 

“It’s been a tough road,'' he said. “I think it’s made me a better person. To have both surgeries back-to-back, you know that really slowed down my progression. I missed about a year and a half, almost two years of hockey. That would hurt anyone. I’m back to where I want to be physically and mentally and feel good. I’m happy I get this new opportunity. It's a new challenge for me out there.''

At 21, Esposito is not aged nor washed up. He has had knee and shoulder problems, but says he's healthy now as he competes for one of only a handful of roster spots. When the Panthers visit Tampa Bay on Friday, he'll be in the starting lineup looking for yet one more shot.

Esposito recorded an assist in Florida's preseason opener on Monday and could play in Saturday's home game against the Lightning as the Panthers try to get as much ice time for prospects as possible.

“Angelo’s going to come in here, and he’s going to get a real good look to show what he can do,'' coach Kevin Dineen said. “His potential, that’s our role, is to take advantage of what he can do and to give him that opportunity to show us.'' 

Last year, Esposito didn't get much of a shot with the Thrashers after getting hurt during training camp. 

“The unfortunate part for him is he hasn't been able to stay healthy,'' said Panthers assistant coach Craig Ramsay, head coach of the Thrashers last season. “He has had a couple of tough breaks and that puts you behind. He needs to feel part of something, be involved. One he's involved, he'll show something. He got hurt in camp last year, and we didn't get to see much. Everyone was new then, so we moved on pretty quick.''


The Panthers (1-1) play their third exhibition game of the preseason Friday at St. Pete Times Forum against the host Tampa Bay Lightning before returning home to play host to the Lightning on Saturday. Both games start at 7:30 p.m. (no TV or radio). 

Florida will send mostly young players to Tampa on Friday, with a big number of veterans returning to the lineup for the home game. Three of Florida's top prospects – Jonathan Huberdeau, Erik Gudbranson and Jacob Markstrom – will play Friday. Dineen is not against having some of the young players go on consecutive nights. 


Defenseman Alexander Petrovic, 19, was sent back to his junior team in Red Deer, Alberta, after Thursday's practice. The 36th overall pick in 2010, Petrovic had an outstanding season last year and is considered one of Florida's top prospects. 

“If you were basically decisions based on potential, we could keep him here another week,'' Dineen said. “But it's fair to him and to his junior team to get him back in the swing of his team there. We think very highly of him.''

-- Quinton Howden (neck), Anthony Luciani (shoulder) and Scottie Upshall (hip flexor) didn't practice again on Thursday and will not play in either game against the Lightning this weekend.


Florida Panthers Lineup: At Tampa Bay Lightning, Friday 7:30 p.m.



At St. Pete Times Forum, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Florida Panthers Lines/Roster

11 Jonathan Huberdeau/57 Marcel Goc/27 Steven Reinprecht

18 Shawn Matthias/13 Mike Santorelli/26 Michal Repik

24 Ryan Carter/8 Tim Kennedy/63 Evgeny Dadonov

71 Angelo Esposito/36 Mark Cullen/12 Jack Skille

4 Keaton Ellerby/44 Erik Gudbranson

38 Roman Durlyuk/43 Mike Weaver

41 Mike Kostka/23 Tyson Strachan

47 Colby Roback

25 Jacob Markstrom

35 Tyler Plante

September 21, 2011

Florida Panthers Defense: From Jovanovski to Gudbranson and Everything In Between

Jovthn The Panthers blue line is as deep as it has ever been, with eight defensemen currently in camp with NHL experience.

When things settle down and the season gets underway, Florida is expected to hold onto seven of them.

Of those seven, barring injury, the Panthers have a solid mix of experience, youth and those coming into their own.

Ed Jovanovski is the elder statesmen of the group, logging 1,019 NHL games since coming up with the Panthers way back in 1994. On the other side of that spectrum is 19-year-old Erik Gudbranson, Florida's first round pick in 2010 who is still awaiting his NHL debut.

“These are big guys who can skate well and move the puck well. That's a combination that can be lethal,'' Jovanovski said. “We all know that defensemen have to develop and some of these guys are coming right into their prime. We're going to be relying on them heavily.''

Gudbransondraft Between the Jovanovski and Gudbranson time line among Florida defensemen are varying degrees of experience.

At the draft, general manager Dale Tallon traded Rostislav Olesz to Chicago for Brian Campbell, a 10-year veteran with 626 games on the odometer. Then there is Mike Weaver, who played in all 82 games for the Panthers last season and enters his 10th season.

