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4 posts from August 2016

August 25, 2016

BOLLAND CAP RELIEF: Panthers dump big contract on Coyotes, but cost isn't cheap

Crouse2

@GeorgeRichards

The Panthers were finally able to find a taker on the remainder of Dave Bolland's contract Thursday with the Arizona Coyotes taking on three years of $5.5 million per.

Of course, the Panthers had to give something up: top prospect Lawson Crouse.

Florida's top pick (11th) in the 2015 draft held in Sunrise, Crouse was expected to make a run at a roster spot in the coming weeks once training camp opens.

His chances seem better to stick with the Coyotes than they did to stay with the Panthers; because of his age, Crouse can either play in the NHL or go back to his junior team.

Here's my story on the deal...

 

 

August 19, 2016

KEEPING IT LOCAL: Jokinen, Vokoun and Dvorak remain on ice in South Florida

Ollipomp2
@GeorgeRichards

As you may have noticed, a lot of the local hockey news coming out of South Florida this summer has come out of the South Florida Hockey Academy in Lighthouse Point.

Well, what exactly is the South Florida Hockey Academy in Lighthouse Point?

I wrote a piece on Olli Jokinen's new venture and you can check out their website right here.

Jokinen is joined by a number of hockey folks from all over, including Radek Dvorak, Tomas Vokoun and Petr Sykora. 

Current NHL players like Keith Yandle, Erik Gudbranson, Steven Kampfer and Dmitry Kulikov have been working out with Olli & Co. for much of the summer.

They've been working alongside younger players such as Randy Hernandez and recent South Florida draftees Andrew Peeke (second-round, Columbus) and Brandon Duhaime (fourth, Minnesota).

It's a pretty cool setup and something that looks like it has been needed here for a long time.

As always, thanks for reading!

 

 

KEITH YANDLE: Hard at work in South Florida

@GeorgeRichards

Keith Yandle was out at the South Florida Hockey Academy on Thursday when, by coincidence, both myself and Sr. Harvey showed up.

So we talked to him.

Yandle seemed very excited to get going and has settled into his new digs near Fort Lauderdale beach with his wife and two small children.

Yandle said Florida being very aggressive as well as having a good, young team helped sway him to sign before becoming a free agent on July 1. I'm sure the seven-year deal didn't hurt either.

Anyway, check out the story.

The video interview is below.

 

August 17, 2016

SAYING GOODBYE: Both Erik Gudbranson and Dmitry Kulikov surprised by trades

@GeorgeRichards

Kuli3
In case you missed it, I ran into Erik Gudbranson and Dmitry Kulikov (as well as Olli Jokinen, Steven Kampfer and Tomas Vokoun) at Jokinen's South Florida Hockey Academy held at Glacier in Lighthouse Point.

Both Gudbranson and Kulikov told me they were surprised to be traded after years with the Florida Panthers. With time, however, both are over the shock and seem ready to move on with their new teams.

Here's the link to my story with some key quotes pulled out. 

Kulikov: 

“I had heard some rumors but was really surprised because I hadn’t heard that Buffalo was one of the teams that wanted me,’’ said Kulikov, who was sent to Buffalo for fellow defenseman Mark Pysyk and a swap of draft picks on the second day of the NHL draft in June.

“I’m excited to change the scenery a little bit, go on to a new team. It felt right for some reason. After being here so many years … There were times I wanted Florida to trade me, then we drafted some good players and the team started to turn around and it was fun, so, at that point, I wanted to stay. But when the trade came, it felt like a good opportunity for me to step up my game.”

Gudbranson:

“There’s a buzz around hockey here now and I’d like to think that, as part of the Panthers the past few years, we created it,’’ he said. “It’s sort of sad to leave, but hopefully this thing continues to grow and hockey becomes the prominent sport down here.”

“I was surprised about the trade, but Vancouver is a huge hockey market and I’m excited to be going there,” said Gudbranson, sent west for forward Jared McCann.

“This is a team held in pretty high regard. On an individual level you have to be ready to make a difference. I’m excited to keep going this summer, step right in there. It was a shock to be traded, I didn’t see it coming. But it’s a business. I’ll keep going.”

I also have two videos -- one from Gudbranson, the other from Kulikov -- that I think are worth checking out. I did the interview and edited it myself!