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40 posts from November 2008

November 30, 2008

Riding that Train with the Panthers ... David Booth OK ... Craig Anderson in net Tuesday

Polarexpress SOMEWHERE BETWEEN NEW YORK AND WASHINGTON - Quick update for everyone:

David Booth injured his shoulder in the first period of today's win in New York, but he says it's a minor injury and he came out because he didn't think he would be effective. Says he's going to see how it feels after tonight, Pete DeBoer saying he's questionable for Tuesday in D.C.

In no surprise, Pete DeB also says that he's throwing the hot hand at the Capitals, with Craig Anderson back in net for his third straight start. Great job by Andy today, and he predictably waved off any talk of a goalie controversy.

"I'm here for him, he's here for me,'' Anderson said. "We're both trying to make this team better, make each other better. When I get the chance, I have to win games.''

-- Jay Bouwmeester a plus-4 today.

-- PDeB had a lot of praise for the Ville Peltonen-Gregory Campbell-Radek Dvorak line and for good reason. They've been playing great lately and were the starters today.


LIVE! Florida Panthers at New York Rangers from Madison Square Garden ... Craig Anderson in Net for FLA ... NOW with More Goldie!

MsgNEW YORK CITY -- Greetings from Floor 6 of the place they call "The World's Most Famous Arena.'' I don't agree with that at all.

Everyone knows the National Car Rental/Office Depot/BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise is more famous and has a name that rolls off the tongue. Seriously. Take a poll of your friends and neighbors. They probably think the Bank is more famous than MSG as well.

Panthers are coming off a hard-fought 4-3 shootout loss to these Rangers on Friday night. Rangers are coming off a 4-3 shootout win over these Panthers on Friday night.

So there you go.

Will be back online from my seat down low in the Garden, checking back throughout the game. Will also keep those who care about football current on those scores as well.

See you soon....

-- Trying to get The Goldie Report going today, but with the Giants playing, he might not be paying too much attention.

-- Was hoping to hear Steve Murphy -- our very own Bill Murphy's brother -- sing the National Anthem hear at MSG today, but he must be busy. Alessandra Guercio gets the honor today. Did get to hear Steve a few days ago when we came up for the Rangers-Luongos game. Good show by Murph II. Fans at MSG dug his rendition of both anthems.


-- Guess who's back in net? It's Andytown. Craig Anderson makes second straight start for the Panthers today; Lundqvist in for the Blueshirts.


-- First Potvin Sucks chant at 36 seconds. He ain't here today kiddies...

--Note: Rangers have won past three against FLA at MSG by 12-3 score...

-- Florida on the power play, NY's Aaron Voros into the box for slashing at 1:33

-- Two shots on power play, none get past Lundqvist...

--Rangers on the power play not with 11:54 in...Nick Boynton heading to the box, feeling shame...cross-checking...not that there's anything wrong with that...

-- Panthers survive the PP...

-- Going to have some time off in DC tomorrow....suggestions? Thinking about some Smithsonian action...

-- Will have a Goldie Report coming up in the first intermission. Basically will give Goldie his voice back since FSN decided not to broadcast this game. Also, Tuesday's game against the Caps is blacked out because of the idiotic Versus ban. Will be LIVE! from the phone booth starting around 7 on Tuesday.

--5:17 left in first...shots: Rangers 12-8

-- If you have never watched a hockey game at Madison Square Garden, put it on your to-do list. I've said it before, will say it again...this is a terrific atmosphere...great place....


Goldie And now, another On Frozen Pond exclusive, the ever-popular Goldie Report, where TV play-by-play guru Steve Goldstein offers his thoughts on the Panthers when he's not broadcasting. Today, Goldie comes 'live' from Bokampers in Plantation:

I love the effort and energy today by the Panthers. They've played physical, evidenced by Keith Ballard's hit on Ryan Callahan. And Anderson has made key stops when the Rangers have put on the pressure.

I personally like Pete DeBoer going with Anderson in goal today and it paid off in the first. I just hope David Booth isn't hurt as he took a hard shoulder from Dan Fritsche.

I also like having Shawn Matthias between Nick Tarnasky and Anthony Stewart. This is a winnable game, but the Panthers MUST convert chances into goals. I give them an A for effort in the first. I hope the team is getting DeBoer's message of 'play hard or you won't play.' I like that.


-- Florida gets its third power play chance of the game...Wade Redden into the box for hooking at 3:09...

-- PS: Think it's a little telling that David Booth is wearing an 'A' today and Jay Bouwmeester still is not?

--Ville Peltonen just had a terrific chance stopped by Lundqvist...could come back to haunt them...


--Nueva York on power play...Jay hooks Markus Naslund at 12:44



--Wonder is Lundqvist pulled himself like he did the other night against the Luongos?

-- Fans cheer announcement that it's the final minute of the period...Dos Minutos!


-- Don't run away just yet, more Goldie coming up!

113 The Goldie Report from Bokampers: Great effort continued in the second period resulted in three goals! Henrik Lundquist was chased out of the net by Peltonen, Weiss and Campbell goals. As I stated in my earlier report, the Panthers had to cash in on some chances and they did. They also limited New York's chances and Craig Anderson had had a relatively easy time of it. The effort has been great and not suprisingly the results follow.

Twenty minutes left and that's a long time. The Cats can't sit back and let the Rangers gain any momentum. The Campbell, Peltonen, Dvorak line is playing super two-way hockey the past few weeks.

Thanks Goldie. Have fun in Plantation....



--OK kids, going to make a prediction and say the Panthers win this one. Going to pack up and head downstairs in a bit. Thanks for joining us today. Hope you enjoyed yourself. Also, big thanks to Goldie for checking in during his football game.

Will have more post game (taking the train to Washington tonight), including an update on David Booth's injury status. Be sure to check back in later today/night.

Drive carefully everyone. Peace in the Big East!

UPDATE: Here's Goldie's final report. Was in the locker room when he sent it to me. Thanks again...

 108 Wow is a good word to sum up the Cats Sunday afternoon shutout. Pete DeBoer's message of playing hard or you wan't play and his sense of mediocrity being unacceptable is starting to get through to his team.

Anderson, Campbell, Peltonen, Weiss and Frolik are all making things happen on offense.

A huge confidence boost to win at MSG where the Cats usually struggle. It now sets up a big game at Washington Tuesday. Perhaps This team is finally starting to come together with four straight games earning points. And the games have been fun to watch! Funny how that happens when you win and have late comebacks!