After Weaver, there's quite a drop experience-wise. The Panthers are counting on their elder statesmen to lead the way and help mold the younger defensemen.

“They help in many different ways,'' said assistant coach Gord Murphy, himself a 14-year veteran who played six seasons with the Panthers from their expansion season through 1999. “Just in leadership on the ice, the young guys get to watch how they carry themselves. They learn just watching, through osmosis there. But these are quality people first and they interact. These guys really talk all the time. It can help them come along much more quickly.''

Dmitry Kulikov isn't a kid anymore as Stephen Weiss joked on Wednesday, but Kulikov is just 20 and still finding his way as he enters his third full season. The 14th overall pick in 2009, Kulikov jumped  into the fray as an 18-year-old and is one of the young players the Panthers are counting on to be around for the long term. 

Kulikov went through some of the sophomore struggles many young defensemen go through after a strong rookie season. Last year, Kulikov seemed to press at times to build on what he did in his first season but overall had a good season. The Panthers figure Kulikov has more offense in him than the six goals and 26 points he put up last year. There are few complaints on how he handles himself on the defensive side of the ice. 

“Every camp is different and there aren't many spots here. You have to earn them,'' Kulikov said. “I feel like I have become more of a professional since my rookie year. A lot has changed. I'm doing more of the little things than I did before. I'm working on things that I need to improve on, maybe things I didn't pay attention to before.''

One Florida defenseman who doesn't get much publicity is Jason Garrison. An undrafted free agent signed by then-general manager Jacques Martin in 2008, Garrison has been quite a find. It took Garrison a little while to crack the Panthers lineup, but once he got a real chance, he's been part of the regular rotation.

Perhaps one of the most physically strong players on the Panthers, Garrison is tough along the boards and has a good first pass. With five goals last season, Garrison has shown he can get the puck to the net as well. 

Those five players – Jovanovski, Campbell, Weaver, Kulikov and Garrison – are expected to be in the lineup each night. Keaton Ellerby, 22, was Florida's first round selection in 2007 and now has a one-way contract that all but seals his spot on the opening night roster. He'll be competing for playing time with Gudbranson as only six defensemen play each night. 

Gudbranson is expected to make the jump to the NHL this season after spending last year in the Canadian juniors.

Other defensemen in camp with NHL experience such as Nolan Yonkman and Tyson Strachan could make the team if injuries come up between now and Oct. 8. If not, those two are expected to start the season in San Antonio at the American Hockey League level.

Ellerby has shown a commitment to becoming a stronger player and was much improved last season – especially once paired with Kulikov. Ellerby's development continues as he played in 54 games in 2010-11 after appearing in just 22 the season before. 

“I think it's huge having the veteran guys around here like we do,'' Garrison said. “These guys have been around, they know the ropes. They give us everything we need to get better. It's been great. It's a real good mix. If we can all gel, go in the same direction, we're going to do good things.''

-- The Panthers held a full scrimmage on Wednesday with one of the more intriguing lines consisting of Stephen Weiss at center with 18-year-old rookie Jonathan Huberdeau and veteran Kris Versteeg on the wings. 

Quinton Howden (neck) and Anthony Luciani (shoulder) still haven't practiced but remain in camp. Scottie Upshall (hip flexor) also didn't participate on Wednesday but said his injury was minor and his exclusion was just precautionary.


At Saveology.com Iceplex, Coral Springs

Thursday's practice: 9 a.m.-noon

September 20, 2011

Miami Marlins Logo Leaked? NOW! With OnFrozenPoll

Miamimarlinyellow As many of you may have heard, the Florida Marlins are leaving Miami Gardens after this season and moving to Little Havana to begin play at Marlins Park at the Orange Bowl* in 2012.

The Florida Marlins will be no more; as of November, the team changes its name to the Miami Marlins.

There will be a new logo, a re-branding of a franchise who, like their expansion sister in Colorado, have basically had the same look since Day 1.

  Miamimarlingreen Two logos have been leaked through the internets tonight. The logo above, and the one to the right (which does look a little Photoshoppy so who knows).

The Marlins will not confirm if this is the new logo, with team president David Samson texting Herald baseball writer Clark Spencer only that it will be unveiled Nov. 11.

So, if this is indeed the new logo what will the new colors be? Samson has told people the old teal is out. Based on all the new seats at the new park, one would assume that shade of blue is in.

