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31 posts from September 2007

September 30, 2007

A Pretty Good Year

Youppi Because of all the things currently going on around South Florida, On Frozen Pond quietly celebrated its first birthday last week.

We've seen some good stuff over the past 12 months, from various Bert and Ernie pictures to, well, I can't think of anything else.

Here's our first post, dated Sept. 24, 2006, from my hotel suite in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Greetings from San Juan

Welcome to my newest little corner on the world wide web.

Even though I'm not very computer saavy (as Homer Simpson once said, "The internet is on computers now?"), I'm going to try and bring you -- the Herald's dedicated hockey fans -- even better coverage than before.

So G, what does that mean? Well, extra stuff we don't have room to run in the paper will go here; my thoughts and musings (go ahead and groan) about life, hockey and the American way; and just general junk. 

Good stuff, I know. 

We're kicking off this blog from the beautiful city of San Juan, Puerto Rico, just hours after the Rangers beat the Panthers 3-2 in the first pro hockey game in the Caribbean (still looking for those yo-ho-hoeing pirates).

The Panthers are in Detroit today, but I'm not. A shame, I know. The end of this 10-day preseason roadie is just about upon me, but not just yet. I have more sightseeing to do. Buenas Dias, Fanaticos del Hockey (that means good morning hockey fans! I think.)

Bertbirthday Don't have anything else to say really. Just wanted to throw out of the best crappy pictures from the past year. If you had a favorite, let me know. I'll probably recycle it in the coming year. Because that's who I am (not lazy, just a cyber environmentalist.)

-- Also, trivia lovers: The original name of the blog was Blog of Ice. Yep, it sucked and it was canned almost immediately (although our webmaster hasn't fixed it on the main hockey page. And I kind of like it. So it stays.)

Airplane Bert4 Bertagain Bertagain_3 Bertplunge Drunkbert

Catstevens Doody Familyguy Georgerichardsisabigfatidiot Gmanwild Straderstash Jacquesstashe Janetreno Jayhorse Keenanduck Keenansun Merrynewyear Mrorgers Saban Smokey Thanksgiving Vacationwhipper Vivacuba Bartman Canes

The KISS Army

GeneNEWBURGH, N.Y. -- Sitting here in my luxury hotel suite an hour-and-change from the Big City, and all I've done tonight is watch Family Guy and the Gene Simmons marathon on A&E.

First off, exciting, I know. Secondly, never have watched this show before. Strangely addicting. Good stuff.

Going to get a good night's rest since tomorrow is our big first day at the U.S. Military Academy in nearby West Point. The team is going to have a normal practice in the morning, then go off and do what Army people do.

Sounds like a lot of basic training stuff, only with a lot of teamwork built in. Will update everyone.

JM feels like the Panthers weren't much of a team to kick off last year, and they want to have chemistry they didn't have right off the bat. Plus, there aren't that many additions to this team, so that's a plus.

Tropics -- In case you missed it, we ran our super-special NHL section in Sunday's editions of The Miami Herald. Check it out online, or run out to a machine, pop in a couple of quarters and read it old-school style.

-- D Steve Montador didn't join us on this trip, and it isn't because of his back. Apparently Monty needs knee surgery, and he's going to have it Monday. Don't have a timetable, but expect at least a month. At least the Panthers have depth at the position.

-- Guess what's down the street from Ye Old Marriott Inn? Orange County Choppers. Yep, the good folks from American Choppers are set up right around the corner. Going to pay a visit tomorrow. Will say hello to the boys for you.

September 28, 2007

Starting at Two in ATL

NixonThat previous post was just getting too long. A whole lot of nonsense, eh?

Anyway, feel free to update yourself below. But for those riding live, we're moving ahead in our coverage. Be back after the first intermission.


-- Uh oh...Mets pull to 4-3...(Tribe up 2-0 on KC Chefs)...

-- No Pepsi in the press box, only Coca-Cola products. Shocking...

-- According to weather dude, lows in the 50s this weekend in Atlanta...Hotlanta my foot...

-- ATL kills off penalty; Montador playing up front with McLean and Campbell...

-- Zednik wrister caught by Lehtonen...nice shot, great save...

-- Some dude just won tix to see Rascal Flatts because he knew the words to their cover of Life is a Highway...wouldn't mind seeing the boys from Rascal House....just picked up their new CD, pretty good...

-- FLA on PP with 11:31 left...Steve McCarthy goes to the box for two minutes...he feels shame...

-- Three SH chances by ATL coming the other way after Olli and the Specialist get in shots...

-- Marlins up 6-3, T5...

-- ATL on 5-on-3, Soup and Booth in the box...Stumpel should have been sent there too...Stumpel playing tough these days...


-- Boulton Motors (you are old school Miami if you got that reference) in the box for ATL; FLA on the PP with 3:20 left...


-- Marls lead now 7-4...

-- Panthers change goalies...Hope Solo in net for the Panthers...she says it was the right call at the right time...

-- 13 seconds into third, Zednik hits the box (holding the stick)

-- Cats kill it off...still 1-0 ATL

-- Why wasn't the FAMU Marching 100 here to perform the Anthem tonight? They could've packed the house for that one. That said, on a high school football Friday night in GA, this isn't a bad crowd at all.]

-- Kiss Cam just popped up. Al Tays from the PBPost just leaned in, but I politely declined his advances. We are just friends after all....

-- Can't believe the preseason is all but over. What memories! What stories! Ah, I'm going to miss these games that don't count.

-- ATL 1, FLA 0 7:20 left

-- Holik (slasher film) heads to the box...FLA on the PP with 6:36 left here at Staples Arena Jr....

1:24 left, still 1-0...going to run in just a second...if no update, that's your final...

Good night and drive safely.

Atlanta Flamed

AtlantaflamesATLANTA -- Greetings and Salutations from the World's Most Famous Arena named after a company that makes Televisions.

That's right, smart guy, coming to you live from Philips Arena in beautiful downtown Atlanta. The Thrashers play host to the Panthers in a little while here, so figured I'd fill everyone in on the deal tonight.

The Panthers aren't broadcasting this game back to SoFla, but new radio team Randy "Bad Deer" Moller and Bill "Nice Goal against the Bruins, Bro" Lindsay have taken their seats in the visiting radio booth and have invited me to join them on their dry-run "AKA: Fake" broadcast. So, hopefully I can hear them and I'll provide their call here. For at least a while. I can't commit for the whole game.

So, it should go something like this...Remember this is completely FAKE

RM: Welcome to Atlanta, I'm Red Deer Randy Moller here to call tonight's game between the Panthers and Thrashers.

BL: What in the hell does 'Red Deer' mean?

RM: Red Deer. It's a city in Alberta. That's where I'm from.

BL: Seriously, that's your nickname? Your nickname is your city of birth.

RM: Yep. I'm famous there.

BL: Well "Miami" George Richards says he went to Red Deer and asked around. No one knew who you were. Is that true?

RM: George Richards is a liar and an #$#^$#@!. I don't trust him as far as I could throw him.

BL: With your bad knee Randy, you really shouldn't be throwing anyone.*

So there you are. Should be a fun night of frivolity for all!

(*) This line was lifted from Ferris Bueller's Day Off. My bad. Completely unoriginal.

TONIGHT'S LINEUP -- Will post once available. Zednik and Dvorak are out there in warmups right now. So is Stewart. No sign of Kreps or Globke....

OK, Kreps/Globke are out, Van Ryn and Olesz too. Starters: Bo, Allen, Olli, Ville and Zed; Vokoun in the net.

-- Also, what's up with this Blueland stuff in Atlanta? They should go with Birdland instead. Blueland is just dumb.

-- Atlanta also has a dumb banner hanging from the rafters, one celebrating Widespread Panic's 15 sellouts here from 1999-2006. Eh....

