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Garrison Signs, Olli Scores

GarrisonThe University of Minnesota-Duluth lost one of its top hockey players on Tuesday as Jason "Bob" Garrison signed a two-year deal with the Florida Panthers.

Don't think Garrison should spend too much money on sunblock, though, what with the winters in Rochester being what they are and all.

In all seriousness, Garrison sounds like a solid signing, a character guy who -- to coin a JM phrase -- should turn out to be a good pro. And, it seems like he has some grit, coming back from a broken leg to play in the postseason for UMD.

From what I was told, JM went to scout and talk to Andrew Sweetland last week after the Tampa Bay loss, with Joe Nieuwendyk handling the Garrison scouting/recruiting. Rumor was Penguins were also in the running for Garrison's services.

-- We're live in Blueland (ugh) for tonight's game. Lot of buzz about this one. These are the kind of games little kids grow up dreaming about. "You know dad, one day I want to play in a completely meaningless game in front of a bunch of empty seats in Atlanta.''

I remember telling my dad how I always wanted to blog about such games. He told me to quit aiming so high.

-- Speaking of that, congrats to Cheryl and Andre LaPalme, who are celebrating their 20th anniversary here in Atlanta tonight. They drove up from South Florida to see some hockey and to do some hiking and biking.

I would have stuck to the hiking and biking.

-- Cory Murphy scratched for a second time. According to the scoresheet, so too is Andrew Sweetland. So there goes that. Branislav Mezei has now been scratched for 10 of the past 11 games. Ironic, too, isn't it? Mezei is finally healthy at the end of a hockey season and still can't find the ice. Feel bad for the guy. Good dude.

-- According to this, save for Vokoun, JM is rolling out the same lineup that coughed up a 3-0 hairball to Washington on Saturday night.

-- General press box musings from Steve X. and Brian Y.: There were probably more people in Saskatoon for that exhibition game oh so long ago than will be here tonight. Probably right.

-- Very late arriving crowd here in Atlanta. Think people are scared of falling glass.

-- Olli Jokinen's first period not only gave the Panthers a lead (!), but also was Florida's first power play goal in 16 tries. Florida penalty kill comes into the night successful in its past 22 kills.