Are Some Teams In Favor Of Cancelling The Season?

Not much in the way of news lately as we await the next cancellation which is likely to be the Winter Classic, followed by the All-Star game.  With the month of November down the drain, December 1st is a long way from now, but the next 30 days will go very quickly and unless the two sides start to sit down, nothing will happen.  With the chaos created by Sandy, it’s understandable that many people may not be available to meet and that storm has presented a different kind of problem.

The way things stand right now, we continue to hear a bunch of posturing about how the players want to talk, and that the owners want to talk, but only when something is on the table worth talking about.  Then of course you have the daily rants by agent Allan Walsh, who if nothing else must be commended for his persistence.  But it probably stops there as his one-sided view now consist of a Twitter pissing match with TSN’s Darren Dreger.  I fully respect Dreger’s analysis of any situation, and always find his information to be solid and trustworthy.  On trade deadline day you all know that a trade isn’t official unless Darren Dreger says it is. [Read more...]

I Need My Hockey Fix(ed).

I need my hockey fix(ed). Source: Frank Rekas

The last lockout ended up costing the entire season,  and when it was ultimately settled, many held positive hope that the two sides would never behave so ridiculously and let it happen again.  Yet here we are less than 10 years later facing the same potential “nightmare” once more.  With the announcement this past Thursday that the entire month of games for November were going to be cancelled, many began to think that the balance of the season is in jeopardy as well.  We’ll likely hear sometime this week that both the Winter Classic and the All-Star game won’t be played either. Two main events that besides the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which allow the NHL to showcase this great game.

When I look back at how I felt about the last lockout, I can honestly say that I was on the players side all the way.  While I didn’t object to the imposed salary cap, which I still feel is needed, I felt that the players gave up more than they had bargained for not only in lost salary for the year, but in the roll back of salary as well.  However it was for the better of the game, and appeared to be worth it at the time. The last lockout also saw many older players retire, or return as a mere shadow of themselves.  Jeremy Roenick was just one of those players who was not quite the same upon his return, and admitted how much the time off hurt him, and other players like him.  We face that same dilemma under the current stalemate with players like Ray Whitney, Daniel Alfredsson, Teemu Selanne, and even Martin Brodeur.  The longer this goes, the greater the chance is that we may have seen the last of some of the NHL’s great players.  Or even worse, a player will return only to suffer an injury which will be too much for him to recover from, and cause him to retire.  Not the way that he’ll want to finish his career.

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The Rampage Report: October 29, 2012

San Antonio Rampage (Photo by Amanda Land).

The San Antonio Rampage headed north to Illinois for a three game, two city road trip last weekend.  The first stop was in Rockford to take on the Ice Hogs on Thursday Night. It didn’t take long for the  first goal of the evening to get up on the board. Andre Deveaux netted his first goal as a member of the Rampage just 53 seconds into the contest. Quinton Howden and Drew Shore both recorded their third assists of the season on the goal. The score stood at 1-0 San Antonio until almost the 2nd intermission. With just 41 seconds left in the 2nd  period and Howden in the box for high-sticking , Brandon Pirri scored his second goal of the season to even the score at 1 for the Ice Hogs. The game remained tied for the third period and the five-minute overtime period and the two teams headed to the shootout. Greg Rallo , James Wright, Casey Wellman and Drew Shore couldn’t manage to get the puck past Rockford’s goalie, Carter Hutton, during the four round shootout. Dov Grumet-Morris turned away shots from Jeremy Morin and Brandon Pirri, but Martin St. Pierre and  Marcus Kruger were able to get their shots past Grumet-Morris to give the Ice Hogs the shoot out win.

Jacob Markström got the nod from head coach Chuck Weber Saturday night to start the game against the Wolves in the Windy City. Zack Kassian tallied his fourth goal of the season 38 seconds into the game, and Michael Davies netted another six minutes later to give the Wolves an early 2-0 lead. San Antonio was able to get a goal past Chicago goaltender, Eddie Läck, before the buzzer sounded to end the first period. Jean-Francois Jacques and Colby Robak set up Jared Gomes for his second goal as a member of the Silver and Black to cut the Wolves lead in half. A little over a minute in, Deveaux  evened the playing field when he scored the Rampage’s second goal of the night on a power play. The remainder of the period was all Chicago. The Wolves added three goals to the scoreboard during the last five minutes of play in the second period to give themselves a comfortable 5-2 lead with 20 minutes left to play. When the game started up again, the Rampage’s offense seemed to as well. Drew Shore kicked off the period with a goal 50 seconds in on the power play with Andre Deveaux and Jason DeSantis picking up the assists. Five minutes later J-F Jacques and Tyson Strachan scored a minute apart from each other and added two more power play goals for San Antonio to re-tie the score at 5 goals a piece. With less than three minutes remaining in the game, Jordan Schroeder picked up the game winning goal for Chicago and gave the Wolves the 6-5 win. [Read more...]