-- Speaking of exciting, my hotel is playing host to the official G.I. Joe collector's convention. Seriously.

-- I always wanted a G.I. Joe with the kung-fu grip...

-- The All-Star Game is here in January. Should be a good town for it. Dallas sure was.

-- The lights are going out in Georgia; means we're getting closer to kickoff. Michael Vick starting at quarterback for the Thrash...

-- OK, in the radio booth now. Randy looks really nervous, Bill not so much.

-- Just kidding. Randy sounds good doing this play-by-play stuff. He's really good at ready the ads. 'Course, he's used to that.

-- Bill talks about quick starts, comes up with a good stat about the Ducks. Nice. Also talked about Florida's early struggles. Timely.

-- Randy: Panthers in penalty trouble early; Bill: "It's bad because it's in the offensive zone. You hate to see that.'' Yeah you do. Get used to it Billy...

-- ATL on PP; David Booth called for hooking.

-- Randy has given the score (scoreless) and time at least twice this broadcast. Good. That can be the toughest thing to remember to do. it can be infuriating when you turn on the radio and don't know a score or time.

-- Bill: "Radek a great penalty killer, should be a big addition to the team."

-- Justin: No, Olesz injury not thought to be that serious. Just sore.

-- Opening Night less than a week away. Think about that friends.

-- Yep, I think Randy's been paying attention all these years. He has the play-by-play thing down. Sounds pretty good. I'm sitting behind them, not watching the game but getting my info from them. I feel well informed. I haven't missed a thing.

-- Panthers just had a scoring chance, big shot and Randy was all over it. Panthers don't score, Thrash clear.

-- Back in my seat in the pressbox...

-- Stewart picks up FLA's second penalty of night...elbowing...I like elbow pasta....

-- Delayed call, FLA to go on PP of its own...Popovic to the bin at 9:28 (kneeing)...

-- Horton scoring chance, pulled down in front of the net...Olli has  a nice shot, stoned by Lehtonen....ATL clear...PP over...

-- Marlins lead the choking dog Metropolitans 2-1 in the third...

-- Thrash raising the SE divisional banner when they play host to WAS on Oct. 5...according to PA, good seats still available...

-- Indians/Royales w/ Cheese scoreless in the 1st...

-- 6:32 left in first; still scoreless....FLA leads in shots 7-5...seems like all 5 of ATLs shots have been scoring chances...Vokoun has been working it...

-- Brett Sterling (Road) has a big scoring chance in front, looks like Olli gave him a pop to the chops for the effort...Nice save by Vokoun...PP for ATL, Zednik in the booth w/ 5:46 left for hooking...shots tied 7-7...

-- FLA gets out of PP jam...Stewart throwing again...loses bout with Eric "Michael" Boulton...

-- Fightin Fish lead Sweats 4-1 in third...

-- Times like these make me glad I know so many Mets fans....

-- Alexei Zhitnik called for the hook...FLA on PP for final 35 ticks of first period...



The Commish Speaks

SeligNHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is in London for the kickoff of the NHL's 90th season.

Bettman, who has been fighting to get the Marlins a stadium in Miami, had a bunch of things to say. Here's a selection of his comments, courtesy of the NHL.

There's some good stuff in here, from the games in Europe to whether he thinks suspended players should be allowed to participate in the preseason.


Bettman_2 For us, this was an opportunity to dip our toe in the water in Europe, take what we believe is the most international of the North American sports, and bring it to the other side of the Atlantic. And while, obviously,  London and England may not be the strongest markets in the world, it puts us in closer proximity to markets and people have traveled here. ...

I just bumped into a number of the Kings players and the coaching staff as I was walking in here. They are all thrilled to be here and are enjoying the trip. I'm here, as well, enjoying myself, though I've only been here two hours.

Q. What is the plan for next year, the year after that in terms of doing this again? Where would you like to go? Will there be more teams involved?

That's a great question. I'm going to probably disappoint you with the answer. We can blue sky lots of different things, more teams, more places, but that would be blue skying. Please don't let your headline writers say, ‘We're doing more games in more places.’

What we're going to do is debrief once the experience is over, talk to the teams, talk to the players, and make sure that not so much today and tomorrow but next week when they're back and they've readjusted to the time zones, that everything is okay. Because, first and foremost for us, it's about the competition. We have to make sure we're creating the right circumstance for the real games that count.

The benefit of these games is that they count, and the thing that we have to worry about most is that they count. So we're going to have to debrief.

Obviously, if this works well, we're going to want to use this as a steppingstone. Being able to play in a facility like the 02 gives us great comfort. 

Is it important to put priority on having success in some of your markets you're not having a lot of success in before you broach coming to Europe?

Bettman2 First of all, our franchises are doing better than they've ever done before. As the league, I anticipate another season of record attendance. The last two seasons, post the work stoppage, have both had record attendance. Yes, there are always markets that are up and markets that are down, but we're still playing to 92% of capacity. Actually, season ticket sales were up compared to where we were last year at the same time. I think the core business is strong in that regard.

And I've said this previously. Our definition, our collective definition of struggling franchises, has changed dramatically. We used to worry about franchises struggling as they were on the verge or sometimes actually in bankruptcy. We don't have that any more.  We have some franchises whose fortunes can improve, whose attendance can improve. The fact of the matter is none of our franchises is in jeopardy in the way that they were a few years ago. All of our franchises have an opportunity to be economically stable and competitive at the same time. So I think over time you're going to see increased strengthening in our game.

There seems to be a quantum leap that's being made that we have this grand plan to put franchises on the continent here. And my response to that was, I'll never say never to anything but that's not anything that we're currently contemplating. Our first goal is to be as strong as possible in  North America.

North AmericaBut we are trying to be responsive to the fact, because we're in better shape than we've been, we're trying to be responsive to the interests of the game. You bring over a couple of regular-season games. You have a deal with NASN where we're putting on two or three games a week on television. We're having more of a presence, but we're not straying too far from what is our core foundation, and that's North America.

 Q. Why not be a leader? Instead of following, why not jump up and say, We are going to be the first North American professional league and most international to put a footprint in  Europe?

  Well, it's not a question of being a leader or a follower. I would suggest that by being here today we're being a leader in some respects. But it's not about being a leader; it's about doing what's right for your game and doing it on a timetable that makes sense. For us, as strong as we've come back, there are very few businesses that could be out of business for a year and come back as strong as we did.

We've got to make sure that our core - and our core is Canada and the United States - is as healthy and vibrant as we know it can be and will be over time as we continue to strengthen before we worry about, you know, throwing haste to the wind and saying, Oh, great, we're going to put a bunch of franchises in Europe. It's much more complicated than that both from our standpoint and as a follow-up to the last question dealing with the existing structures that are there.

Q. You mentioned earlier the league sold out the two games without any advertising, marketing or promotion. I've been here since Tuesday afternoon. I haven't met anyone outside this building who knows about these games.

Stern_2 It's interesting because depending on where you're staying and who you're interacting with depends on your experience. I'm getting a different reaction not from everybody but there are people telling me there's a real buzz about these games.

I think it may be just a question of who we're interacting with and who you have an opportunity to see. I don't know how much time you're actually spending outside of this building.

Q. Here is the thing. I've been here for four days. You've been here for two hours. I think I have a broader survey than you have.

Neither of them is probably scientific.

Q. With regards to the debriefing, will you ultimately consider the fact you're starting the season early and possibly doing that for the rest of the league so we can finish earlier than mid June?

There's always a very good debate in the league. A lot of the clubs actually want to start later because when it's still 80 degrees out, even in northern outposts of our game, people are saying, We shouldn't be in training camp in early September. We shouldn't start early October. We should wait till the middle of October. Baseball is getting ready for its playoffs. Football season is in full gait.