November 28, 2008

Jiggs McDonald Stuck in Thailand

JiggsJiggs McDonald, the Hall of Fame broadcaster who once graced the South Florida radio waves, is currently part of some serious civil unrest in Thailand.

Jiggs was part of a sightseeing tour, but is stuck there once the nation's two main airports were seized by protesters. Jiggs' group was supposed to leave four days ago, but now they don't know when they can get home. Jiggs is part of a large number of foreign tourists stuck in limbo in Bangkok, and is family his trying to put pressure on the Canadian government to bring this group home safely.

Hopefully all works out and it's just another story for Jiggs to spin during a night out. Hopefully no violence springs from this attempted takeover and everyone comes out of this safe and sound.

Here's part of the release that was sent to me. To read more about the unrest in Thailand, click here.

Jiggs  McDonald, former NHL announcer and Hockey Hall of Fame member, and his wife Marilyn and approximately 80 other Canadian citizens on a 30-day Asian tour are currently stranded in Bangkok due to the political unrest there.  They are headed into their 4th extra day in the city, with no end in sight and the threat of violence growing around them.

The tour group was on the final day of their 30-day trip and was scheduled to fly out of Bangkok on Wednesday morning.  The international airport was shut down on Tuesday due to political conflict in Thailand.  An anti-government group (PAD) took over that airport as well as a smaller domestic one and is demanding the resignation of the country’s prime minister.  They refuse to leave until he resigns. 

The government has declared a state of emergency at both of Bangkok’s airports, giving them the right to intervene and oust the protesters, but the opposition group has declared that they will not leave and will “fight to the death.”  A larger pro-government group of citizens has threatened to take to the streets to fight PAD.  And there is talk of a potential coup or military intervention.  In other words, every day that the conflict at the airport and in Bangkok continues, the threat of these Canadian citizens being caught up in a violent conflict grows.

Currently, there are no international flights operating out of the airport. There are some limited commercial and charter flights operating out of a Thai military base, but those arrangements have been coordinated with the Thai government.  The Canadian tour company, Expo Cruises and Tours (Toronto) have been in touch with the Canadian Embassy, but have been given very little information about Canada’s plans to help its stranded citizens.  There are estimates of approximately 1,000 Canadians in Thailand who were scheduled to be departing Bangkok, but cannot. 

There are limited alternate travel options.  For example, trains and buses do operate, but PAD has been known to interrupt these services during past conflicts as well.  Currently, EXPO does not have a way to safely move all 80 of its tour group members out of the country without help from the Canadian government.  And there are over 900 other Canadian citizens seeking a safe way out of the country before violence erupts.

Open Ice in Sunrise ... New York Rangers at Florida Panthers ... Hello Nasty

NewyorkiceThe Panthers held an open skate at the Bank today, with a big sale at the team store and the price of tickets slashed lower than Circuit City's sale on flat screen televisions.

It was advertised as an open house of sorts, although word was the Rangers weren't going to skate. Which was fine by me because I had a lot of shopping to do at Big Lots and left early anyway. They said there would be free food there, but that didn't happen either.

But if you wanted a Rangers jersey, the Panthers were happily raffling off one of those. Yep, just like a couple weeks ago when Detroit was here, the home team was giving away an enemy sweater.

Perhaps the person who won it is a Florida fan, and the free Blueshirt will swing him/her to become a fan of the Rangers. Hey, they haven't won anything since 1994, but, um, at least they've won something. Probably including two games this weekend against the Sunrise Six.

Hey, you never know.

That said, it was good running into a number of fans who did come out. Thanks for coming up and saying hello. It was nice to put some faces to your screen names, although I'm sure you didn't enjoy putting this face to this column. Too bad for you.

-- It was nice of the Panthers to open up the arena parking lot for Sawgrass Mills overflow. Don't know if that was the reason, but a few smart folks I saw parked in the expansive lot at the arena and hiked across the street to the mall. Not a bad idea. Sawgrass looks slammed right now. Hope people are making some wise spending decisions.

Doubt it.

-- Nasty Nick Tarnasky was on the ice for the skate this morning and said he's pumped to join the Panthers. Says it was tough for him adapting to the different teams and players in the west, but he knows the east after spending parts of the past three seasons with the Lightning. Didn't get to see Bryan Allen to get his reaction to Tarnasky now being a teammate. Let us hope time heals all wounds.

-- Here's what Nashville GM David Poile said about getting Wade Belak and his fists, courtesy of our good friend John Glennon at the Nashville Tennessean:

 ``When the opportunity arises, we’re always trying to get bigger, stronger and tougher, and with all due respect, we’ve now got a bigger, stronger, tougher player in Belak.

 ``We know that in players like (Scott) Nichol, (Jordin) Tootoo and now (Antti) Pihlstrom, we have guys that are going to be aggressive. Those guys forecheck and hit, and stuff happens. We need someone who can support those players, and we have the right player now in Belak to do that.’’

-- Tarnasky will likely be on a line centered by Shawn Matthias, the rookie not making it in for today's skate. He's in though, says Pete DeBoer.

-- Don't know if Nick Boynton's going to play tonight, and he walked out of the arena as we were talking to PDeB. Gametime decision.

-- Best wishes to old pal Olli 'Olli' Jokinen who could miss up to a month with an injured shoulder. Olli hasn't missed a game since he had a nasty bout with the flu back in 2002. Dude's a gamer, must really be hurt.

November 27, 2008

Panthers Trade Wade Belak to Nashville ... Here Comes Nasty Nick Tarnasky ... Shawn Matthias Joining Team Friday ... Now with Quotes! From JM and Belak too

Belak_2Happy Thanksgiving Wade Belak! You're outta here!

Yep, the Panthers pulled a Turkey Day trade, sending Belak to Nashville (think he's going to like it there) for former Lightning forward Nick Tarnasky.

Tarnasky is younger than Belak at 24, and might be able to provide a little more offense. Tarnasky, Tarnasky who has rumbled with the Cats in the past, hasn't scored a goal in 11 games this season, but had 11 in the past two years with the Bolts.

For Belak, who was trying to get something started throughout last night's game, this is a fresh start in Music City. Folks may look at his Cooper Mini with a wary eye, but he'll fit in right well with the Predators me thinks.

And he gets to leave a last place team. That's usually not a bad thing.

-- Just got off the phone with JM, says the team is likely to bring up Shawn Matthias from Rochester, give him a chance to show what he's got. With the season he's having in Rochester, this is a good time for a clean slate.