Did You Know The University Of Miami Has A Hockey Team?

For those fans in South Florida looking for a local hockey fix of some sort, I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind you that the University of Miami has a hockey team.  The home games are played at the Kendall Ice Arena, which from Broward County is no more than a 45 minute drive, unless you’re driving backwards.  The above slide show was taken from a game last March against FIU which the Canes won 11-3.

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NHL Cancels November. Thanksgiving Reportedly Still On However

Maybe he’ll be home for the holidays instead? Photo Source; Michael Miller/Pens Through My Lens via wikimedia commons

And down goes another month.

In a move that makes Lindsay Lohan’s reasoning seems sound, the National Hockey League took out its shears and lopped off more game on Friday. This time, rather than the two week block that has been customary so far this lockout, they made it possible for hockey fans to clear their schedule for the entire month of November as it canceled all games for the month in one fell swoop. If you’re keeping count, that’s more than a quarter of the schedule that’s been swept way. That’s 326 games lost since October 11th.
[Read more...]

Why The Lockout Hurts The Florida Panthers

Hockeyarenas.com

With the announcement on Friday that the NHL is cancelling all NHL games for the month of November (over 300 games in all have now been cancelled),  it is beginning to sink in how devastating the lockout is going to be to a team like the Florida Panthers.  While not alone in this saga, the momentum that was created by last season’s division championship is beginning to lose it’s luster.  Don’t lie if you’re a Panther fan, you know this is true.

After not appearing in the playoffs for over a decade ( I am waiting to never have to say that again), the Florida Panthers finally tasted post season hockey, and did it by winning their first ever division championship.  The team which in previous years fought very hard to put fans in the building, and did it many times by virtually giving seats away (remember when you had to buy a Subway BLT sandwich to get a free ticket?), no longer was faced with such a challenge.  Last year’s season started out positively, and continued for the entire year as the Cats either flirted with or were in first place for the whole season.

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Top Ten Florida Panther Players Of 2011-2012. Number 2: Flash.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Author: Michael Miller

Tomas Fleischmann is the type of hockey player that every general manager wishes they had on their team. Not only is he respectful off the ice, he also shows great sportsmanship on it. Although he isn’t the prolific scorer that he once was in his WHL days (Western Hockey League), Fleischmann’s knowledge of the game and ability to perform at a high level is what sets him apart from many other forwards. With that being said, the number two player on the list of Top Ten Florida Panther Players from Last Season is; Tomas Fleischmann.

2011-2012 Statistics:

Games Played: 82

Goals: 27

Assist: 34

Points: 61

Game Winning Goals: 4

Tomas Fleischmann, in my opinion, is a great example of what a player in the NHL should be. Not only is he tough, he is also a player who respects the game and players throughout the league. After being drafted 63rd overall by the Detroit Red Wings in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, Fleischmann immediately made the move from the Czech Republic to the United States to play in the Western Hockey League. After what was a very successful WHL career, Fleischmann’s rights were traded to the Washington Capitals along with draft picks for center Robert Lang. On June 1st, 2006, a year and a half after being traded to Washington, Fleischmann signed his first NHL entry level contract. However, Fleischmann would go onto spend a majority of those first three years with the AHL playing for the Capitals affiliate teams.

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The Friday Feature: The Voice Of The San Antonio Rampage, Dan Weiss

For those of you who are dying to learn about the San Antonio Rampage, the AHL affiliate of the Florida Panthers, I knew there was only one place to go:  The the play by play man of the Rampage, Dan Weiss.

Dan Weiss returns for his fourth season as the “Voice of the Rampage” on Ticket 760 in San Antonio and is also the club’s Manager of Media Relations & Broadcasting.  A native of Weston, Mass., Weiss is in his 11th season of professional broadcasting, which included prior stints as the play-by-play voice of the Phoenix RoadRunners and the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies of the ECHL, and the Corpus Christi Ice Rays of the Central Hockey League.  He also has served as a studio host for the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Cardinals, and Arizona Diamondbacks.
Recognized as the 2005-06 ECHL Broadcaster of the Year, Weiss was selected to the radio broadcast team for the 2005 ECHL All-Star Game in Reading, PA and the television broadcast team for the 2008 ECHL All-Star game in Stockton, CA.
A graduate of Northeastern University, Weiss earned degrees in communications and political science and served as the Huskies’ hockey play-by-play announcer.

Dan was gracious enough to answer a few questions about this years Rampage.  Enjoy:

1) Dan, last season for the Rampage was considered to be a fairly successful one overall. A winning record during the regular season and qualifying for the Calder Cup playoffs. What were some of the more exciting things that happened for San Antonio that lead to another solid season?