There are 30 teams playing at the beginning of the season and there are two at the end. I think more teams are concerned about getting a slightly later start as long as we're finishing by mid or the first third of June. That's the constant debate. Obviously for the two teams that are here, we let them start a little early because we want to give them an opportunity to readjust when they fly back and deal with jetlag.

But I think if you polled the clubs, I think more of them would tell you they'd rather see a slightly later start than early start. Frankly, if we start in September, we're going to be opening up training camps before Labor Day. I'm not sure the clubs or the players want that.

Q. Do the fans want it, is the question?

I don't think the fans do either. To answer your question a little more scientifically, our attendance tends to increase month by month. October is our weakest attendance. November gets stronger. December gets stronger. So the later we get into our season, the stronger our attendance gets. So I believe that's how the fans are responding.

Q. Is it time to start looking at the concept of having suspended players not play in pre-season games?

Yeah, I think as a general rule that probably makes a lot of sense. I think people are referring to (Chris) Simon. That was a little unique because there was a minimum number of games. We may have oversimplified his suspension because, for example, I think the math worked out if the Islanders had gone to the third round of the playoffs, depending on how long each series was, then the suspension would have been over.

I'm not a big fan of counting pre-season games in a suspension because sometimes that's not viewed as punishment. But in a typical suspension, probably it's better to have the player sitting out as well.

Simon was a unique circumstance based on the way that suspension was levied. But point is well-taken and understood and not one we disagree with.

World of Coke

TonymontanaATLANTA -- Spent part of my day walking around downtown Atlanta, taking in the sights as I am wont to do sometimes.

They have a nice aquarium here, and the Olympic park is always nice to visit on a beautiful day like today.

Someone told me I needed to visit the 'World of Coke' while I'm in town, and I declined. I'm not into that scene man. Plus, shouldn't that be in Miami? I mean we kind of made coke famous. I would like to go in and see if they have a Miami Vice or Scarface exhibit. But I don't know if it's worth it. I hear the Herald is about to start random drug testing, so I shouldn't be seen around the stuff.

On that note, on to the news:

-- It appears a couple of the youngsters are going to sit out tonight against the host Thrashers. I'm hearing Kreps and Globke will join me in the press box, with Anthony Stewart getting the last look. JM wouldn't confirm any of this of course, but with Zednik and Dvorak coming back, someone has to sit. And JM says don't read anything into who plays and who doesn't tonight. Says everyone has had an entire preseason to show what they can do.

-- The Thrashers are going young, with four rookies making the team. That's bad news for our buddy Joel Kwiatkowski, who was sent to the AHL Chicago Wolves (not the Blackhawks smart guy...)

-- Oh, that kind of Coke. Never mind...

-- Read yesterday that Sheriff Nick is plotting a comeback and wants his old gig back. Luther Campbell is smiling somewhere.

-- More Florida connections here on the road: The FAMU Rattlers are in town to play Texas State in the Atlanta Classic tomorrow at the Dome. If I would have known that, I would have stayed an extra day. Love the Marching 100...they are worth the price of admission. Halftime will be more exciting than the game.

-- Clemson is also in town, the Tigers battling the homestanding Yellow Jackets. Buzz, buzz...

Bert -- News around the league: Chris Pronger named captain of the Ducks. Apparently he just edged out Todd Bertuzzi in the voting. ... NHL Center Ice is going to be available on NHL.com this season. They tried this late last year and it was OK. Hope they worked out the kinks. I'll be subscribing for sure. ...

The NHL has suspended Philadelphia's Steve Downie for 20 games for his nasty, leave-the-ice hit of Ottawa's Dean McAmmond during a preseason game Monday.

Says Colin Campbell:   "Over the last several months, the League has met with players, coaches, general managers and owners on the subject of hits to the head. While all of the stakeholders in our League agree that hitting is an important part of the essence of the NHL game, all were also unanimous in the belief that where a player deliberately targets an opponent's head, the conduct should be subject to review and the possible assessment of supplemental discipline.''

September 27, 2007

Next Stop: Hotlanta

AtlantaThe Florida Panthers roadshow continues on after a brief respite at home, with the Cats en route to Atlanta for their preseason finale against the Thrashers on Friday night.

I'm currently sitting at the Delta gate in Fort Lauderdale, and decided I'm bored. So here's a post chock full o' nothin. Actually, there could be some good nuggets of info packed in here, but that decision is yours and yours alone.

-- Cats made two cuts today, sending D Martin Lojek and C Stefan Meyer to Rochester of the AHL.

-- Report out of practice today is that Rostislav Olesz's hand injury may be a little more serious than first thought. Word is he won't play in Atlanta, although he did make the trip and did practice.

-- Fans in Atlanta apparently don't think the Thrashers are going to be too dreadful, and truthfully, the southeast is wide open. The ATLs could be in the hunt, although I don't think they will. Too many question marks, not enough depth. Anywho, according to old pal John Manasso, the Thrash have exceeded last year's season ticket numbers. Manasso, former Thrash beat writer for the AJC, is now with the Atlanta Business Journal. His take:

With the season's start more than two weeks away, the Thrashers already have exceeded their 2006-07 season-ticket sales and, according to Lou DePaoli, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Atlanta Spirit LLC (which owns the Thrashers), the weeks during training camp and before the season's Oct. 5 start are the best time of year for ticket sales.

Atlanta Spirit CEO Bernie Mullin said the organization has sold 2,000 new full-season ticket equivalents -- a 64 percent increase over where the Thrashers were at the same point last year. (An example of a full-season equivalent would be two half-season plans that the team counts as one full-season package.)

"That's huge," Mullin said. " ... We'll have substantive growth. We're slowly but surely building to the levels where we'd like it to be."

Read the rest of the story here ATLANTA IS HOT BABY!

-- Blackhawks TV voice Eddie Olczyk picks Carolina to represent the East in the Stanley Cup Finals this year, adding he thinks Colorado is a final four team if its goaltending comes through. Eddie's Cup champ? The Ducks.

-- EA Sports played out the entire season through its NHL08 video game and came to the conclusion that San Jose would win the Cup, beating out Pittsburgh for the honors. The Florida Panthers? According to the video game, JM and the boys need not even show up this season. The video game has the Cats finishing 14th in the East, earning 83 points. The good news? Florida wins 17 road games this year. That's up from the 13 the Cats have won in each of the past two seasons.

Rangers, Ottawa and Carolina the divisional winners according to the gamers, Pitt, Bolts, Jersey, Toronto and Buffalo the other playoff teams in the east. In the west, divisional champs include Anaheim, Colorado and Detroit. Other playoff teams: San Jose, the Luongos, the Keenans, the Oil and Nashville. Computer says Edmonton goes from a miserable 2006-07 season to the west finals, where it loses to SJ. The Rangers lose to Pitt in the east.


-- So, G, what are your picks? Those will be reveled in our very special section that comes out Sunday. Hint: I like the Ducks and the Blueshirts.

-- "I don't care how long the flight is. This is a great game we play, and we want to show it to people here in England." -- Ducks GM Brian Burke on Anaheim's two-game set with the Kings (of Los Angeles) across the pond in London. Game 1 on Saturday, Game 2 Sunday. Both at noon, Sunday's game on Versus.

September 26, 2007

Atlanta's Birds of Prey

ThrasherDid you know the Brown Thrasher is the State Bird of Georgia?

You do now!

That's free information you don't get anywhere else, unless, of course, you type 'georgia thrasher' into Google. Then you get all kinds of stuff, including information on birds. Like the one pictured at left.

And tonight, Atlanta's Thrashers -- a professional hockey team -- invade Sunrise for an exhibition game against Florida's Panthers. Cat vs. Bird. Hmmm. Doesn't seem fair. Unless you saw these two play last year, that is.