And now, Jacques Martin on the Tarnasky/Belak trade that sent the hockey world on it's ear today (OK, it didn't.)

On Tarnasky:

Tarnasky2 "He’s a guy who brings more speed, something we’re trying to improve on this team. He’s a big guy, can forecheck, finish his check against his defender.

"He’s a role player, but he can get there quicker, use his speed and use his body to his advantage. He can drive to the net, play a simple game. He’s going to help Pete [DeBoer] play four lines. He can be part of a momentum line.''

On signing Wade Belak to a two-year deal then spit-canning him 20 games into season:

"With Wade, his ice time was a concern. He had trouble fitting in to Peter’s system. As a general manager, you want to get guys who can fit their coach’s system. Nashville wanted a different style of player. For Wade it’s unfortunate this had to happen, but it’s part of the business. We improved our club. We have to keep improving.''

-- Just spoke to Wade, he says he's "stunned" by the trade and thought everything had worked itself out. Said he enjoyed his short time in South Florida, really seemed to enjoy living here. Added he enjoyed his teammates, folks who worked for the team and the neighbors he's leaving behind.

If you're on an early flight to Atlanta tomorrow and see a big red-headed dude on your flight, that could be Belak. Nashville plays at the Thrash tomorrow night.

"I hear lots of good things about Nashville from various guys who have played there,'' Belak said. "Vokoun said he loved playing there. I talked to the general manager and the coach, and they seem like great people. They are accomidating with the family. It’s a good organization. I’m happy to be going there.

"They do a lot of things well, lot of behind the scenes stuff. They treat their players and families with a lot of respect.

"It’s nice to be wanted, especially after what transpired after last weekend. It was tough to come back knowing there was an issue there. To be traded was very surprising.''

On meeting with Pete DeBoer on Tuesday:

"I told my side of the story, told him what I could bring to the table. It was a good meeting, no yelling and screaming.We just wanted to move on, and obviously, they moved on.''



Happy Thanksgiving ... Nathan Horton Out ... Craig Anderson In vs. Rangers ... Cory Stillman still out

CharliebrownFirst off, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone out there and, despite what's going on all around us, I hope all my friends out there in PantherLand have plenty to be thankful for.

I know I do.

The Panthers? Not so much.

Nathan Horton took a skate to the leg last night, getting involved in a pileup with Noah Welch and a New Jersey player. Horton was cut so bad, the blade went through his skate boot and cut his leg pretty deep. Pete DeBoer says Nathan is out for a little bit, the cut so bad "he couldn't even walk up the stairs this morning.''

Part of the problem is the location of the laceration. PDeB saying it's almost impossible for them to stitch it cut and Nate put on his skates. Luckily, there was no tendon damage or anything like that. Once it heals up, he should be good to go.

Don't know who the Panthers are going to call up from Rochester, but someone's coming. Will update when I know.

Also, Craig Anderson starts in net tomorrow against the Rangers. More on that -- and pulling Vokoun down below.

Hope to see a good number of you tomorrow at the open skate at the Bank. Come on over and say hello.

More stuff from PDeB this Thanksgiving morn:

"We're a little banged up. We looked at the week to turn things around and got three of four. I'm not happy with how we started [Wednesday], but we found a way to get a pont. Now we have an opportunity Friday to get five of six and make this a pretty good homestand.''

On the awful start:

"Give New Jersey some credit. They were well rested, played in Tampa on Sunday, came here and sat and waited for us. Being able to get sustained pressure with some of the guys out of the lineup is a struggle. You take Zednik, Stillman and Horton out with injury and it's a struggle. We're going to have to find a way to get 30 shots without some pretty skilled guys in the lineup.''

Update on Nate:

"It cut through part of the boot. He's out through the weekend, then we'll go from there. Tough to see on the video how it happened. There were three bodies there, Noah, Horton and a Jersey guy. It's deep and it's in a bad spot. No tendons cut, but it's in a bad spot. It's real hard to put stitches in and put a boot on. He couldn't even walk up the stairs this morning.''

Update on Cory Stillman:

"He's starting to exercize. If he can get through an off ice workout today, he could skate Friday. We're still looking at days away. Nothing short term that's for sure.''

Craig Anderson in net tomorrow?


Why did you pull Tomas Vokoun on Wednesday?

"It was a couple of things. I didn't like the goals Tomas gave up for one, second, I didn't like the way we played as a team. It was kind of twofold. I made a change hoping to spark the team. I think it did. Andy came in and shut the door and that was important.''

Stealing a point

"It was very important for us. We know where we're sitting, and we're dealing with adversity. We have to fight for every point we can get. We'll take that one. Had an opportunity for two points there, but probably didn't deserve two points. Hopefully we'll finish with a solid performance.''

November 26, 2008

Black Friday ... Panthers open up BankAtlantic Center ... Panthers help feed others

BlackfridayDon't know about you, but I love Black Friday.

While a bunch of nut jobs camp out for hours in front of Best Buy and Big Lots ($5 headphones! $2 socks!) trying to get great deals on stuff, I'm sleeping peacefully.

Of course, I see the Nike Factory Store is opening at midnight on Friday, so I may swing by there. You know, to get gifts. For others.

Anyway, the Panthers are jumping on the Black Friday bandwagon in a big way. Not only is the arena going to be open Friday for the morning skates of both the Panthers and Rangers, but the team store is going to be open with big discounts for those of you who want to give your friends some Panther gear. They are also going to be slashing prices on tickets, including those for the second half of the season.

According to the team, tickets are going to be discounted 30 to 50 percent off. Holiday packs are going to be 20 percent off. The tickets are already cheap down here; they just got cheaper.

OK, inexpensive.

The team will also be feeding those fans who come over to watch practice. That's a pretty good deal.

So, when you're done fighting the crowds at Sawgrass, finished picking through the $10 DVD bin at Circuit City, come on over the arena. I'll be there, probably wearing something new from the Nike store.

-- Thanks to those who donated food and money during the past couple of weeks. The Panthers were able to distribute nearly 350 family means for Thanksgiving on Tuesday.

Also, according to the team, the players donated enough money to buy 300 turkeys with the team's foundation matching the funds to buy 300 more. Very nice.

Wkrp Hopefully they didn't drop the turkeys from a helicopter.

"As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly." 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone...

Wednesday Report ... Florida Panthers vs. New Jersey Devils ... Scott Clemmensen In ... Wade Belak In ... No surgery for Richard Zednik

DevilsJust got back from the Bank where the Panthers prepare for a second meeting against the Devils within a week. Last time out was on Thursday, Florida dropping a 3-1 decision in Newark.