So, are they going to incorporate yellow or green?

They may go with yellow as that color has been part of the marketing for the new stadium.

Of course, they may opt for the second logo color scheme and go with green instead.

Here's my thought: With orange-and-blue, you get the old Miamimarlinsjersey colors of the original minor league Miami Marlins from the Miami Stadium days. By adding green to that, you have a Hurricanes feel that would be a homage to their stadium being built on the old site of the Orange Bowl.

Whatever the colors are, the Marlin silhouette has Dolphstadium definitely been borrowed from their current home.

Landshark Haven't we seen that Marlin somewhere before? 

Oh yeah, but it's really only a dolphin, ma'am.

(*) Marlins Park at the Orange Bowl is an obvious rip-off of Oriole Park at Camden Yards and completely made up by me. Not that I disapprove if they want to use it. In fact, Marlins management, I offer it to you for free. OK, Opening Day tickets for my friends. That's it. And this remote.

Sharks3 -- Here's another logo the Marlins may want to borrow if they want to tweak this before November. The Sharks were a pretty good team back in the day. 

Miamisharks2 Who doesn't remember them winning the Pantheon Cup?

That's tradition you build on friends.


Florida Panthers Scott Clemmensen Works Off Rust in Exhibition Win ... Panthers Make Roster Cuts

Clem It had been more than five months since Scott Clemmensen played in a hockey game at full speed.

On Monday night, the rust showed.

Clemmensen gave up two goals on the first three shots he faced on Monday night, the Panthers goalie shaking his head as the second puck got past, some of the fans in the arena booing. Clemmensen, like his teammates, had been practicing for weeks in preparation for the season. But there's nothing like game speed to get one, well, up to speed.

Clemmensen's last game was played on April 8 in Tampa.

“You are obviously rusty coming off the summer, but the most important thing is getting your rhythm back and going through game situations,'' Clemmensen said after practice on Tuesday. 

“It's my 11th training camp as a pro, so it's a process I've been through before. You work through it as quickly as you can. [The two goals] came in the first five minutes of the first preseason game. You always want to play perfectly and win by pitching a shutout. Realistically, that's not going to happen. There's rust. But I wasn't going to let it bother me. The most important thing was getting comfortable. Of course, two early goals makes that harder to do.''

Clemmensen settled down and helped lead the Panthers to a 4-3 win over the visiting Predators in the second game of Monday's preseason double-header. New coach Kevin Dineen split the goalie duties in the first game but decided from the start that Clemmensen was going to go the whole way in the second game. 

Dineen's decision makes a lot of sense. With rookie Brian Foster – who gave up four goals on Monday – off to minor league camp, the Panthers have four goalies left in camp with four preseason games left. Rookies Jacob Markstrom and Tyler Plante may see time in Florida's home-and-home series with Tampa Bay this weekend before heading to San Antonio for AHL camp. Then its just Clemmensen and Jose Theodore to finish things out next week against Dallas. 

“I want to see Clemmensen get two games and we'll give [Markstrom] a game in Tampa,'' Dineen said. “Sometimes it's not fair to the second guy in splitting going in. It's also not fair sometimes to pull the starter after he's gotten into the rhythm of the game. When [Nashville] changed goalies, we scored in like the first minute. It's a tough thing to get thrown into a game. Let the guy play the game and feel good afterward.''

By allowing Clemmensen to stay in the game, Dineen put Clemmensen in a situation he hopes to get used to during the regular season. The Panthers held a third period lead and Clemmensen had to close things out. Clemmensen stopped five shots in the third period and 23 of 26 overall.

“You have to work yourself back into game situations, breaking the game into segments,'' said Clemmensen, who ended last season on a seven game personal losing streak. “You not only have to start things off, but finish as well. It's important to get the rust off now. That's the important part.''


The Panthers cut their roster to 46 on Tuesday as Vincent Trocheck, John McFarland and Josh Birkholz were returned to their Canadian junior clubs. Brian Foster, Adam Comrie, Michael Caruso, Justin Bernhardt, Jake Hauswirth, AJ Jenks, Bill Thomas and Garrett Wilson were also assigned to AHL camp in San Antonio. 

Coach Chuck Weber and his staff left for Texas on Tuesday as the Rampage open camp on Sunday. General manager Dale Tallon said a big chunk of remaining players should be headed to San Antonio after Saturday's home preseason game against the Lightning.