Anyway, kickoff at 7:30; check back for updates. Larae is apparently singing The Anthem. Which is always a treat.


-- Warmups just complete, there seems to be more people inside the LAIM Center than yesterday against Chicago.

-- Speaking of Chicago, Marlins lead Cubbie Bears 1-0 with two on in B1....Somewhere Mr. Bartman cringes...

-- Yesterday, the team only had one Zamboni. Today? Two! Looks like Yellow Pages didn't renew their sponsorship because Zam2 is just yellow. That's right, no ads. Again, this will change.


-- Anthony Stewart getting into it 12 seconds in with the incorrigible Boris Valabik. He doesn't win his battle. Valabik didn't tie down the jersey, gets a game misconduct. Goodbye Mr. Valabik, we hardly knew thee....

-- Back to action, ATL on power play because Stewie is called for boarding...

-- Steve Goldstein has nothing to do tonight because the game isn't televised. So he's bothering the working media in the press box.

-- Ha! Working media....

-- Marlins 2-2 one out B2....According to FSN, Marlins have won eight straight against the Cubbies. I know Mitch and Kenny wouldn't lie about such things...

-- FYI: Bryan Allen the healthy defensive scratch tonight.

-- Olli is the captain; Bo and Weiss wearing the A. Take off, A.

-- 4-2 Marlins; Panthers/Birds still scoreless...

-- Joel Kwiatkowski, fighting for a roster spot with the ATLs, on the ice. Good luck to Kiwi...

-- Icing. It was brought to us by Coke Zero. Or something like that.

-- Horton big shot off the pads of Lehtonen...midway through the first, scoreless still...

-- Vokoun makes his sixth save of the night...yes, still scoreless...

-- Kiwi to the box for 2; FLA power play w/ 4:41 left...

-- One shot on the PP..

-- ATL back on the PP thanks to a Campbell penalty...roughing on Soup...rough soup? send it back!

-- Cubbies coming back on the fightin' fish...tied @ 4, T4...


-- Soup and Jordan Lavallee-Smotherman (of the St. Louis Lavallee-Smotherman's) throw down moments after Cory Murphy drops JL-S in the circle.

-- Yup, still scoreless..

-- I know its only preseason, but Vokoun looks pretty good. Has made some nice saves.

Jake -- The Panthers won't have to look far for a new broadcaster once Goldie hits the bricks. Jake Goldstein, 5, has been offering his brand of calling a game here in the second. The kid's got it down pat. Steve might start feeling the heat in a few years...

-- Been a parade to the penalty box. Salei the latest to head in. ATL on PP w/ 4:52 left in the second.

-- And still scoreless, thanks for asking...


-- Ever notice that, save for the Braves, all of Atlanta's pro teams are named after birds? If you count the Hawks as a pro team, that is...



-- Panthers have nine penalties through two periods of play. ... ATL outshooting the Panthers 26-17...

-- ESPN.com's E.J. Hradek has the Panthers winning the SE division; teammate Scott Burnside has the Cats finishing fifth in the divisional race. So, ESPN.com has the Panthers finishing third officially?

-- Back to game action here in Sunrise, the City of Progress...

-- Mezei inadvertently takes out ATLs Pascal Dupuis. Four minutes for Branislav...



-- New this year: The redline at LAIM Center has pawprints as the cutouts. This I cannot make up. Feel like I'm in Clemson, S.C.


-- Rob Globke playing well again tonight...making his presence known...

-- In other news, Marlins beating Cubbie Birds 7-4, B8

-- Hey, whaddaya know? ATL on the PP, Stefan Meyer in the box this time around...FLA's 12th penalty..

-- Globke just made a great play on the PK, didn't finish, but again...Rob Globke standing out...

-- And, FLA on PP....I think they forgot what that feels like...

-- Congrats to Deborah and Anthony on their engagement (it was just on the jumbotron). Don't know either of them, but feel good for them anyway...

-- McLean off the post...and a nice save by Lehtonen...This one's going into the books as an L folks (geez, I sound just like Brent Musberger)...

-- Will take this time to inform everyone that there probably won't be a post here tomorrow. Running errands and traveling to Atlanta. Hope to visit all the sites; the Georgia Aquarium, the King Center, Hard Rock, Olympic Park, Hooters, etc...

-- Nice little preseason fisticuffs in front of the FLA penalty box...fitting, actually...punches thrown, no whistle blown...






Party Time Panther

PartypantherIf you can't make it to Opening Night (Oct. 4) in New York, the Panthers will hold their official watch party at the Original Steak House and Sports Theater in Coral Springs (not the one in Plantation, although I love going over to Schnellies to watch the games. If you decide to watch the Rangers' game there, tell them G sent ya).

The dancers, mascot, friends of the program will all be there. Assuming food and drink specials as well. Not sure though. Might be worth checking out. Then again, might not. Your call.

-- According to things I've seen, Trina on Fort Lauderdale beach is the official Friday night party place. Says after Friday night games players and such will be gathering there. It's inside the Atlantic Hotel just south of Sunrise on A1A. Nice joint, but don't go in there bummin' around.

-- And then there's the Unofficial Postgame Joint: Quarterdeck Seafood Grille on the corner of Flamingo and Sunrise, just two minutes from the arena. Good people, good times. And they have the NHL Center Ice again this year (and better televisions). Also have the baseball package in case your Indians are playing on the west coast.

Like tonight.

Say it ain't so, Lou

CenturyvillageIt's not scheduled to happen anytime soon, but Roberto Luongo is getting his opinion out there early.

If the NHL plans to make the nets bigger to improve scoring, he's out. Finished. Gone fishin.

In a conference call with NHL writers, Luongo said goalies need more protection not less. And when asked what he thought about bigger nets, he predictably was against such change.

"If that day comes,'' he said, "I don't think you guys will be seeing me in the NHL."

Really Louie?

"I have no intentions of playing with bigger nets.''

So there you go.

At least South Florida would get him back.

Vinnylecav -- Tampa's Vinny Lecavalier was on one of these conference calls and was big on defending his conference. With two of the past three Cup champs coming from the Southeast, it's not like he needed to do much.

"I think from '98, where people thought it was a weak division, to now, I think it's a great division,'' Vinny the Cavalier said. "They get better every year. I think it's going to be a battle this year. Atlanta won it last year. But there are teams like Washington with Ovechkin, and Carolina we know is going to have a good year this year because they won the Cup and last year didn't go as well for them. We know they'll be ready. I think it's just a great rivalry. When you play teams eight times during the year, it definitely builds that rivalry and makes it tough to win the division. But I think it's a great division. It's getting better every year.

"For hockey in Tampa, I think obviously winning the Cup was pretty big. But it really started before that. When I first got in the league in '98, it was great, but there wasn't that many people at the games. Now it's pretty much sold out every single game and people are excited about the starting of the season. I think it really started the first time we played the playoffs, people really saw what type of team we were. They're very supportive. I think every year it's getting bigger in Tampa, for sure.''

Someone also asked him about playing the best defensemen every night. He brought up Jay Bouwmeester and Bryan Allen as examples.

"It's definitely tough. I mean, when you play against -- there's some pretty big defensemen out there. Pretty tall guys, 6-5, 6-6. You look in our division with Florida Panthers, when you have Allen and Bouwmeester, two really tall guys that can skate, they're very mobile, it's tough, it really is. You have to go through that.

"You have to be maybe more physical or play more simple, put the puck behind them instead of trying to deke them or something like that because it's probably not going to work. So play simple, try to do some two-on-ones against them.''

Bet On It

Peterose_2If you like hockey, or just like betting on hockey (or just like betting on things period), this post is for you!