Winning a playoff series for the first time in franchise history arguably was the highlight of the season. The Rampage historically have not had a tremendous amount of success on the ice, so it was nice to celebrate our 10th anniversary and reward our long-time season ticket holders and fans by not only advancing to the playoffs, but winning a round and playing into May. Personally, I will always remember the game-winning goal scored by Roman Derlyuk in double overtime against Chicago as one of the biggest highlights in my broadcasting career. Beyond what people saw on the ice, I believe that last year’s club will be remembered for how they handled and responded to adversity. Being in Texas and either bussing or flying commercial to play games all across North America, we’re used to having a difficult travel schedule. However, last year we didn’t seem to catch very many travel breaks whether it was a tire that blew on our way to Grand Rapids, or a late night arrival in Hamilton to play a 10AM game the next day. That being said, I believe those examples of off-ice adversity not only brought our group closer together, but also prepared them to overcome any on-ice adversity and was a big factor in our playoff success.

2) Strangely the Rampage scored the same amount of goals as the Florida Panthers (197) last season. With a bit of a roster turnover this year, do you think the team has more, or less firepower and why?

On paper right now, I think our offensive talent is not as superior as it was at the end of last season. We lost our top four scorers who accounted for about a third of our overall point production. But I remember saying the exact same thing about Oklahoma City at the beginning of last season and how they were going to replace their top line which totaled almost 50% of their goals in 2010-11, and they ended up advancing to the Western Conference Finals. I’m excited about watching the young players like Quinton Howden, Drew Shore, and John McFarland develop, but I think fans should also be realistic and not expect all three to necessarily be 30-goal scorers this season. The AHL like the NHL is a tough league for rookies, and it’s not easy to come in and enjoy instant success. I do believe all three players will eventually be better overall because of their time in the AHL, and hopefully that will translate into some success in the NHL down the road. In the meantime, the club will look to veterans like Casey Wellman. John Rheault, Andre Deveaux, and J-F Jacques to help fill some of the scoring void left over by the departures of Jon Matsumoto, Bill Thomas, Mark Cullen, and Bracken Kearns.

[Read more...]

Florida Panthers Will Hold Two Special Events For Season Ticket Holders

Season ticket holders of the Florida Panthers will have an opportunity to take part in two events within the next few days.

On Saturday October 27th from 11 AM to 1 PM, the Florida Panthers will hold a Halloween Party at Duffy’s Sports Grill in Plantation.  Season seat holders will have an opportunity for giveaways, activities, and tons of fun stuff to do during the Halloween Bash!

The second event will be held on a very special day, Sunday November 4th, as season ticket holders will get a chance to skate with color commentator Bill Linday at the Saveology.com Iceplex in Coral Springs.  Skating times will be from 3-4 pm and from 4:30-5:30 pm.  Skates will be provided for those who attend. To skate, Season Seat Owners must RSVP by Nov. 1 by emailing the Panthers Client Service Department at servicespecialist@floridapanthers.com or calling (954) 835-8471.

Click here for all the details on the Halloween Bash. 

Thanks for reading.  We welcome your comments and opinions.

Follow the Rat Pack on Twitter: me @TheRatTrick , David Lasseter @davidlasseter , Josh Luecht@joshluecht, Patrick McLaughlin @PatrickRattrick, Scott Mullin @GreatScottsman, David Rodriguez @davidbub_2, Paige Lewis @RatTrickLewiz Gabby Kiger @gabbykiger, Adam Reid@AdamReid Chrissy Parente @chrissaay44, Justen Rosenberg @justenrosenberg, Kris Eberwein @RatTrickKris, Lori Carpenter @lmcangel13, and Amanda Land @HockeyGirl2530.  Also, please join our FaceBook Fan Page and hit the like button, send us photos, and tell us what’s on your mind.

Jeremy Roenick Speaks Out With Bob Costas

Jeremy Roenick. Source: cjme.com

I might be a tad late on this one, but the other day former NHL star Jeremy Roenick appeared on Costas Tonight with Bob Costas.  As always JR, who is never shy, gave his opinion on this year’s lockout, with a comparison to the lockout in 2004-2005 which he experienced as a player.  JR was outspoken then too, and admitted during this interview that he lost $8.5 million dollars, which he’ll never see.  He’s not looking for pity and says so, but expresses during the interview how the lockout changed the end of his career.  It wasn’t just financial for him.  Looking back on his situation then, he was a “players guy” which he regrets to a degree, and not just from a monetary standpoint.

He admitted that the time off (a full season) caused him to struggle just to stay in the league afterwards.  Looking back on his playing days from that moment, Roenick was coming off one of the biggest goals of his career in the 2004 playoffs.  After the lockout was settled, he was then traded from the Philadelphia Flyers to the Los Angeles Kings in order to create cap space so the Flyers could sign Peter Forsberg.  Roenick’s season in 05-06 was hampered by injuries, and was his worst of his NHL career.  He then signed with the Phoenix Coyotes for one season, which was tumultuous to say the least.  Finally, JR signed with the San Jose Sharks, and was able to gain back some respectability, and finally score his 500th NHL goal as he closed out the final two years of his career.  [Read more...]

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