Scott Clemmensen, who has won three straight starts, is back in net for the Devils.

Pete DeBoer says Richard Zednik doesn't need surgery but they still don't know when he'll be available. Nick Boynton practiced today and is likely in the game; UPDATE: Noah Welch is in with Nick Boynton being a scratch. This is his second straight game with a concussion.

Pretty boring day in Sunrise. If I think of anything else, will post more.

Enjoy your day....

November 24, 2008

Richard Zednik Injures Elbow ... Score Ville Peltonen's second goal to Gregory Campbell ... Florida Panthers 3, Carolina Hurricanes 2

RichardzednikBad news out of the Florida Panthers' 3-2 win over Carolina on Monday as Richard Zednik injured his left elbow after being run into the boards during the second period.

Zednik came out of the locker room Monday night with his elbow bandaged up saying it's going to be a while before he returns to the lineup. Pete DeBoer said it was a substantial injury, in that he would be out in terms of weeks.

-- About 25 minutes after the game, NHL officials came over and officially credited Gregory Campbell with his third goal of the season as they took Ville Peltonen's third goal of the season away. Ville knew it was coming, joking he had the goal on paper but that paper can be torn up.

Peltonen's shot apparently clipped Campbell on its way into the net. Couldn't tell on the high-def televisions (think 19 inch Sharps that ain't all that sharp) we have up here high above the Bank.

-- Wade Belak was back with his teammates tonight and was in the locker room after the game. He has a meeting scheduled with PDeB in the morning.

For those who want to go out to Incredible Ice tomorrow (I'll be smacking around some golf balls), PDeB says practice will start between 11 and 11:30. Team has a meeting at the Bank at 10 before they all head over there in a parade of luxury cars (save for Bouwmeester's Chevy truck and Booth's Ford Explorer) up the Sawgrass.

Jacques Martin talks Wade Belak

JacquesJust got done speaking with JM regarding the Wade Belak situation and here's what we got: JM has 30 days to decide what to do with Belak, and that includes sending him to Rochester.

I honestly don't see him doing that. Belak isn't a 22-year-old kid; he's a veteran with a family. But he could. JM says Wade is going to meet with Pete DeBoer in the morning to determine what's next. So, we'll just wait and see. I think Pete's going to tell him "scorers score, fighters need to fight'' and that's the end of it.

Here's what JM had to say:

"We put him on waivers and he cleared. He'll meet with Pete tomorrow. It basically doesn't change anything. We have 30 days , whether we want to send him to the American League or he gets back playing.''

Surprised he wasn't picked up?

"I think it's an indication a lot of teams are watching the dollars.''

Hesitant to send a veteran to Rochester?

"That's part of the human aspect. But as a team, we have a responsibility. You have to look at all the angles.''

Bigger move coming?

"I'm always trying to improve the team and I think when you look at our club, right now we have a stretch at home. We're 4-3 in seven home games and we have three big games.''

Deciding factor on Wade staying with Panthers?

"We don't have a lot of extra people around here. We'll see.''

Wakeup call for Belak and team?

"Definitely it's an indication that if we don't start winning, we could do other things.''

-- Forgot about the toy drive kicking off next month. Panthers are teaming up with the Marines and the Toys-for-Tots program. You can leave unwrapped toys at the front gates for the kiddies. Doesn't start until next month. Will post the game dates when I get them from the team. Again, another good cause. Appreciate all of you who help out.

Wade Belak Clears, Remains with Panthers ... Big week for Panthers ... Nick Boynton out with concussion

Belak2Wade Belak's days with the Florida Panthers aren't over.

Belak cleared waivers today and is free to report back to the Panthers. Will talk to JM before today's game and see what's next.

Belak says he's "very happy" and hopes he gets to play out the rest of his contract here in FLA.

He also wanted to relay how much he was touched by the outpouring of support from the fans here. "I can't believe there was so much support from them,'' he said. When I told him the Panthers don't have a whole bunch of fans, but the ones they do have are extremely loyal, he added "I'm starting to realize that.''

-- Pete DeBoer says this is a huge week, one in which the Panthers have to turn their season around. No doubt. Panthers have eight points available between now and Sunday; chance to get things back in order. On them now.

-- Nick Boynton is out today; he also has a concussion. Likely suffered in his fight Friday in Boston.

-- Speaking of concussions, spoke with Cory Stillman today, says he's taking it day-by-day. Says he hasn't had any headaches lately and he's chomping at the bit wanting to play. But the team is being cautious.

November 23, 2008

Sunday with the Florida Panthers ... More on Wade Belak ... Jassen Cullimore In, Cory Stillman Out ... Grey Cup: Montreal vs. Calgary

WadebelakWatching the Miami Dolphins after another fine lunch at Pizza Time, ready to talk a little bit more about Wade Belak.

The Panthers will know where he's going by tomorrow afternoon, the deadline for him to be picked up off waivers is noon. He'll be picked up by someone, he's sure of it. He said last night's meal of sushi in Delray Beach was his "last supper.''

A few teams could use a bruiser like Wade, including the Panthers. That ship has sailed, however. Belak did say he hopes he doesn't get picked up. "My wife is crushed,'' he said. "We love it here. I don't want to go anywhere else.''

The move was not a popular one among teammates today. Many were visibly angry when asked about it, some offering some un-printable words. They all started with 'F.'

Wade is a very popular guy amongst his teammates, and the thought here is the move was probably more Pete DeBoer than it was Jacques Martin. Pete is the guy who controls the ice time, ice time that Wade was not getting.

Here's what Pete had to say today:

"I'm new and gave everyone a clean slate. We're almost 20 games in here to use as an evaluation period and we're not happy where we are. Tough decisions are going to be made. This is not a popularity contest.

Petedeboer "I don't think it's based on ice time. You make the most of what you're given. It's not good enough where we're sitting and there are going to be consequences throughout the lineup.

"Everyone has a job to do. I expect them to do the job they are getting paid to do. If you're not going to do it, you're going to sit in the crowd. Scorers have to score, fighters have to fight, checkers have to check. It's the old hockey adage. There has to be some accountability here.

"Listen, we're not sitting here where we're at because of Wade Belak or what Wade Belak hasn't done. But we're not happy where we at and there are consequences here.

"I think everyone here should be on notice. Boynton has been a healthy scratch, Olesz has been a healthy scratch. Wade Belak's been waived. We're not happy. Status quo isn't good enough. We'll continue to do what we have to do to get this team to the level we think it should be competing at.''