Quinton Howden (neck) and Anthony Luciani (shoulder) haven't practiced but remain in camp.

“The decisions are getting tougher and tougher,'' Tallon said. “This means more reps for everyone. We'll move forward and keep cutting pieces at a time. We'd like to be close to the team we're going to have so we can get more familiar as a team. We'll have a few more Thursday then more on Sunday. These guys we sent down [Tuesday] played well. It's not what they did; it's what is in front of them right now.''


At Saveology.com Iceplex, Coral Springs

Wednesday's practice: 9 a.m.-noon


September 19, 2011

Florida Panthers Split Preseason Doubleheader with Predators ... Huberdeau Makes Great First Impression as Reinprecht, Cullen and Esposito Fight for Spot

Three forwards trying to bounce back this season and make an increasingly tough Panthers roster to crack got off to a good start on Monday afternoon.

Mark Cullen, Angelo Esposito and Steven Reinprecht could all be longshots to be on Florida's opening night roster, but they all plan on making it tough on the Panthers to send them to the minors. 

Cullen scored a goal with Esposito and Reinprecht both notching assists in Florida's 5-3 preseason loss to Nashville at BankAtlantic Center.

Of course rookie Jonathan Huberdeau scored a goal with an assist in Florida's 4-3 win in the second game of the double header, not making things any easier on those other three. 

“I think it's great, but it's just the beginning,'' said Huberdeau, the first star in his first NHL exhibition. “I have to work hard if I want to make the team this year.''

Reinprecht has probably the best chance of the trio to make the team, the veteran center having 663 games of NHL experience. But last year was rough on Reinprecht as the Panthers benched him for the first three games of the season before waiving him and eventually sending him out of town. 

Reinprecht played in 29 games for Florida last year but ended the season in Europe. The Panthers loaned him to a professional team in Germany where he played in 18 games with four goals and 13 points. 

“It was a difficult year, yeah, but there's nothing I can do about it now,'' Reinprecht said. “I believe I can still play in the NHL. I want to prove that. I put the team ahead of myself, I just want to help them win. You definitely miss playing in the NHL, miss it a lot. It gives you a real – not that you need more incentive – kick in the butt.''

With coach Pete DeBoer gone, some think Reinprecht is going to have a better chance of making this year's team. And money could help Reinprecht as well. Reinprecht is in the final year of a three-year pact he signed with the Panthers in 2009. He'll make $2 million whether he plays for the Panthers, in the minors or back in Europe.

“He's having a good training camp,'' coach Kevin Dineen said. “It's no message, but if I see someone with jump, why wouldn't you want them out there? For me, you have to look back to a certain extent, but what you do today is important, what you do tomorrow.''

There's little doubt Reinprecht is using last year as motivation coming into this season. He's in great shape and seems to have impressed Dineen. 

“Wherever I play, I want to do my best,'' Reinprecht said. “It's a new staff and I want to show them what I can do. I'm going to work hard and see what happens. I'm under contract and want to earn a spot.''

After the start Cullen had to his 2010-11 season, he seems just happy to be on the ice much less scoring a goal. Cullen ruptured his Achilles tendon on the opening day of training camp, getting hurt during the physical testing. Cullen missed most of the season, eventually playing in 28 games in the AHL. 

Cullen will more than likely start the season with Florida's AHL affiliate in San Antonio.

“As far as my hockey career goes, that was the most frustrating thing, to have such a severe injury and never even make it on the ice,'' he said after Monday's game. “It was tough, but I made it through and I feel pretty good. I never felt back to 100 percent [last season], never felt like myself.''

Esposito came to the Panthers in an offseason trade, with Florida sending former first round pick Kenndal McArdle to Winnipeg. Esposito was highly regarded in the months leading into the 2007 draft, at one point being the top rated player. But questions arose about his work ethic and commitment and he fell to Pittsburgh with the 20th overall selection. 

Knee and shoulder injuries have limited Esposito to 69 AHL games in the past two seasons. The Panthers like Esposito's upside and hope that if he stays healthy, he'll turn into a solid NHL contributor. Esposito spent less than one full season with the Penguins organization before being traded to Atlanta in 2008.  

“He's an intriguing player,'' Dineen said. “He comes from an organization, Chicago of the AHL, that's full of veteran players. They play to win every night so sometimes prospects don't get to play that much. His stats may reflect that. I thought he was very solid.''