Bodog.com has out its latest NHL lines, and no surprise here, but the Ducks are the favorite to repeat as Stanley Cup champs. The only surprise: The line. You can get the Ducks at 4-to-1. That ain't too bad.

The Panthers? 40-to-1 to win it all, just better than the Caps, Bruins, Isles of Capri, Oilers, Dogs and Hawks.

You can also bet on your favorite team to win the east or west title (depending on which conference said favorite team plays in. So you can't bet on the Panthers to win the west, unless you make a big stink. Then I'm sure they will take your money.)

Other things you can bet on: Odds to win the MVP (Sid the Kid is a virtual steal at 3/1), Vezina (Roberto the favorite at 11/2, Vokoun at 10/1) and Norris (Lidstrom at 4/1).

Now, I'm sure all of this is for entertainment purposes only.

-- If you actually make some money betting on hockey, perhaps you can deposit it at BankAtlantic. Come Saturday, the bank opens a branch in Inverrary (nice golf course) on Oakland Park Blvd. in Lauderhill by the Sea. To celebrate the grand opening, Stephen Weiss and Brett McLean will serve as special celebrity tellers from 2-4 on Saturday.

If I'm Weiss and Brett, I work the drive-thru. You can stall, take your time -- maybe flirt with some of the good looking tellers -- and no one will complain. Why? Because they are in their car, too lazy to come into the lobby and speak with a manager.

And if you do make a deposit, please don't forget your deposit slip. Tellers really don't like making one for you. Sometimes they get surly. And yell. And make fun of your balance. And ask you to please, please, take your business elsewhere. Like Bank of America. Or a credit union. Just leave.

-- Speaking of the Panthers, JM says Olesz's hand injury isn't serious (Olesz practiced today) and he should play Friday at Atlanta.

-- Vokoun in net tonight, expect him to go the whole way.

-- Speaking of fun, XM Radio says it's going to carry every game this season. They are boosting their play-by-play channels from six to nine so every game gets to be on.

September 25, 2007

Toro Means Bull

TorosThose who think the Miami Toros are just a defunct pro soccer team have never been so wrong.

So wrong.

No, the Miami Toros are now a junior league team that plays in Kendall. Supposedly pretty good, too.

So, if you're a hockey fan living in southern Dade County, you may want to give the Toros a chance. They open their season Saturday night at 7:30 against the hated Fort Myers Eels. Home games are played at Kendall Ice Arena and tickets start at $5.

Not too shabby.

For more info, check out their website at:


LAIM is the Name

LaimcenterIn case you haven't heard, the Panthers say they are going to tone down the in-house ads during games, going to consolidate advertisers. Of course, that must mean having three different financial institutions represented somewhere in the arena.

But I digress. I'm going to give the SSE people the benefit of the doubt. That doesn't mean I won't be paying attention. Today the Panthers play host to Chicago in the first preseason game of the season. While there will be changes to the in-house production once Opening Night gets here, we should have a good feel for how things are going to go.

So here is my take on things from the newly branded LessAdsIsMore (LAIM) Center somewhere near Plantation.

-- Checking out the ads here at LAIM Center and noticed there are three banking institutions vying for your business. There is, of course, the bank that sponsors the arena; then there is NationalCity, a bank popular in the midwest and an official sponsor of your Cleveland Browns; and also, for those who like credit unions -- or even Credit Union Centres -- there is the Eastern Financial District. Sounds like some conflicting interests there.

-- The dumb Celine Dion banner remains hanging in the rafters, yet still no state of Florida flag to represent the, drum roll, FLORIDA Panthers. Send in the canoes.

-- Time to update the NHL banners too. Of the 30 teams represented, six of the logos are outdated -- although a few (Boston, TBay) only slightly. Some (Ducks, Sabres, Coyotes) obviously.

-- Spirit Airlines has a new logo, looks a lot like the new/retro Washington Capitals logo. Actually, Spirit's logo should be a long, long line of people trying to check in/check bags.

-- Hyundai is a new sponsor this year, replace the ToyotaThon folks. I always liked when Hyundai sponsored the TNT basketball postgame and made Charles Barkley wedge himself into the backseat of a Sonata. Good stuff.

-- Speaking of sponsors, it looks like the Miami Herald is back for another year. That has nothing to do with me and has nothing to do with how we cover this team and/or organization. Believe that. That's a marketing move, plain and simple.

-- One of the skits shows Stanley C. Panther called into his boss' office and being told he'll be fired if he doesn't take show up to all of his many appearences. That's pretty funny since the Panthers really did fire the dude who has been Stanley the past decade (and it wasn't because he didn't make all his appearences. He apparently made too much money.) The new Stanley seems OK, haven't seen him/her skate yet (don't know if he/she knows how too).

-- Early in the second period and I must say the ads do indeed seem to have been toned down. A lot more music and such in between breaks, not just commercials. Enjoying it.

-- Again, this could all change in a hurry come Oct. 6.

Sweet Home (versus Chicago)....

BluesbrothersNo, Joliet Jake and the Cubbies aren't in town (actually, the Cubbies are...) but it's Chicago Day here at the LessAdsIsMore* Center in beautiful north Davie.

Big news: Few fans are expected because of the public school snafu (kids can't take field trips on testing days apparently) so this noon start has been retooled into a 'business person's special.'

I think the Panthers should have just called it Chicago Day and been done with it. Have Derrek Lee drop the first puck, bring out Carlos Zambrano and maybe even fly in Ryne Sandberg. Going to be a lot of soggy Cubs fans at JRS tonight, many of whom might have enjoyed a cold one (and a beer too.)

Since today's game isn't on television -- actually, it's being broadcast in the Chicagoland area if you can believe that -- I will give my thoughts as the game goes on. Updates as they become available.

(*) LessAdsIsMore (LAIM) Center is the new nickname for the previously known CorporateSponsorship Arena (CSA).

-- Will have a head count for you momentarily. Right now there are 15 people in the press box, which is about half of what is downstairs in the arena proper. This is going to be one brutal, Marlinesque, crowd.

-- The upper deck is empty. Because the staff has closed it. Good move, there wasn't anyone up there anyway.

-- Panthers have had plenty of scoring opportunities but haven't been able to close the deal. Outshooting Hawks 8-3 currently (5:55 left in first).

-- Playing on Line 4: Globke, Campbell and Kreps.


-- Maroon 5 coming to Arena in October.

-- Craig Anderson finally gives up a goal; PATRICK SHARP -- FLA 1, CHI 1 w/ 4:09 left; power play goal FWI...

-- Horton just picks up a double minor for high sticking at 16:34...


-- Message board extolling fans to 'Get Loud!' Three fans yell in unison.

-- CHI power play ends

-- Mezei with a nice scoring chance....

-- FLA on the PP...

-- Weiss shot smothered (and covered) by Khabibulin...


-- PP is over; gone like the wind on a summer's day...

-- CHI now on the PP..

-- FLA now on the PP.. (cut, paste, repeat)...


-- Speaking of the Gators, have to feel bad for old Rex Grossman. Dude is getting killed in ChiTown these days. Might just be time for a change of scenery. He's obviously not the guy for that job -- there anyway -- anymore.

-- Trivia Time! One of Chicago's broadcasters is Eddie Olczyk; What's his coaching claim to fame?

-- Cats outshooting Chicago Fire 17-8...8:05 left in the second...

-- Mike Van Ryn playing with Noah Welch...

-- FLA on power play again...

-- Lou Piniella takes a shot for CHI; blocked. He's arguing with the refs right now. Looks like he's getting ejected...

-- Trivia Answer: Olcyzk was Sidney Crosby's first pro coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins way back in 2005.