Keith Ballard: "I like Belak and think he's real good for our team, real good for our room. He's a veteran guy who's been around a long time, so you never like to see something like that happen to a real good guy. Wade's an awesome guy, works hard every day. He has a tough job. He has to fight, and if no one wants to fight him, it's tough for him to do his job.''

If I hear anything else, you'll see it here. Keep checking in.

-- Jassen Cullimore's injured right knee looks fine, he was back out practicing today and should play tomorrow against the WhalerCanes. Talked to him Friday night in Boston and he was walking well so it's good to see nothing was serious.

"If he doesn't have the brace on, it's probably a worse injury,'' DeBoer said. "We missed him the other night.''

-- Cory Stillman is still being held out because of his concussion, Pete saying he's out at least another week.  "Concussion are strange animals and you never know what the recovery time is going to be,'' DeBoer said. "I know in talking to him that he's feeling better and will start doing some light exercising. He's at least a week away.''

-- Bryan Allen made a visit to practice today. He's still on crutches after having major knee surgery, and says he'll be on them for another month.

-- Rostislav Olesz is back and should play tomorrow. He was on a line with Kamil Kreps and Radek Dvorak.

Greycup -- Big football game tonight in Montreal as the Stampeders de Calgary battle the hometown Alouettes in the Grey Cup (Coupe de Grey). Game is on Versus tonight at 6, and this guy is fired up. Go Stamps!

November 22, 2008

Bad News from Pittsburgh ... Roberto Luongo Injured

Louie Old friend Roberto Luongo appeared to seriously injure his groin Saturday as the Canucks won in Pittsburgh. Coach Alain Vignault says Luongo is going to have an MRI to determine the severity of the injury, but the local scribes say he could be out a while. And the way he's been playing lately, that sucks.

"It's very disappointing, frustrating," Luongo told The Vancouver Sun. "We've been playing great as a team and I've been really happy with the way my game has been in the last few weeks. It's really disappointing to have something like this happen.

"The schedule has been pretty brutal here the last week or so. I don't know if that had something to do with it or not. Tough to say.

"There was pretty much a lot of pain there. Right away, I knew it wasn't good."

Let's hope Roberto has a quick recovery.

-- Congrats to Goldie and all those Syracuse alums out there for the Orange's win over Notre Dame today. Been a long couple of years for SU so you have to feel good for those fans who stuck with their school after a nice win.

UPDATE II -- Wade Belak on Waivers ... Quotes from a Ticked-off Wade ... Jacques Martin Talks

Belak_2 Just got home from Boston (thanks JetBlue!) and just got word that enforcer Wade Belak was placed on waivers today.

Belak signed a two-year deal with the Panthers during the offseason but hasn't seen much playing time this season.

Teams have until Monday at noon to claim him.

Just got off the phone with Jacques Martin who says the team needs to be accountable for its play and that he had left numerous messages for Wade starting "at 10 after 12. Then I called him an hour later."

Spoke with Wade and he's pretty upset about the whole deal. Says "they brought me down here to play,'' although, he's not playing.

Belak's minutes are way down, he only played six-plus minutes last night and didn't get in at all in the third period. He thinks this stems from him skipping optional skate Thursday in New Jersey (he thought he was playing that night instead of being a healthy scratch because of Kamil Kreps) and for not fighting and sticking up for Nick Boynton after he got beat up pretty good in his scrap with Milan Lucic.

''I tried to fight guys there and they refused to go,'' Belak said. “What do they want me to do, fight and take a penalty? We were trying to win that game. I'm not a rookie.''

Also: “They bring me down here to play, and I've seen my time dwindle from eight minutes to three shifts a game,'' Belak said. ''I'm not a liability. I'm tired of hearing how we need offense. Other tough guys play and are contributing. It's tough to fight from the bench.''

He seems pretty ticked off. So, too, did JM.

"Obviously, I'm not happy with the club's performance so far,'' Martin said Saturday night. "We need to change some things. Maybe that's a start. We need to perform better. We'll see what happens. We'll see if he clears.''

I asked JM why Belak since he doesn't play a whole lot as it is: "He's not playing a lot of minutes, not playing every game. This indicates we want to change things. It's part of the business. People have to realize things are too comfortable around here.

"This is part of the whole situation. I thought we turned a corner winning in Anaheim and Tampa. We lost to Detroit, but that's a great team. Then we won our first game [at Tampa] on the road [before losing two straight]. We need to play better, get more urgency in our game.

"I've been talking to other managers, trying to make different moves. You get to a point where we need to send a message to our players that we're not going to accept this. We need better performances.

"If we don't turn it around, we're going to have to do something.''

As far as Wade being sent to Rochester goes, JM would not rule that out.

"We'll wait to see what happens on Monday. If he gets picked up, I don't have to deal with it. If he doesn't get picked up, I have the flexibility to send him down. It's not a money issue. We're trying to get the team to understand they need more urgancy in their game.''

November 21, 2008

Florida Panthers vs. Boston Bruins ... Steve Carlson, a Hanson Brother, is here ... Nathan Horton no longer a center ... Return of the Sunrise Express ... Rostislav Olesz benched ... Michael Frolik gets first NHL goal

Hansons BOSTON -- Just got done talking with Pete DeBoer before tonight's game, the first Friday night game at Boston in 31 years.

The big news is that it's SlapShot! night here, with Steve Carlson -- one of the Hanson boys -- in attendance.

Actually, that ain't the news.

Biggest news tonight is that Pete says the Nathan Horton experiment at center is pretty much over, saying he thanks Nate for giving it a shot and stepping in. That means the Sunrise Express is back together; David Booth on the left, Stephen Weiss at center and Nate on the right side. Let's see if this jump-starts a moribund offense.

Sunpass ''I knew since Day 1 they had chemistry and would be a good line,'' DeBoer said. ''The problem was, who else is going to play center? We tried to go with that experiment and Nathan did an admirable job and did some good things. But we need some offense. Nathan hadn't played center in six years. It's unfair to say 16 games in that he wouldn't be a good centerman. If we would have stuck with it, who knows. We might go back to it, I don't know.''

Rostislav Olesz is not playing tonight, DeBoer saying he expects much more out of Olesz than he's been getting. Olesz hasn't looked very good the past few weeks, and this benching is not much of a surprise. DeBoer says players have to earn playing time, and right now, he doesn't think Olesz is earning it.