Game 1 – Nashville 5, Panthers 3: The Predators got third period goals from Jani Lajunen and Kyle Wilson to pull away from Florida in the opening exhibition game for both teams. Florida got goals from Dmitry Kulikov, Mark Cullen and Greg Rallo in the loss. Brian Foster replaced starter Tyler Plante and gave up four goals on 14 shots.

Game 2 – Panthers 4, Nashville 3: The Panthers rallied from a 3-2 deficit as Mike Santorelli and Tim Kennedy scored 54 seconds apart in the third period. Scott Clemmensen started and played the entire game, stopping 23 of the 26 shots faced. Eric Selleck and Jonathan Huberdeau also scored for Florida; Nashville got goals from Teemu Laakso, Ryan Thang and South Florida native Blake Geoffrion.

Geoffrion was born at Plantation General but moved to Tennessee with his family when he was 1. 

LIVE! Preseason Game 2: Florida Panthers 4, Nashville Predators 3 FINAL

The live coverage of today's chat will display below. Press the play button to launch. It may take up to a minute to load. I have to approve all questions so be patient after submitting one. Thanks.

LIVE! Chat with Florida Panthers AHL Coach Chuck Weber

The live coverage of today's chat will display below. Press the play button to launch.

It may take up to a minute to load.

I have to approve all questions so be patient after submitting one. Thanks.


LIVE! Preseason Game 1: Nashville Predators 5, Florida Panthers 3 FINAL

The live coverage of today's chat will display below. Press the play button to launch.

It may take up to a minute to load.

I have to approve all questions so be patient after submitting one. Thanks.

Nashville Predators (at Florida Panthers) Roster; Game 1 3 p.m. EST



3 P.M. EST

7 Jonathan Blum D

17 Chris Mueller C

21 Zach Stortini C

22 Jordin Tootoo RW

25 Jarred Smithson C

28 Kyle Wilson C/RW

30 Jeremy Smith G

33 Colin Wilson C/RW

37 Chet Pickard G

47 Scott Ford D

48 Josh Shalla LW

49 Ryan Ellis D

53 Jeremy Foss D

56 Taylor Beck LW

58 Justin Puustinen RW

62 Mark Van Guilder C/RW

63 Jani Lajunen C

74 Sergei Kostitsyn LW

83 Scott Valentine D

89 Tyler Sloan D

Preseason Hockey Fix: Panthers v Nashville (Game 1), 3 p.m.

Nashvillepanthers The Panthers open up their preseason schedule today when Nashville comes in for a rare exhibition double header.

Game Numero Uno from The Billboard kicks off at 3 p.m.; the second game is scheduled for 7:30. Florida's lineups are listed here.

Don't forget, I'm going to host three seperate chats here today.

The first will start around the time of the first game; the second will be a chat with AHL coach Chuck Weber; the third will be for Game 2.

I will be using the 'Follow It Live' software as usual, so be patient when you offer up your questions as I have to approve each and every one of them.

Also, if you want to ask coach Weber something and don't feel like waiting -- or will be in the stands in Sunrise -- send those questions in emails to me at:


-- The NHL Network released its preseason broadcast schedule today.

No Panthers -- of course -- but plenty of hockey for you all to devour.


Sept. 19        Ottawa Senators at Toronto Maple Leafs                7 p.m.               
Sept. 20        Philadelphia Flyers at Toronto Maple Leafs                7 p.m.               
Sept. 20        Calgary Flames at Vancouver Canucks                        10 p.m.
Sept. 21        Detroit Red Wings at Pittsburgh Penguins                7 p.m.
Sept. 22        Chicago Blackhawks at Pittsburgh Penguins                7 p.m.
Sept. 23        Buffalo Sabres at Toronto Maple Leafs                        7 p.m.
Sept. 24        Minnesota Wild at Pittsburgh Penguins                        3 p.m.
Sept. 24        Toronto Maple Leafs at Buffalo Sabres                        7 p.m.
Sept. 24        Anaheim Ducks at Vancouver Canucks                        10 p.m.
Sept. 25        Chicago Blackhawks at Detroit Red Wings                5 p.m.
Sept. 25        San Jose Sharks at Vancouver Canucks                        9 p.m.
Sept. 27        New York Islanders at Calgary Flames                        9 p.m.
Sept. 28        Vancouver Canucks at Anaheim Ducks                        10 p.m.
Sept. 29        Tampa Bay Lightning at Montreal Canadiens                7 p.m.
Sept. 29        Vancouver Canucks at San Jose Sharks                        10:30 p.m.
Sept. 30        Pittsburgh Penguins at Chicago Blackhawks                8:30 p.m.
Oct. 1                Detroit Red Wings at Toronto Maple Leafs                7 p.m.
Oct. 1                Edmonton Oilers at Vancouver Canucks                        10:30 p.m.
Oct. 2                Chicago Blackhawks at Washington Capitals                5 p.m.