-- Some places have Select-A-Seat day; Today is Select-a-Section day. For one low price, you too can have 127, most of 125, all of 111 and most of 108 for a good price! Call 1-800-WE-AINT-PLAYING-A-GAME-AT-NOON-AGAIN for prices.

-- Marlins prez David Sampson just told Michael Yormark "if you think this crowd is bad, imagine if you played the Nationals?"

-- Speaking of Yormark, lonelier job: Being a ticket taker at today's Panther game or driver of the Charlie Weis bandwagon?


-- It's Hockey Night Tonight and the puck goes down the ice. Is this the greatest game you can name or what?

-- Ozzie Guillen just blasted the Panthers during the second break, telling them they've quit on him.

-- Great Ad: Olli, Horton and Mike Van Ryn ordering stuff at Panera Bread. Classic. Van Ryn checks the clerk after Olli orders an Italian Combo. So bad it's good (the ad, not the Italian Combo. I'll reserve my snarky comments for Miami Subs.)

-- Song 'Suicidal' now playing over the PA system. Nice.

-- Panthers have 23 shots; that's a number that rings special to Chicago basketball fans because Nate Salley once wore it there.

-- FLA back on the power play. Thanks to hooking (no snickering, please)...


-- With Olesz out (hear it's his hand), Booth is up on the second line w/ Weiss and Horton...

-- Steve and Edy, Jackie Mason among those coming to the LAIM Center this coming year. Get your tickets early...

-- Checkers is back as a sponsor. Their motto: You Gotta Eat. My answer to that: Not there I don't.

-- Hooters also returns. The owl place known for its wings. So I'm told...


-- EXCLUSIVE FROM SUNRISE: Olli is going to be one of the top three stars of the game...





September 20, 2007

It's GameDay -- In Chicago and Miami

Smoke2CHICAGO -- Got the Miami Hurricanes on one television and about ready to watch the Blackhawks/Panthers here at Chicago Stadium II.

Game is underway here in Chicago.

Away we go....

-- Canes lead Aggies 7-0 in the second...

-- Blackhawsk on powerplay just a minute in...

-- Craig Anderson in goal against his old mates..JM says he's playing the entire game.

-- Zednik in lineup for the first time since suffering a bruised back Sunday in Calgary. MVR still out.

-- Power play killed off....16:07 left in first, we're scoreless in Chicago -- the Second City...

-- Had lunch at a place called the Billy Goat. Was hoping they actually served goat, but alas, only burgers. Or, as Dan Aykroyd would say "cheezboigahs"...and they don't have Pepsi, just Coke.

-- Touchdown, Miami...14-0....

-- Oh, and Panthers were on the power play...I say were because I missed it. Miami did score though...

-- Panthers back on the power play...Texas AM with the ball...Lou Holtz still lisping...

-- Hooking penalty on CHI, PAnthers going on the 5-on-3 for a whopping 1:17....

-- Canes driving...

-- Murph the Surf with a big shot; save CHI...

-- Zednik getting extended time on the PP...Olli too...

-- Canes miss chipshot FG....

-- PP over for the Panthers, get a couple of chances...FLA 0/3 on PP

-- It looks like a Marlins game in here....this is one empty barn...

-- Touchdown Miami....it's Oklahoma in reverse...

-- Panthers outshooting the Hawks but looking a little listless. I think everyone is ready to come home. This has been one heck of a long trip. I've spent just a little too much time with Steve Y and Brian X let me tell ya...

-- Actually they are pretty cool guys. Except for Brian.

-- And Steve.

-- Weather has been beautiful here in Chicago. I haven't had a chance to enjoy it, but I've heard it was nice. Just hoping it's like this when we return in December.

Cold -- FLA back on power play w/ 4:13 left

-- Anthony Stewart with a big shot...got robbed...nice save by Corey Crawford

-- And another..

-- Goldie just checked in...wishes everyone well and says he's enjoying the Canes game...

-- Craig Anderson finally makes a save...with 1:15 left in the first....Hawks have a whopping two shots as we head to the first intermission....



-- According to scoreboard, Arlo is celebrating his 21st birthday. Good for Arlo! Wasn't that a show on HBO?

-- See you later, going to listen to Lou Holtz and Mark May on ESPN.

-- After typing that, decided to stay right where I am. My ears have been through enough lately. Don't need to subject them to that...

-- Thanks for the comment Chaos...but I edited you bub....no need for namecalling...

-- Speaking of names, was relayed a funny story that I haven't been able to confirm. Involves Ed Belfour and a van driver in Vail. Been told Eddie and the driver got into an argument (shocking!) and the van guy apparently called the cops. Nothing came of it, of course...just another day in the life of Eagle. In Eagle.

-- Mike Van Ryn hanging outside his locker room....sends his best...

-- Speaking of Chicago, shoutout to Chicago Robb. He's my new brother-in-law. And he's from Chicago.

-- If you like Chicago-style pizza, you have to check out the Flickerlight on AIA in Hollywood (just north of Hollywood Blvd. and next to LeTub -- another classic)....For Chicago dogs, visit Hot Dog Heaven in Fort Lauderdale (Sunrise and Andrews) and Fat Lous on Hallandale Beach Blvd. just east of I-95. Good stuff.

-- Hawks look like a different bunch in the second...six shots in the first four minutes, three really good scoring chances...no chances in the first...this team still stinks.

-- Patrick Kane not in the lineup for CHI, neither is Jon Toews...both those guys are going to be good. so there is some hope here in ChiTown...

-- Anderson making some nice plays...got to feel pretty good about having him as the backup...

-- Team is back in SoFla late tonight/early tomorrow. Day off Friday, but a pair of practices at the Tamarac arena. Don't know if they are open to the public, but they should be.

-- Bryan Allen just got put through the glass on a check by David Koci....glass thrown into the first row....nice...

-- Erin Andrews at the Orange Bowl, doing a good job as usual. She's kind of like the Beast, being that she's a sideline reporter and all....

-- While you digest that last one, game back on.

-- Nice glass!

-- Panthers on the PP...0/4 tonight...



-- Chris Fowler just said it feels like old times at the Orange Bowl. Yes, it does.

-- Lakeland High leading Boyd Anderson 30-0...

-- Chicago had a nice crowd of youngsters at its skate today. The Special Olympics was using the inner bowl of the arena for various things, so when the kids weren't doing things, they came into the lower bowl and watched the skate. Seemed like everyone had a blast. A lot of the kids stayed around to watch the Panthers too. It was a nice environment. Good for the Hawks.

-- stats from the second period in Chicago: Hawks outshoot Cats 23-5 in the period, lead 25-13 overall...Stewart has 3 shots to lead FLA; Weiss and Olli with 2 each...

-- Good to hear Ken Dorsey -- Mr. Cleveland Brown -- calling into the ESPN booth tonight...

-- Midway through the third, still scoreless...you all ain't missing anything tonight...

-- FINALLY A SCORE! Stephen Weiss with 7:05 left, comes down low, top shelf from the slot -- FLA 1, CHI 0

-- Canes win, the Canes win....Miami 34, Texas AM (sorry Seth) 17....

-- Also of importance: Cooper City 52, Coral Springs (sorry Mike) 27...The Coop is 3-0....


Thanks for visiting our fourth and final game blog of the week. Hope you learned something, but most of all, had fun. Remember, there are no losers here. Except for me.

Drive home safely folks...see you Tuesday from BankAtlantic Center somewhere near Plantation.

September 19, 2007

Back to Jr.

DalejrCHICAGO -- Been flying all day trying to get to the Big Apple from Saskatoon. Not easy, you can bet.

According to the Panthers, not a whole lot going on. The team practiced at the University of Saskatchewan today, and as of 3:45 Miami time, they were in the air -- in their Miami Heat jumbo jet -- heading to Chicago.

