Monthly Archives: January 2013
With music blasting in the dressing room, Dale Tallon smiling, the atmosphere here in Sunrise was completely different than it’s been in the last few days. A tight game at the beginning became wide open by the third period as the Florida Panthers defeated the Winnipeg Jets 6-3 to end their five game losing streak.
The Panthers had four unanswered goals in the final nine minutes of regulation with Tomas Kopecky getting an empty netter at the very end. Lots of positives to take out of this one, and you can tell that the tightness while not 100% gone, certainly has dissipated.
The win which is only the second of the season, allows the Panthers to head out for a three game road trip with a positive attitude, and with something to build on. Coach Kevin Dineen mentioned that a win like this is just one step to getting back to the way they know they should play. He’s actually looking forward to the three game road trip, as everyone will be together for a few days, and not have any local distractions to take their mind off the game. He’s looking at this trip as a way to continue building the chemistry on the team.
Peter Mueller who has now scored in three consecutive games was pleased with the effort, and was very happy for Jose Theodore.
Dave will have a full recap in the morning.
In closing, this was a much needed win, and the players knew it. Hard work by everyone is needed for them to be successful. Tonight they got it.
I told you it wasn’t time to panic!
Thank you for reading. We welcome your comments and opinions.
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WINNIPEG JETS: 3-2-1 (7 PTS.) vs. FLORIDA PANTHERS: 1-5-0 (2 PTS.)
GAME DAY SONG: The Ties That Bind. Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
Dustin Byfuglien and the Winnipeg Jets are hoping to feast on a frustrated and embarrassed Florida Panthers hockey team tonight, as the Jets look to rebound from a 4-3 loss in Montreal on Monday. Prior to that the Jets were on a three game winning streak, however in these last four games, Winnipeg has allowed the first goal in each of them. Something the Panthers need to consider as a quick start and a lead in the opening minutes would go a long way in building their shattered confidence. Head coach Claude Noel is rightfully concerned about giving up early goals:
“You can’t keep giving up goals early in the first period and expect that you’re going to come back, it’s just not the right way to play,” coach Claude Noel said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re home or on the road, it’s just a recipe for disaster.”
Blake Wheeler has scored three goals so far, and they’ve all come within the last four games he’s played in. Last season was Wheeler’s best as a pro as he scored 17 goals and had 47 assists for 64 points while playing in 80 games for the Jets. At 26 years old the big winger is just about to enter his prime, and it will be interested to see how he progresses. The interesting thing about Winnipeg is that their top two scorers are defenceman, as Tobias Enstrom and Big Buff lead the team with 7 points each, along with forward Evander Kane.
After six games the Florida Panthers have opened the season with a five game losing streak after winning on opening night, and haven’t looked good doing it. Out played, out hustled, and in some cases outsmarted, things haven’t been this grim for quite some time. During this stretch Florida has scored only five goals while the opposition has potted 23. The power play can’t score, and the penalty kill unit can’t stop anyone. No matter where you look, you have the feeling that this won’t get turned around anytime soon.
I have watched an awful lot of hockey in my life, and have seen some awful teams, and have seen some great teams. I watch the game with passion, and with a high level of expectation. What we are seeing right now a team that is frustrated, nervous, and at times confused on the ice. They don’t plan to play that way, but they are. And if you think the players don’t know this, you’re sadly mistaken. The looks on their faces after the games tell you everything. These boys care, they’re frustrated, and they want to fix this as soon as possible. If you’ve never heard the term “holding your stick too tight”, this is what’s happening. There’s too many players that are trying to do too much, which causes them to get away from their normal style of play. It looks messy for sure, and though injuries are a small part of all this, I’m not using that as an excuse. The team needs to work hard at all ends of the ice, they need to start to win the battles, and play with more energy. One win is all it takes to start to fix this.
After having their first two day break since the season started January 19th, one would’ve figured a hungry, desperate, somewhat rested Florida Panthers squad would’ve found their way to the state’s west coast for its game Tuesday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning. And then at the end of the first period, that this game was headed the same way as the past four games: a lopsided loss, this time 5-2, characterized by an anemic offense and sloppy defensive play.
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FLORIDA PANTHERS: 1-4-0 (2 PTS.) vs. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING: 4-1-0 (8 PTS.)
GAME DAY SONG: The Rising. Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
The interstate rivals meet tonight for the first time this season with exact opposite records. The Florida Panthers are in the midst of a four game losing streak, while the Tampa Bay Lightning are on a three game winning streak and coming off a 5-1 spanking of the Philadelphia Flyers Sunday evening. In that game the high scoring Lightning saw veteran Martin St. Louis contribute four assists, while Steven Stamkos added a goal and an assist to give him 10 points on the year so far. The Lightning who have an abundance of scoring are tied for the league lead in goals for (24) with the St. Louis Blues, and are averaging 4.8 per game.
Stamkos however is not the team leader in points, as Martin St. Louis sits at the top with 11 (3G- 8A). Forwards Teddy Purcell, who had a goal and two assists against the Flyers, and rookie Cory Conacher add some additional scoring depth as well, presenting more than just top top guns to be careful of, and we haven’t even mentioned the ever dangerous Vincent Lecavalier. The Panthers who haven’t been very sharp of late, and have made numerous defensive mistakes, had better be on their game tonight, or it will be over quickly. This Tampa team can score in bunches and they can spread it around as well, making them one of the more offensively dangerous teams in the league, and they know it:
“When you get a little confidence going, as our offensive players have right now, you try to run with it,” Stamkos said. “We know, once we get on a roll, we’re a tough team to beat.”