''We're 17 games in, and I haven't seen enough yet,'' DeBoer said. ''This is the next step to getting him to where we need him to be. I'm a big believer in giving an opportunity and then putting you on notice. This is the next step. This is the only tool a coach really has. He has to be better for us.

"He's a nice kid and a smart player. But we need more than that. We don't have the luxury to wait for guys like that for 15, 20 games. We just don't.

"I came in here with a clean slate on everyone. You give them an opportunity to do what you have been told they are capable of doing. If they don't do it, this is the step you take. We did it with Nick Boynton, and the results were successful. We're hoping to do the same here with Rusty.''

Other news: Tomas Vokoun back in net tonight, playing in his first back-to-backer of the season. DeBoer said last night's light work (19 shots in Jersey) didn't factor into the decision, mostly because "after Tampa [52 shots] it probably evened out.''

Will have quotes -- and a goofy picture or two -- later on. Gots to put on the foil and get to work.

Richards This is my new mug shot. I kinda like it. Thanks to the Bruins for the cool Hanson Brothers glasses.

-- Also, no real update on Jassen Cullimore. DeBoer says they really don't know anything at this point, says he hopes it's just day-to-day.

-- Nothing new on Cory Stillman. Still out. We might see him at practice on Sunday at Incredible Ice (word is it's at 11 a.m. and will be an hour tops).

-- Michael Frolik got his first NHL goal last night. Good for him. He was really stressing over it. Anyway, the equipment guys saved the puck, and will frame it for him. Here are two shots of the puck.

Frolikpuck1 Frolikpuck2

November 19, 2008

Devil Dogs ... Florida Panthers Practice Rough at Prudential Center ... Kamil Kreps 'Probable' ... Roberto Luongo Versus the Rangers

NewjerseyNEWARK -- Just got back from the Prudential Fortress, one of the most media-friendly arenas in all the land. Friendly, smiling faces wherever you go. Always fun to come up to LamorielloLand -- no matter where the arena is.

Anyway, the Panthers had a spirited and hard workout here today. I felt like I was back covering the Dolphins, Hurricanes or Aquinas Raiders. Folks, there was a lot of hitting going on.

Pete DeBoer put the team through rigorous puck-battling drills, with guys driving each other into the wall fighting for the puck. Says the Lightning had too much time and space in their zone last night. He was trying to make sure that doesn't happen again, make sure the guys know it's OK to put a hit on someone and knock them off the puck.

Lot of sore guys walking around after practice.

Aside from that, not much going on. Kamil Kreps says he feels good, ready to return. PDeB says he's 'probable' for tomorrow. Everyone else was out there, including Gregory Campbell and Stephen Weiss.

And that's about it for now. Heading into the city, going to watch some hockey. Some goalie who lives in Broward County is apparently the starter for the team from Vancouver. His team is playing the local New York team. I think they're called the 'Knickerbockers.'

Check you tomorrow. Will tell Louie you send your best....

Ready for Baseball? ... Baltimore Orioles Final Spring in Fort Lauderdale ... Panthers in New Jersey

Dscn0580 NEWARK -- As soon as I stepped off the plane in New Jersey today, I was ready for spring training. I don't know what it was, the freezing cold or the steam coming off the stagnant water. But I just got a feeling like, you know what? Spring is almost here.

Sure, we still haven't even hit Thanksgiving yet, but we're getting there.

Not long after I hit the Garden State, my cellphone buzzed. It was an email from the Baltimore Orioles, Broward County's adopted spring team. Since this is probably the last year the Birds will be ours, I hope those baseball fans out there check out Fort Lauderdale Stadium one more time. Because, like the Orange Bowl, Miami Stadium and Miami Arena, it ain't long for this world.

And that makes me sad.

Anyway, enjoy the cool weather back home and feel free to peruse the schedule for the Orioles likely final spring in Fort Lauderdale. After this, we're going to have to drive to Vero Beach to see them be mediocre.

-- Also, if you want to see the Marlins' spring schedule, click here...

-- Relax, hockey news after practice. This ain't the only post of the day. Just showing my friends in Balmer some On Frozen Pond love...




Day             Date                      Opponent                            Location            Time

Wednesday February 25          New York Mets                    Fort Lauderdale     1:05

Thursday    February 26        St. Louis Cardinals              Fort Lauderdale        1:05

Friday        February 27                Florida Marlins                             Jupiter     1:05

Saturday    February 28          Florida Marlins                    Fort Lauderdale      1:05

Sunday      March 1                      Washington Nationals                 Viera        1:05

Monday      March 2                Boston Red Sox                   Fort Lauderdale     1:05

Tuesday      March 3                      off day

Wednesday March 4                Dominican Republic (WBC)    Fort Lauderdale     1:05

Thursday    March 5                Florida Marlins                    Fort Lauderdale      1:05

Friday        March 6                Washington Nationals          Fort Lauderdale      1:05

Saturday    March 7                      Florida Marlins                             Jupiter    1:05

Sunday      March 8                Minnesota Twins                   Fort Lauderdale      1:05

Monday      March 9                      New York Mets             Port St. Lucie           1:10

Tuesday      March 10                    Boston Red Sox           Fort Myers              1:05

Wednesday March 11              Minnesota Twins                Fort Lauderdale       1:05

Thursday     March 12                    off day

Friday        March 13              St. Louis Cardinals (SS)     Fort Lauderdale        1:05

                                              St. Louis Cardinals (SS)     Jupiter                    7:05

Saturday      March 14              Boston Red Sox                Fort Lauderdale       1:05

Sunday        March 15                    Boston Red Sox          Fort Myers              1:05

Monday        March 16                    Minnesota Twins         Fort Myers               1:05

Tuesday       March 17                    off day

Wednesday March 18             St. Louis Cardinals (SS)  Fort Lauderdale 1:05

                                               St. Louis Cardinals (SS)     Jupiter              1:05

Thursday     March 19                    Washington Nationals          Viera                1:05

Friday          March 20              New York Mets                    Fort Lauderdale       1:05

Saturday      March 21              Tampa Bay Rays                   Fort Lauderdale      1:05

Sunday        March 22                    St. Louis Cardinals              Jupiter               1:05

Monday       March 23                    Minnesota Twins             Fort Myers               1:05

Tuesday       March 24              Washington Nationals          Fort Lauderdale       1:05

Wednesday March 25                    off day

Thursday     March 26              Florida Marlins                    Fort Lauderdale       1:05

Friday         March 27                    Florida Marlins                 Jupiter                 1:05

Saturday     March 28                    St. Louis Cardinals           Jupiter                 1:05

Sunday       March 29              New York Mets                    Fort Lauderdale       1:05

Monday      March 30                    New York Mets                 Port St. Lucie         1:10

Tuesday     March 31              St. Louis Cardinals              Fort Lauderdale         1:05

Wednesday April 1                   Florida Marlins                    Fort Lauderdale        1:05

Thursday    April 2                         New York Mets                 Port St. Lucie        1:10


November 18, 2008

LIVE! Florida Panthers d. Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 in shootout ... It's the Good Old Radio Hockey Game ... On Frozen Poll: Best Burgers in the USA ... Tomas Vokoun Top Star of the Night ... The Goldie Report

RadioSUNRISE -- Greetings from the Chik-fil-A Center in uptown Sunrise where I'm listening to Randy 'Red Deer' Moller and Billy 'I Beat the Bruins' Lindsay broadcast live from Tampa.