Four players, however, didn't make the trip to Wrigleyville.

As expected, Shawn Matthias, Michal Repik, Michael Frolik and Keaton Ellerby were released back to their junior teams. There was a thought some of these players (especially Frolik and Matthias) might have been allowed to stick around longer, maybe make it all the way back to South Florida. But in the end, JM decided it was better for them to return to juniors and begin dominating play at that level instead of fighting for time with the big boys.

Good experience for them all, and since all four are 19, camp will be a little different next year since going back to juniors isn't going to be an option.

-- Just in case you hadn't heard, Craig Anderson starts tomorrow night against the Blackhawks at Chicago Stadium II.

September 18, 2007

Game On, Part III

ErnieSASKATOON, Saskatchewan -- Looks like were doing this again.

Live from the Credit Union Centre it's hockey night on the plains!

PS: don't have the name of THE credit union that sponsored the Centre, so don't ask. Might be the old Eastern Airlines CU or maybe even the Publix CU for all I know. I doubt it's the Miami Herald CU since we were taken over by another company  and now have a different name.

-- Full crowd here in Saskatoon (from now on: The Toon) as this is the first NHL preseason game played here in more than 10 years. So I'm told.

-- Sitting behind the net reminds me of games at Madison Square Garden.

-- OK, more like San Juan, Puerto Rico.

EDIT -- McElhinney in net for the Flames. He didn't play Sunday because he got hurt in warmups. Looks fine tonight.

-- Rumor is, Jamie 'Noodles' McLennan is waiting in the wings to return to the Flames. He won't be in Russia this year.

-- Lots of speeches prior to tonight's game. The players are tiring already.

-- Bo is wearing the C again tonight.

-- There are ads everywhere in this place. There has to be at least 20 logos on the ice alone.

-- The Panthers feel right at home.

-- Nice touch: Playing Hockey Tonight over the loudspeakers.

-- Former Florida captain Brian Skrudland is from here, and played for the junior Blades. Has his No. 10 hanging from the rafters.

-- Harvey the Hound made the trek over from Calgary. I'm going to try and grab his tongue.

-- 'Dueling Banjos' from Deliverance also played during one stoppage in play. Feel like I'm back in Bama.

-- Olesz gets first penalty. No popcorn for him.

-- Speaking of penalties, heard O.J. Simpson is back in the news. Wonder why he hasn't been doing more acting? I thought he was great in the Naked Gun trilogy.

-- Heard Atlanta finally signed Byron Leftwich. Seriously, what was the holdup there? Were they thinking Joey Harrington was magically going to get better?

-- Tribe gets two homers in the sixth, score three and lead the Tigers 7-4 in top of the seventh.

-- Kreps gets called for hooking. Sad a young man has to resort to such a thing....

-- Martin Tuma in box for Panthers..we're at the midway point of the first. Still SCORELESS...

-- MAILBAG TIME! Justin writes: These penalties the Panthers are taking is getting ridiculous...this will become a serious problem once the season starts. G: I agree although exhibition games are notorious for having a lot of penalties called.

-- CALGARY SCORES...1-0 off slapshot from right circle courtesy of Daymond Langkow...Huselius in lineup, picks up a point against his former mates...power play goal....

-- Harvey the Hound: No Stanley C, but one of the better mascots in the game. Top 20 in all of sports.

-- Some dude spray painted himself orange (no one told him the Flames' colors include red but NOT orange). Someone also should have told him to keep his shirt on. And this is coming from someone who knows better....

-- Vokoun looks fine...has made a couple of nice saves, and appeared to be screened on the last shot. I'm kind of far away from the play...

-- Hey, 5-on-5 hockey! Cool....

-- 3:22 left in first period -- still 1-0 FLAMES

-- Playing 'Country Boy' by John Denver. Also the 7th inning stretch song at Camden Yards. Betcha didn't know that.

-- Have a little dustup at the end of the first, but nothing serious.



-- Shots on goal through 1: FLA 9, CAL 9

-- More from The Toon after these messages!

-- Right outside my booth, a concession stand with the sign: Sausage on a Bun.

-- You know I bought one. Right tasty with mustard, jalapenos and pickles.

-- Indians beat Tigers again. Thought everyone wanted to know.

-- I don't feel so good....Tums

-- Panthers goal -- Mr. Popcorn Rostislav Olesz charges in, puts puck five hole.  OLESZ, shorthanded at 4:22...FLA 1, CAL 1

-- Bo: The Welch rumors were started by one guy, the same guy who usually starts these rumors. There is no truth to them, I said that last week when I first read them...

-- Of course Bob Mac wrote that last week too...

-- Vokoun makes a nice save...and it looks like he's staying in....10:48 left in second, still 1-1

-- Another nice save, and here comes Tyler Plante....9:20 left in the second, your Florida Panthers 1, Calgary 1....Be right back!

-- Tanner Glass just threw down with David Vanwhatever....Glass with the takedown. Panthers win that one...

-- Plante gives up first shot he sees...Grant Stevenson with the goal....8:55 left in the second, CAL 2, FLA 1..

-- PanthersRock: No on popcorn as a nickname for Rusty; Sausage on Bun very good down by Miami Arena/Orange Bowl although its no whatever-on-a-stick; the doughnut thing sounds awful sticky. and awful...

-- PANTHERS SCORE.... Martin Tuma with the nice goal...   7:26 left, FLA 2, CAL 2

-- Campbell and Langkow wanted to go, refs said no. Darned refs.

-- 5:11 left in second, still 2-2....

-- Campbell goes with Cory Sarich. Decision to the Flames....

-- Plante just made a nice save near the end of the period.


-- Jarome Iginla just went breakaway and stuffed by Plante. A face-plante if you will.

-- Love the Chicken Dance.

Little Town on the Prairie

PrairieSASKATOON, Saskatchewan -- Talk about a town that's excited about it's hockey. The town of Saskatoon has said it will not roll up its sidewalks until 11 p.m. tonight instead of the usual 9:30.

Yes, people are that excited about having the NHL visiting this charming burg. It's a rarity, an NHL game here, although there had been talk of a team moving here back in the day. Sorry guys, I like this town, the people are great, but it's not a major-league sports town. Just too small.

Anyway, there is a passion for hockey here, and if that was enough I could see a team moving here. But loving a sport isn't always enough, although selling 11,000 tickets to an exhibition game a long time before the game was scheduled to start says something about the passion. I'm looking forward to seeing the atmosphere, looking forward to seeing folks who love this game so much get to see the best players perform on their ice.

-- Tomas Vokoun back in net tonight, the third straight night he gets the start. JM says he's only playing the first 30 minutes. David Shantz in the bullpen ready to close. Craig Anderson and Shantz/Plante Thursday in Chicago.

-- Bryan Allen out for a third straight night, JM saying his surgically repaired knee the reason. He might get cleared to play Thursday. Mike Van Ryn (groin) didn't practice today, doubtful for Thursday. Olli Jokinen (no injury) among the notables not going tonight. Richard Zednik (back) also not going. Rostislav Olesz is playing, so I guess I have to get my own popcorn tonight.

-- Some of the things the NHL Board of Governors may discuss at their meeting in Chicago include revamping the schedule and potential for expansion. Las Vegas is being mentioned (a columnist in Saskatoon said the NHL was looking at Louisiana and New Hampshire as possible expansion sites. Yeah, first time I have heard that. And Kansas City is in Missouri, not Kansas.)

Seriously, the league needs to expand to Vegas. Now. If they hurry, they could have a team there by the weekend.

September 17, 2007

Game On, Part Deux (Updates through the Night -- Unless I get Bored)

Ghostbusters EDMONTON, Alberta -- The Panthers trail for the first time this preseason, as Edmonton's Ethan Moreau blasted a slapper past Tomas Vokoun 42 seconds into the contest.

