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2 posts from September 19, 2013

September 19, 2013

GOALIE UPDATE: Clemmensen Back on Ice; Markstrom v Lightning on Saturday

TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards

Goalie Scott Clemmensen was one of three players Florida left behind to work out in Coral Springs while the team is in Texas.

Clemmensen had minor knee surgery two weeks ago and was back on the ice Wednesday.

Clemmensen could practice when the team returns Monday. Nick Bjugstad (concussion) and Sean Bergenheim (abdominal) also stayed back.

"It's been two weeks from the surgery so I'm right there with the game plan,'' Clemmensen said on Wednesday. "Unfortunately I've been here with the knee before so I know what to expect. We're right on track.''

Clemmensen, about to begin his fifth season with the Panthers, says he cannot concern himself about the team signing Tim Thomas to a professional try out and said he won't rush back onto the ice because he feels pressured to.

"This is nothing new for me,'' Clemmensen said. "I've been through just about everything you can think of in my career. You just play the best you can; I don't make the decisions so I can't worry about it.''

Coach Kevin Dineen said Thomas won't play Friday in San Antonio nor Saturday in Tampa.

Thomas could make his debut with the Panthers in Thursday's preseason game against the Lightning across Alligator Alley in Estero.

Michael Houser will start Friday in San Antonio with Jacob Markstrom playing the entire game Saturday.

"I'm going to be real patient with Tim,'' Dineen said. "I like the way he's looked in practice and the way he's approached things here. I think it's prudent for him to get his feel for the game with our practice group instead of throwing him out there in an exhibition game.

"I can tell you, I won't be judging Tim Thomas on one look in an exhibition game. That's not a make-or-break deal.''

GOALIE UPDATE: Clemmensen Back on Ice; Markstrom v Lightning on Saturday

PANTHERS A HIT IN TEXAS: Florida to Host Stars in San Antonio on Friday

TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards

The Miami Heat may not be welcomed in San Antonio after last summer's NBA Finals, yet the Florida Panthers feel right at home deep in the heart of Texas.

The Panthers, whose AHL affiliate plays in San Antonio, have brought NHL hockey to the city for the first time in the 10-year history of the AT&T Center. After holding two practice sessions at the Spurs' arena on Thursday, the Panthers will play host to the Dallas Stars on Friday night.

The lower bowl of the arena is sold out and a crowd exceeding 10,000 is expected to watch Friday's game. The Panthers were supposed to play the Stars here last year, but that game -- like many others -- was wiped out because of the NHL lockout.

"We get treated so well here,'' said Panthers coach Kevin Dineen, who spent a lot of time during the lockout in San Antonio watching the Rampage. "This really is a great affiliation. The Spurs have one of the best-run organization in all of sports. We are enjoying our time here on the Riverwalk.''

The Rampage, which is owned by the Spurs, will hold its training camp in San Antonio starting Sunday. That means Friday's game is perhaps the last chance a good number of players in training cam will have to impress the Panthers' brass.

The Panthers are expected to leave around 20 players in San Antonio when the team leaves Texas on Saturday for their preseason game later that night in Tampa.

Dineen expects to have around 35 players for Monday's practice in Coral Springs. Florida's current roster, including injured players, is at 59.

Florida opens its regular season Oct. 3 in Dallas; the Rampage opens at home the following night against Chicago.

"It's going to be a really tough cut,'' Dineen said. "It's going to be some hard conversations between myself and Dale [Tallon] because I'm trying to be merciless to have a workable, manageable number. Yet for some guys, the decision haven't been made. There is opportunity here for those willing to grab it.''


There weren't many goals scored in Wednesday's preseason game at Dallas although what scoring the Panthers and Stars did came in bunches.

Dallas scored its two goals within a 30 second span in the second; Florida got its two goals (Quinton Howden and Scottie Upshall) within 14 seconds late in the third. Dallas won 3-2 in a shootout as Florida dropped to 2-0-1 in the preseason.

"I really liked our first period, it was our best out of all of them,'' Dineen said. "[Dallas coach] Lindy Ruff had his A-squad out there and we stayed with them. Then they scored bang-bang, and the way we played in the final seven minutes of the second, they deserved it. But we showed some good push back and got some timely goals. It was an entertaining game.''

Friday: Preseason game vs. Stars, AT&T Center (San Antonio), 8 p.m.
Saturday: Preseason game at Tampa Bay, 7 p.m.
Sunday: Off
Monday: Practice, 9 a.m. (Iceplex)
Tuesday: Practice, 9 a.m. (Iceplex)
Wednesday: Practice, 9 a.m. (Iceplex)
Thursday: Practice, 9 a.m. (Iceplex); Preseason game v Tampa Bay (Estero, Fl.), 7:30 p.m.
(*) All workouts at the Coral Springs Iceplex are free and open to the public. Starting times subject to change.

PANTHERS A HIT IN TEXAS: Florida to Host Stars in San Antonio on Friday