Yes, Randy just sold his soul and called it Hockey Bay USA.

Noah Welch out as the healthy scratch tonight, Cory Stillman out with post-concussion problems.

Panthers are in white, the Bolts in black (I assume).

Radio2 Going to be hanging here in cyberspace tonight, flying to New Jersey bright and early tomorrow. You got questions or comments, feel free to leave them here.

It's hockey talk -- On Frozen Pond style!

-- On TV Tonight Instead of the Panthers: Seinfeld is on TBS, the boys selling NBC on a "show about nothing.'' Also, Two and a Half Men on Channel 39. Minnesota and Pitt tied at 1 on Versus. Heat lead the Capitals, err Bullets, on Sunshine Network.

FSN bringing us the ever-exciting, ever-important Tennessee-Martin/Tennessee basketball game. I wouldn't watch this matchup if it was a football game. Although Tennessee-Martin might be favored in that one. Sad days for the Vols...

-- Virginia Tech-Miami replay on CSS....

-- Panthers going on the power play...Tampa Bay has too many guys on the ice...which we all know is against the rules...

--Going to call Goldie and see if he'll give us his impressions of the first period during the intermission.


-- Sounds like Tomas Vokoun is being tested early...

-- Anyone got some restaurant suggestions for New York can go ahead and leave them here as well...will be around Penn Station/MSG tomorrow night...have a few good places in mind, but always looking for new stuff...

-- 90201 coming up on CW; good repeat of Boston Legal on ION...Family Guy mini-marathon on TBS ... Heat still winning, Vols up big ... start of two in Pitt, still 1-1...

-- Absolutely love the Pens' retro third jersey...the blues look good....

-- Booth shoots wide on a good scoring chance for the Cats...

--Canes-VT tied 7-7 from Joe Robbie...got a good feeling the Canes come back in this one...

-- Another Tampa penalty...Florida 0-for-1 on the PP....

-- Other scores: Montreal leads Carolina 1-0 in the second; Edmonton beating Columbus 2-0 also in second...

-- 2:40 left in the opening period....TB outshooting the Cats 16-9...

--Panthers draw their third penalty of the night...Stephen Weiss apparently gets Paul Ranger to commit a no-no...


-- Panthers outshot 18-11 in the opening period...we're going to the break...Goldie's up next....

-- Sounds like I heard some Tampa Bay fans calling for Booooth at the end of that period...or not...

Goldie THE GOLDIE REPORT*: I would say they are playing the perfect formula for beating Tampa. They've worked really hard. Tampa had five shots in the first few minutes, but since then, the Panthers have picked it up. This is the seventh time Florida has a two-goal lead, and they've won all but the Carolina game. I thought Booth was really good, Frolik too. And Vokoun was really sharp. Booth and Frolik's speed was really evident. And not getting a penalty was huge for them.

(*) -- Yet another On Frozen Pond exclusive!

--I am now actually watching the Tennessee-Martin/Tennessee game...but not for long...

-- Word is Brad Pitt tore his Achilles; he may be out of the Florida lineup for a couple of months. Bad loss for the Cats.

-- OK, getting a report that Pitt doesn't play for the Panthers anymore...

--Don't know about you, but that Philly Cheesesteak burger at Checkers looks like instant sick. Well, maybe not instant, but you probably wouldn't make it home...

-- QVC selling holiday candles...set of three...only $44.75! That's some good smell! Unlike that burger from Checkers...

Ashleyhockey -- Good college hoops game coming up on ESPN...Kentucky at UNC...good stuff there...

-- And to my left...


-- JayBo called for hooking...Tampa Bay goes on the PP for the first time tonight...

--Panthers kill off the penalty and now go back on the PP themselves...FLA is 1-for-3 on PP tonight...

-- FYI: Panthers PP no longer worst in league...that goes to Columbus...Panthers are No. 29 headed into tonight..


-- Wouldn't be surprised to see a new goalie in for Tampa pretty soon....Mike Smith has given up seven goals to the Cats in less than a week...

--I think it's Frozen Poll time. Been a long time. Looking for the best place to go for burgers (mainstream type places). Like out west, I prefer In-and-Out Burger, but Fatburger is pretty good too. Down here, I'm a Char-Hut nut. Give me some suggestions. Will throw in Burger King too since the Whopper was invented in Miami. Check back for the poll....


-- End of two, Panthers lead 3-1 but are being outshot 37-21...the Lightning are out of control!

Goldie2 THE GOLDIE REPORT, SECOND INTERMISSION: Tomas Vokoun has just been unbelievable. He looks calm and has been very good positionally. They are firing from everywhere, but he isn't giving up rebounds. He's on top of his game, and that's key. He's had four really good periods in a row going back to the Detroit game.

The other big thing is how huge McCabe has been on the power play. He's a threat with that big shot and now has six points in four games. McCabe has been great and the power play has scored twice.

The key in the third is to tighten up. You can't let Vokoun stand on his head because this game is not over by any stretch. When Tampa made it 3-1, the Panthers got aggressive again on offense. They have to keep that up.

-- Carolina now up 2-1 midway through the third over Montreal.

-- Feel free to send in your favorite little burger joint. Like LeTub in Hollywood, or the Circus in Pompano Beach (both have excellent burgers IMHO). The poll is basically for major chains, and great regional places (like Char-Hut). Believe it or not, but I thought Miami Subs has a solid burger. But good luck finding one of those anymore. Oh, and the Flanigans/Quarterdeck burger is also pretty darned good.

-- If I hadn't already had a nice Italian dinner tonight, I'd be getting hungry right now.