Florida's hope to having a full preseason without giving up a goal is now gone.

Sad times indeed.

-- Rob Globke gets the first penalty of the night, interference at 1:38...

-- Noah Welch gets the second; EDM on 5-on-3 for :35...

-- Edmonton 2-0; power play goal by Kyle Brodziak. He pushed loose puck past Vokoun. Three shots, two goals. Not bad, eh?

-- I picked up a new Edmonton Oil Kings cap at the team shop. It's sweet. Red and gold, very old-school.

-- Make it 3-0 Oilers...Kyle Brodziak scores again, this time at 7:24. Marty Reasoner now has three assists. Five shots, three goals.

-- Are the Marlins playing?

-- Florida gets a scoring chance, 2006 playoff hero Dwayne Roloson smothers shot.

-- Panthers on power play; Ales Hemsky caught hooking (which I think is legal in Las Vegas) at 11:15.

-- Marlins losing to Atlanta, 10-4, top of the 8th.

-- More importantly, Indians losing to Tigers 5-2 B8...

-- Panthers on second power play; Dick Tarnstrom (sounds like a politician) called for the old high stick at 13:34.

-- Still 3-0 Oil, still first period.

-- Where's Ed Belfour?

-- Youngster Shawn Matthias looking a little physical. Been crashing the net, making some contact.

-- Panthers on third PP: Bryan Young gets called for cross checking (that happened to me at the airport the other day but there was no penalty called.)

-- Tribe ties it! 5-5 in the 8th...Peralta with a two-run shot...

-- Panthers outshooting Oil 17-7. Nothing to show for it so far.

-- Also, haven't been able to find Diet Dr. Pepper since I've crossed over into Canada. What's the story there?

-- In game answers -- Alex writes: is vokoun playing poorly or is it an inexperienced defense showing....or both?

Little of both. Vokoun didn't seem to play any of those three goals well and didn't get much help up front. The first goal was from point blank (not Grosse Point Blank).

From Justin: what is going on with Vokoun??? G: He's played better since he's settled in. Still, only faced seven shots (17 total this preseason for those of you keeping track in the comfort of your home. Are you too good for your home?)

-- And the Panthers score! Michal Frolik knocks in a pass from Edmonton's own Jay Bouwmeester. 3-1 with 23.3 seconds left.

-- Marlins have closed gap to 11-6 in Atlanta. Everyone's doin' the Fish. Yeah? Yeah? Yeah?

-- Oilers having a Tickets for Troops game when the Blackhawks come to town. Deal is, season ticket holders donate tickets so Canadian military can attend game. Sounds like a cool idea, one the Panthers might want to look into.

-- Holy Jokinen: keep me up with McArdle please. G: He has looked OK, definitely holding his own. He ain't making this team tho, not just yet. And that's no knock on him.

-- The real Olli Jokinen just cross checked me as I sat in the press box during the intermission. Again, no penalty called.

-- Cleveland has runner at second, one out...

-- Brian X wants everyone to know he's not blogging tonight. Lazy? I think so. Actually, he's having computer issues. Internet here doesn't like Apple laptops from Palm Beach County apparently.

-- Panthers open second in a flash; Brett McLean with some fancy stickwork to beat Roloson...10 seconds in and its 3-2...

-- Rostislav Olesz and Jozef Stumpel just stopped by. They send their best.

-- Holy Jokinen: oh.. and tell Olli 1 goal and 1 assist isn't good enough. especially after only 4 months or so of no games......Done. He ain't happy with you. Says give him his name back.

-- Bonus baseball in C-Town. Tigers/Indians going to 10th...

-- Stephen Weiss called for holding. 10 yards from the spot of the infraction, repeat first down.

-- Bravos beat Marlins 11-6. There goes the season.

Elaine -- Midway through the second (9:35 left) and Vokoun still in net. Guess he's only faced nine shots so JM is leaving him out there for more work. Edmonton changes goalies, however, Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers (his mom Julia Drouin-Deslauriers played Elaine on Seinfeld).

-- Globke gets rough! Goes to Oiler bench, grabs a player by the neck and gets things going. Matthias continues to play not-so-nice with others. Kid is trying to make an impression (relax bro, Jacques is a fan....)

-- Edmonton makes it 4-2 with 34.4 left in the second. Sam (Don't Call me Dave) Gagner goes top shelf (where they keep the good stuff) on Vokoun. That was shot Number 11. Dave Gagner, as you may recall, used to play for the Panthers. And he's Sam's Dad. Wonder if he shops at Sam's Club?

-- Rostislav just brought over some popcorn. Not too buttery, not too salty. Just plain good. Thanks Rusty!Olesz_2

Popcorn-- Can't get Diet Dr. Pepper, but they do have this ginger-based soda here. Pretty good. Called 'Canada Dry.' Don't think you can get it in the states. Will check when I get home.

-- YESSSSSSSS! The Indians win, the Indians win! The Erie Warriors now up 5 1/2 on las tigres...Casey Blake homer to left in bottom of 11.

-- Vokoun in net for start of third. In case your scoring at home, he has nine saves on 13 shots. And good for you.

-- Shorthanded goal for the Oil. It's 5-2. Tim Sestito (nickname: Party Pizza) from the slot. It's getting ugly in here.

-- Panthers "power" play now over. Shots on goal: ED 1, FLA 0.

-- Seems to be some confussion over the Florida lineup tonight. So here you go: Vokoun, Shantz, Mezei, Bouwmeester, Weiss, Campbell, Horton, Dvorak, Welch, Collins, Matthias, MacDonald, Booth, Larman, Globke, McLean, Henry, Frolik, McArdle, Salei.

-- Welch just tripped up Vokoun. Not his fault though, didn't see him.

-- Globke scores at 7:54; crashed in from right side. EDM 5, FLA 3 12:06 remaining.

-- Best name in junior hockey: The Kootenay Ice. Any discussion on this?

-- Welch just got squeezed into the Tim Hortons sign. Guess he likes juice with his Dutchie...

-- Campbell just knocks in puck off a rebound; ED 5, FLA 4 with 8:52 remaining.

-- Nathan Horton gets called for interference, then 20 seconds later Welch gets called for the hook. 5-on-3 for Oilers for a whopping 1:40.

-- Killed off (just like Henry Blake in MASH)....

-- Panthers call timeout. It's 30 seconds. 1:05 left, it's still EDM 5, FLA 4




The Great Edmonton

GretzkyEDMONTON, Alberta -- Greetings and Salutations from Canada's City of Champions, the home of the Oilers, the Eskimos, and once more, the junior league Oil Kings.

Quick update on the Florida Panthers, who play the host Oilers tonight at the Northwoods Coliseum.

-- Richard Zednik, whose ugly crash into the boards after scoring a sweet short-handed goal, seems OK. Zednik iced his bruised back and practiced during the afternoon skate.

-- David Brine, who is a candidate to start at Rochester, was flown back to the South Florida to be looked at team medical personnel after injuring a thumb in Monday's 3-0 victory at Calgary.

-- Mike Van Ryn says he slightly pulled his groin and will not play tonight. Van Ryn says its nothing serious, but there's no reason for him to further risk injury in a meaningless exhibition.

-- It looks like Tomas Vokoun gets the start in goal tonight, and JM says backup David Shantz may or may not get a chance to play (I think he plays in the third at least). JM says his main concern is getting his two goalies (Vokoun and Craig Anderson) work in the preseason. Anderson will start Thursday's game in Chicago. Anderson was acquired from the Blackhawks in a draftday trade last summer.

-- Part of Florida's off-ice workout Monday included sprinting the steps at Edmonton's football stadium.

-- Updates to come tonight off the game.