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5 posts from January 14, 2013

January 14, 2013

#FlaPanthers Monday Notebook: Huberdeau Takes Day Off, OK; Injury Updates (Kind Of) for Gudbranson, Goc and Bergenheim

TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards

Rookie forward Jonathan Huberdeau didn't practice Monday as the Panthers gave him a day off because of what coach Kevin Dineen described as "a few aches and pains" coming off the World Junior Championship tournament in Russia.

GM Dale Tallon said Huberdeau would be on the ice Tuesday.

"It was a minor little thing we had to get checked out by the doctors,'' Tallon said. "He's ready to go.''

-- Dineen said defenseman Erik Gudbranson (shoulder) and center Marcel Goc (ankle) will miss at least the first three games of the season.

Tallon said the extent of Sean Bergenheim's injury -- he was hurt on Oct. 2 playing in Finland -- isn't immediately known.

Gudbranson isn't being paid by the team because he was hurt wakeboarding in Canada in September; Goc was hurt playing for a German team during the Spengler Cup and Tallon said he isn't being paid until he is medically cleared either.

With Goc out, Dineen said he would use Peter Mueller at center. On Monday, he centered the second line with veteran right winger Alex Kovalev -- who is in camp trying out for a contract. Huberdeau is expected to be on the left side of that line.

-- Tallon said assistant general manager Mike Santos has taken over the negotiations with the agent for restricted free agent Dmitry Kulikov.

"Mike is really good at what he does,'' Tallon said. "I'm sure he'll get him done.''

-- When, Where: Tuesday, 10 a.m.; Saveology.com Iceplex, Coral Springs
-- Admission: Free
-- Directions: The Iceplex is located one-half mile east of the Sawgrass Expressway off Sample Road and Sportsplex Drive.
-- Season Opener: Saturday vs. Carolina; BB&T Center, Sunrise, 7:30 p.m.

Photos courtesy of KELSEY HINDS/Special to On Frozen Pond

#FlaPanthers Monday Notebook: Huberdeau Takes Day Off, OK; Injury Updates (Kind Of) for Gudbranson, Goc and Bergenheim

#FlaPanthers Monday Notebook: Huberdeau Takes Day Off, OK; Injury Updates (Kind Of) for Gudbranson, Goc and Bergenheim

VIVA KUBA: Filip Kuba Back For More with the Panthers

TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards

Filip Kuba was standing in a hallway in the Panthers training facility Sunday morning when radio voice Randy Moller approached him.

"Did you ever think you would be back here?'' Moller asked. "Sometimes things come full circle. Life is funny that way.''

Kuba smiled and nodded, acknowledging that the last time he was wore a Panthers jersey was quite a long time ago.

Drafted in the eighth round by the Panthers in 1995, Kuba spent four seasons in the organization including 18 games with the Panthers over two seasons from 1998-2000.

Then he was traded to Calgary before being claimed by Minnesota in the expansion draft of 2000 at the age of 23.

Now 36, Kuba has seen quite a bit since the Panthers got rid of him as the defenseman has played in 792 NHL games with Florida, Minnesota, Tampa Bay and Ottawa.

"Obviously, when I got moved it was something I didn't like and was sour about,'' Kuba said after his first practice with the Panthers in 13 years.

"But I got a chance in Minnesota. I really didn't think about what was going on here. I was out west. But the past few years I have been watching.''

The Panthers brought Kuba back in July, signing the Tampa resident to a two-year deal worth $8 million.

Since Kuba was traded away for the lightly-used Rocky Thompson, the team has changed ownership three times -- H. Wayne Huizenga's Boca Resorts group controlled the team in 2000 -- and has had one front office change after another.

Kevin Dineen is the eighth coach the Panthers have had since Kuba left; Dale Tallon is the eighth general manager.

Those rudderless days seem to be behind the Panthers, one reason Kuba was attracted to come back as a free agent. Moller, in fact, is one of the few recognizable faces left from 2000.

"The organization is going in the right direction,'' he said. "That's a big reason why I'm here.''

On Monday, Kuba was paired up with veteran Brian Campbell. Florida signed Kuba to replace Jason Garrison -- who signed with Vancouver a few hours after Kuba came to the Panthers.

Kuba didn't take Garrison's number (the 52 went to Jon Rheault) but did take his locker and a spot opposite the slick passing Campbell.

"We were trying to talk on the bench after shifts, talk about things I like and he likes,'' Campbell said. "It's a challenge, but it was like that last year. .-.-. It's early yet but I have confidence in things. He reminds me of players I've played with in the past. It'll be a little adjustment but we'll be fine.''

Tallon, a strong defenseman in his day, joked that Campbell is so smooth "I could play with him.'' Kuba, Tallon says, won't have a problem fitting in.

"He and Brian looked like they've been playing together all their lives,'' Tallon said. "It looks good.''

Photo courtesy of Kelsey Hinds -- Special to On Frozen Pond

VIVA KUBA: Filip Kuba Back For More with the Panthers

OUT WITH THE OLD: #FlaPanthers Change Up Banners at Arena

It appears as if the Panthers have done some renovations to the rafters of the BB&T Center.

Gone is the NCRC opening night which featured Celine Dion; gone, too, is the old 1996 Eastern Conference championship banner that was raised to the rafters at Miami Arena and brought north in 1998.

The Panthers replaced the 1996 banner and the Bill Torrey '93 banner (last picture) with new ones, most likely so they match the 2011-12 Southeast Division championship banner that goes up Saturday.

A good number of teams try to have all of their banners match -- the Heat do as well -- although I kind of like the mismatched look. I would rather see the banner that was raised at the time (and the logo from that era) than have a cookie-cutter look.

Anyway, it looks like the 1993-94 expansion banner (that also once graced the rafters in Miami) was taken down as well.

OUT WITH THE OLD: #FlaPanthers Change Up Banners at Arena

OUT WITH THE OLD: #FlaPanthers Change Up Banners at Arena

OUT WITH THE OLD: #FlaPanthers Change Up Banners at Arena

SUNRISE ICE: #FlaPanthers Arena Surface Taking Shape

The ice crew in Sunrise has been working hard to make sure the Panthers have a nice sheet for Saturday's opener.

Things are looking good so far.

Although it's not done, the ice is looking good.

The Panthers open the 2013 season Saturday night against the visiting Hurricanes at BB&T Center.

SUNRISE ICE: #FlaPanthers Arena Surface Taking Shape

SUNRISE ICE: #FlaPanthers Arena Surface Taking Shape

SUNRISE ICE: #FlaPanthers Arena Surface Taking Shape


Panthers are ON ICE at the Coral Springs Iceplex, 10 a.m.

Admission is free.

Team is using two sheets of ice.


4 - Keaton Ellerby
9 - Stephen Weiss
11 - Jonathan Huberdeau
12 - Jack Skille
13 - Mike Santorelli
14 - Tomas Fleischmann
17 - Filip Kuba
18 - Shawn Matthias
19 - Scottie Upshall
20 - Sean Bergenheim
22 - George Parros
23 - Tyson Strachan
25 - Jerred Smithson
27 - Alex Kovalev
30 - Scott Clemmensen
32 - Kris Versteeg
35 - Jacob Markstrom
40 - Marek Svatos
41 - James Wright
42 - Quinton Howden
43 - Mike Weaver
44 - Erik Gudbranson
50 - Drew Shore
51 - Brian Campbell
52 - Jon Rheault
55 - Ed Jovanovski
57 - Marcel Goc
60 - Jose Theodore
62 - Michael Caruso
72 - Alexander Petrovic
82 - Tomas Kopecky
88 - Peter Mueller