September 18, 2011

Nashville Predators at Florida Panthers, Monday, 3 and 7:30 p.m.

OK, here's the plan for those of you not going on Monday.

I will have THREE different LIVE! chats going on tomorrow.

The first one will be for the 3 p.m. game. There is no television, no radio either. If the Panthers decide to stream the game, will get that information to you.

The second one will be our Third Annual AHL Coaches Chat. San Antonio coach Chuck Weber has agreed to come to the press box around 6 p.m. tomorrow to talk all things Rampage. Will have more information on that tomorrow.

And the third chat will be during the second game.

Hope to see some of you there.


When: Game 1 is at 3 p.m., Game 2 at 7:30

Where: BankAtlantic Center, Sunrise 

Ticket special: All students with proper ID get two tickets for free and additional tickets for $10 each.

The game: The Panthers will play a rare split-squad, preseason double-header against Nashville. “I don't know if this is a one tie day or a two tie day,'' coach Kevin Dineen joked.

The first game will feature such players as Dmitry Kulikov and Sean Bergenheim; the second will include David Booth and rookie Jonathan Huberdeau.

A free autograph session will be held near the main arena entrance 30 minutes before each game.

Some veteran players, such as Stephen Weiss and Jose Theodore, will not play Monday.

Florida will have four more preseason games after Monday, including a home game Saturday against the Lightning.

OnFrozenFilm, Training Camp Edition: Kevin Dineen Day 2

Florida Panthers list Lineups for Monday Doubleheader v. Predators



MONDAY, 3 p.m/7:30 p.m. 

Florida lineups -- Game 1









Florida lineup -- Game 2









September 17, 2011

Jay Rokeach Is New Voice of the Florida Panthers


For more than 40 years, Jay Rokeach's booming voice has been synonymous with the University of Miami's athletic teams. Whether it's baseball, football or basketball, Rokeach has become the 'Voice of The U.'

Rokeach is about to be the voice of hockey in South Florida as well.

Rokeach has been named the Panthers newest public address announcer, replacing Mitch Phillips. Former PA announcer Bill Murphy will remain in his role as in-arena host. Rokeach called Saturday night's UM-Ohio State game in Miami Gardens and hopes to remain with the university despite a few conflicts with the Panthers.

Rokeach says he has committed himself to all 41 regular season home games, meaning there will be conflicts with his Miami duties. Rokeach says he would have to miss two UM football games as well as five men's basketball games and seven baseball games. Rokeach has been behind a microphone at UM since he was a student there in 1969. Rokeach has also worked at Miami-Dade North and has been the in-house PA announcer (press box, luxury suites) for the Dolphins the past decade.

The Panthers get their first real taste of the Miami experience on Monday as Rokeach works Florida's preseason doubleheader against Nashville. Rokeach did work a rookie league game for the Panthers last week.

“I would love to continue to do both as long as possible. I love the University of Miami and love doing Hurricanes games. It's been a big part of my life and a part of my life I cherish,'' said Rokeach, a resident of Pembroke Pines.

“But working for the Panthers is a great opportunity for me. It's a great commute and I'm excited about it. I'm going to do my best with this. It's a microphone and a sporting event. That's what I do. This is going to be a new experience but something I'm really looking forward to.''

Rokeach has worked through UM scheduling conflicts before as he was the original PA announcer for the Marlins from 1993-97. It was with the Marlins that Rokeach worked with Pete Soto, the Panthers new director of presentation and production.

Soto, who spent 12 seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes before returning to South Florida this summer, was looking for a new announcer after Lewis decided the gig wasn't for him. Soto quickly called up Rokeach to gauge his interest. Rokeach was obviously intrigued and interested.

“I came down and knew I wanted to look at different avenues. I called Jay on a whim,'' Soto said. “We decided to do it. We were willing to work around his Miami conflicts, but he's a professional and wanted to commit to us. I agree with that. What he brings is he is a natural PA announcer. He knows what makes the crowd happy and play along. He's a consummate professional. I'm very excited about this. It's great for the fans. And we have a comfort level. I have absolute trust in him.''