The Florida Panthers made it official shortly after the team rigorous practice on Monday, that after five games, rookie Jonathan Huberdeau is staying with the big club. This is good news for a team that hasn’t had much so far while in the middle of a four game losing streak. Despite being hit with injuries at the forward position, it would have been very difficult to send Huberdeau back to the minors for a number of reasons.
At this point in his young career he has nothing else left to prove by going back to juniors. Scoring 72 points in 30 games last season, and 105 the season before, there really wasn’t much else for him to do. So far this season the 19 year old former first round pick has one goal and two assists for three points, and even though those points all came on opening night, has been one of the more effective Panther forwards so far. Playing on the second line, mostly with Peter Mueller and Alex Kovalev, the trio has created more scoring opportunities than the other forwards, and has used their speed and skill to their advantage. Should they keep that up, the points will come. With injuries to forward still cramping the Panthers, rookie Drew Shore was put on a line with Mueller and Huberdeau Saturday night, and was the most effective line of the game.
Huberdeau has been averaging close to 16 mintues per nght, and is seeing time on the power play, which puts him in situations where he can succeed. And that is the key for the highly skilled youngster. He has made some veteran plays already, with his keen passes, as well as his knowledge of where to be. His “no look” pass to Scottie Upshall against Carolina was slick move that most players his age would never have had the confidence to make. If he can continue to do those things, and continue to build his confidence, the sky really is the limit for him.
After splitting a two game series last weekend with the Oklahoma City Barons, the San Antonio Rampage were back at the AT&T Center in San Antonio Friday night for game one of a home and home series with the Texas Stars. The Rampage got the scoring started about one minute into the tilt when Alex Petrovic and Jared Gomes set up Jonathan Hazen for his second goal of the season. Tyler Sloan recorded his first goal as a member of the Stars late in the second period to tie the game. After a scoreless third period, the two teams headed to overtime. The overtime hero was Jon Rheault for the Rampage who gave San Antonio the important extra point.
Saturday night the two teams faced off again at the Ceder Park Center. The Stars built up a 2-0 lead during the first 20 minutes of play thanks to a pair of goals from Justin Dowling. Midway though the game, Casey Wellman and the Rampage cut the Stars’ lead in half with a power play goal. Texas regained their two goal lead just minutes later on the power play with Dowling netting his third of the game for the hat trick. The Stars added one more goal late in the third with the Rampage net empty to seal their victory and give them a 4-1 win. Read the rest of this entry
During the summer of 2011 shortly after the free agent fenzy, pundits all around the NHL scoffed at what the Florida Panthers and General Manager Dale Tallon accomplished. Bringing in more than 10 new faces to the team with trades and free agent signings, most believed there was no way the team was going to mesh quickly enough to compete for a playoff spot, let alone a division championship. Craig Button, Mike Milbury among others were all driving the bandwagon bus of doom and gloom that was headed straight to South Florida. Too many new faces, too many uncertainties, a new coaching staff, and last place finish the season before were too much to overcome.
Chemistry was the biggest concern, which is normally a valid point, yet many of the players acquired at the time had played together at some point in their careers. While I’m not going to go down the list, it didn’t take a long time for coach Kevin Dineen to sort out his lines, his defensive pairings, and his goaltending rotation, before the Panthers got off to a quick start, which catapulted them into first place in the Southeast division for most of the season. Ultimately they won their franchise first ever division championship as neither Washington nor Tampa Bay could catch up. The lines clicked, the defence was solid, and the goaltending led by veteran Jose Theodore as the starter, and Scott Clemmensen as the backup surprised eveyone with their above average play.
After last night’s embarrassing performance by the Florida Panthers at home against the Philadelphia Flyers, I am sure the last thing you want to do is read more analysis about it. Take your mind off the four game losing streak, and stop asking yourself what’s going to happen next, and look at these videos instead.
First up is Coach’s Corner with Don Cherry. As always Don is never afraid to speak his mind, give his opinion, slam the desk, and of course wear the craziest looking outfits he can find. Nonetheless, he does provide entertainment. In Saturday night’s segment he covers among other things: 1) Fighting, and how the officials need to know when to step in and break them up, and how they should never ask a player if they’ve had enough. 2) Standing up for your teammates, something that’s missing from a few NHL teams. 3) Linesman and the frustration of waiting for them to “drop the puck”. 4) The Nail Yakupov goal celebration. Cherry was extremely animated about this one saying that Yakupov “acted like an idiot” and “you don’t do stuff like that”. Watch for yourself:
When you lose 7-1 on your home ice the way the Florida Panthers did Saturday night to the Philadelphia Flyers, there’s really not a need to recap and analyze the game. Pick a phase of the game and the Panthers were beat in it. It was every bit as ugly as the pre-Christmas 8-0 beat down last season laid on by the Boston Bruins.
Just a week ago, this same team dominated the Carolina Hurricanes and gave a glimpse of what everyone expected coming off the team’s first ever division title. Since then, the Panthers have been dominated in four games while being outscored 18-3. And rapid downward spiral has fans thinking that Dale Tallon will make a ‘shake up’ move much like he did last year but, in reality, this team has so many apparent gaping holes that one move is simply a band aid on a stab wound.
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