-- Edmonton is lighting up the Blue Jackets, now 6-2 in Buckeyetown...

-- Speaking of that, has there been a Michigan-Ohio State game in recent memory that absolutely no one cared about?


-- Gregory Campbell headed to the box, Tampa Bay's second PP of the night...


-- Panthers going back on the power play, looking for third power play goal...old pal Lukas Krajicek slashes David Booth...

-- Kentucky getting run back to Lexington...going to overtime in Pittsburgh....

-- Lightning kill it off, I'm going to get a Diet Coke...

-- Shootout in Pitt...

-- 10 minutes left in Tampa....still 3-2 Florida...

-- FSN Florida's offering now: Best Damn Toughman. Well, that's a ratings winner...

-- Been listening to Randy and Billy for a couple hours now and have been very entertained. Love how they try to keep topping each other with cheesy lines. Good stuff.

-- Less than four minutes to go. Don't forget to check back for post-game Goldie!


-- 2:51 remaining in regulation...


-- Without a Trace coming on....The Office (TBS) too...Oklahoma pulling away from Davidson...

-- Three minutes left in the OT...Panthers 0-1 in the shootout this season (at Nashville, also a radio-only game that I wasn't at)...

-- From Andy: AP is reporting that the Circus will be in town on Thursday in Jersey, enjoy the Elephants and cotton candy George. -- Will do! Going to get one of those flashing lights that they sell. And a root beer.

-- Shootout forthcoming...


-- Tomorrow's On Frozen Poll (giving you time to think of your answer): Do you like or dislike the shootout? Me, I like that there are no more ties. But I would much rather see a 10 minute overtime before the SO decides things. That's just me.

--ROUND 1: Vinny Lecavalier X (blocked); Stephen Weiss X (no shot)

Youngnate -- ROUND 2: Jussi 'Olli' Jokinen X (wide); Nathan 'Olli' Horton DING DING DING

-- ROUND 3: Martin St. Louis X (blocked)


-- Taking a short time out, then it's three stars of the game and The Goldie Report...This is the fake Florida Panthers online radio network brought to you by Dania Jai-Alai, Publix Diet Iced Tea and Rickey's chicken wings...

--I think Goldie is shining us. Big timer. Tired of his nonsense.

-- Three Stars off the official report:

Vokoun_3 No. 3 Steve Eminger, Tampa Bay (goal, two assists, plus-3)

No. 2 Steve Stamkos, Tampa Bay (one assist, nine shots, 17-plus minutes)

No. 1 Tomas Vokoun, Florida (49 saves, not including all three in shootout)

THE GOLDIE POSTGAME REPORT: I think the general mood around here is the guys don't care how they got the two points, they're just happy to get two points. Tomas Vokoun was out of his mind. The ones he didn't stop, he had no chance on. In shootout, stops three great shots. He was great tonight. We've seen so many times where the opposing goalie plays great and they get a few power play goals. Tonight, the Panthers got to do it.

Orangeman Bryan McCabe said “we got lucky and got great goaltending.” Tampa Bay threw the kitchen sink at the Panthers tonight.

I was really disappointed they let the Lightning back in the game. We all know Tampa has a lot of talent, but certain forwards – Peltonen, Campbell, Weiss, Booth – really played hard. Some of the others wanted to play a run-and-gun game with Tampa, something you don't want to do. Nathan Horton didn't have a great night, but he ended it well. Great shot for him to win the game. That's what he needs to do.

It was a great game, too bad no one saw it. On to New Jersey tomorrow.

Indeed. Thanks Goldie, thanks to all who came on here to keep me company. Thanks to Bill and Randy for a fun call of what sounded like a fun game.

Will blog with you tomorrow. Drive careful everyone....

LIVE! Radio Spectacular

Going to dinner in Fort Lauderdale, but sould be back in Sunrise (where the sun meets the ice, or something like that) and online right here sometime in the first period.

Plan on a live chat, Q&A, whatever.

Come on back, ya hear?

See you soon.....

TV Free Tuesday with the Panthers ... Cory Stillman Out ... Steve Stamkos with Lecavalier and St. Louis ... Versus blacks out the Panthers

114SUNRISE -- Not on this leg of the trip, picking it up tomorrow in lovely, balmy Newark (where the weather folks say it is snowing today).

Joe "Gator Clause" Goodman is on the scene, covering your Florida Panthers as if they were in the hunt for a national championship.

Let's just hope he remembers to reference them as 'Panthers' each time. Sometimes during the summer, I found myself referencing the Marlins as Panthers on rare, yet embarrassing, occasion. When you cover one team so long, your fingers find it hard to type in something different.

That's why we have editors.

Anyway, the Gators -- err, Panthers -- will be without Cory Stillman tonight. He missed practice yesterday with what we were told were flu-like conditions, but it now seems he was suffering from post-concussion conditions. Concussions suck and the Panthers and Stillman are 100 percent in the right to take as many precautions with this as possible.

Brett McLean wasn't at the skate this morning, I'm told, because of a family concern back in SoFla. He'll join the team today and will play tonight.

-- Seen Stamkos? The Panthers will. Steve Stamkos, the first pick in last summer's draft, hasn't been getting as much playing time as some folks in Tampa would like -- and that's just one reason given for the dismissal of one Barry Melrose. Well, Stamkos is now on the top line with Tampa's Big Two, Martin St. Louis and Vinny Lecavalier. "Now,'' he told The St. Pete Times, "the pressure is on me.''

-- Speaking of the Tampa Trib, Erik E reports the Bolts' fourth line tonight consists of former Panthers Chris Gratton and Gary Roberts along with Adam Hall.

-- Also, here is the reason tonight's game isn't on television: Yell at FSN all you want, but this isn't their deal. Blame the crazy NHL/Versus exclusive blackout. Tonight is one of those nights. No other games in the U.S. can be broadcast during Versus' time frame, with the thought that all of a sudden ratings for Minnesota-Pittsburgh will go through the roof.

If the Bolts wanted to move the game to 9:30, which would kill their gate, then it could be on TV. But that would never happen.

I think this exclusive is total BS and is doing more harm than good. People who wanted to watch their team (example TB-FLA) will just turn on the radio and watch something else. An exclusive window only hurts in the long run. And the upside of it (what, a fraction of a ratings point increase? maybe?) isn't worth the bad PR in markets where games people actually want to see aren't being televised.

Let the markets decide what they want to watch, not lawyers from Versus.

The NHL needs to end this exclusive window now. Versus doesn't deserve it, and the local markets feeling the pinch don't either.