Rokeach readily admits he's no puckhead, but knows a little bit about the game. Rokeach says he enjoyed going to a handful of Panthers games each season and figures he will be a quick learner. Soto is not worried.

“My biggest concern is the pronunciation of the players,'' Rokeach joked. “I don't want to be responsible for a war between the USA and Canada.''

Jay Rokeach Is New Voice of the Florida Panthers

OnFrozenFilm, Training Camp Edition: Kevin Dineen

OnFrozenFilm, Training Camp Edition: Dale Tallon

Florida Panthers Training Camp Notebook: Sean Bergenheim Wants to Continue Postseason Success

Bergenheim Sean Bergenheim knows something about missing the playoffs. The new Panthers winger spent five seasons with the Islanders, never getting a taste of the NHL postseason.

That all changed for Bergenheim last year, and he took full advantage.

Bergenheim, 27, helped lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to within a win of the Stanley Cup Finals. Bergenheim spent just one season with the Lightning. But he made quite the impression. In 80 regular season games, Bergenheim had 15 goals and 14 assists. In 16 postseason games, Bergenheim had nine goals with two assists. 

On July 1, the Panthers got Bergenheim to come across Alligator Alley as Florida signed him to a four-year deal. 

As big a season Bergenheim had last season, he says it's only the beginning. 

“We obviously had a great run there last year and I was very happy with the way I played in the playoffs,'' Bergenheim said after Saturday's opening practice of training camp. “I want to bring that here. I learned a lot last year and my goal is to play at that level the whole season. In the playoffs I really found my game – I had it there before – and that's the challenge this year. I have to play that way all year.''

Bergenheim was one of the last players to sign with the Panthers on the opening day of the free agency period on July 1. He had seen how Dale Tallon had started to put the Panthers back together, first by trading for Brian Campbell, Kris Versteeg and Tomas Kopecky before signing the likes of Scottie Upshall, Tomas Fleischmann and Ed Jovanovski. 

Although Bergenheim was close to re-signing with the Lightning, the Panthers went hard after him and apparently made a pretty good case.

“I liked what was going on here, I saw the signings they were making,'' said Bergenheim, who has 54 goals and 109 points in 326 NHL games. “I liked the atmosphere here. It's very positive and seems much stronger than it has been in the past. We are going to be a playoff team. That's our only goal. No player wants to go through a season and not make it.''

Said Tallon: “He scored nine goals in the playoffs and was really good. His energy level is high. He's a good two-way player and competes hard with a lot of speed and energy. That's contagious.''


Canesosu New Panthers defenseman Brian Campbell planned on taking in his first college football game on Saturday as he and a friend went to the Hurricanes-Ohio State game. Campbell, born in Ontario, said he didn't have any allegiance but had a pretty good idea of who he was going to cheer for.

“I'm not a big college football person, but the guy I'm going with is a huge Miami fan,'' the former Chicago Blackhawk said. “And I don't like Ohio State very much. I'll be going to Miami.''

-- Only two of the 57 players on the camp roster missed Saturday's opening practice. Quinton Howden (stiff neck) is expected to be back Sunday. Anthony Luciani (shoulder) is questionable.

-- Coach Kevin Dineen says no decision has been made on who will be the Panthers new captain. “We're still a ways away on that one,'' he said. Center Stephen Weiss and defenseman Ed Jovanovski are considered the favorites. 

Weiss3 “You look at [Weiss] as always having a leadership role for his tenure here and the way he plays the game,'' Dineen said, talking about Weiss working out with rookie Jonathan Huberdeau on Saturday. “Matching him up with one of our future star players is a good mix.'' 

-- The Panthers are offering two free tickets to any student with identification for Monday's exhibition doubleheader against Nashville at BankAtlantic Center (3/7:30 p.m.). Additional tickets are $10. One ticket is good for each game. 

-- The Panthers will hold two scrimmages at the Coral Springs IcePlex on Sunday as part of their training camp schedule. One scrimmage begins at 10 a.m.; the other at 11:45. Admission is free and workouts are open to the public.


At Saveology.com IcePlex, Coral Springs

Sunday: Practice (two ice sheets), 9 a.m.-12:15 p.m.


OnFrozenFilm, Training Camp Edition: Sean Bergenheim