Not all NHL records receive admiration and praise, and holding the streak for most games played without a postseason berth is certainly among those. Former Panther Jay Bouwmeester has long been branded as the league’s iron man, not having missed a game since the 2003-04 season, but that commendable endurance has never translated into anything past April.
A former All Star blue-liner for the Cats, Bouwmeester was recently sent from Calgary to play under esteemed head coach Ken Hitchcock and the St. Louis Blues. Historically known as a defense-oriented team, the Blues gave up a first round pick in the upcoming draft, D Mark Cundari and G Reto Barra in return. On paper, the deal seems to favor St. Louis as they sit in sixth place in the West and fight to remain in the playoff position up only four points on Phoenix in ninth.
It was much to the enjoyment of Panthers fans last season as the Cats finally tasted some form of playoff success after a long 12 year wait, while the Flames tanked and the dark streak continued on another year for Bouwmeester. He was among the top defensemen to ever suit up for the Panthers, and the perception by which Calgary acquired him is likely what made another failed attempt at the playoffs a bit more gratifying. Read the rest of this entry
Amidst a 2-4-4 skid in their last 10 games, the Panthers desperately need to unlock some sort of winning formula if they still want to make a push for the playoffs, and fast. The bottom teams in the East are all separated by a mere six points, and a condensed season is the enemy to those squads trying to make their case for a postseason berth.
As we enter into the month of March, frustration looms among Cats fans who have only seen their team win on home ice three times all season. Many argue that inconsistent goaltending is the primary issue, while others offer that a shoddy defense is the the main contributor to the Panthers’ lack of success. If you’re an equally frustrated spectator, you would likely believe that it is a number of ailments rather than one pinpointed problem that has doomed the Panthers to fall below mediocrity. With that, here are three keys (while perhaps obvious) that could help provide a desperately needed surge headed into the second half of the season. Read the rest of this entry
Whether you refer to him as “Alex” or “Alexei,” Kovalev has certainly made a name for himself within the NHL over his 18 year career. Between multiple stints with the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins and the Montreal Canadiens, Kovalev’s most recent bounce landed him in Sunrise by way of Ottawa. It’s possible that suiting up for the Florida Panthers might be the last hoorah for the 6’1″ winger, who has hit and/or surpassed the 20 goal mark in 12 different seasons.
So far, Kovalev has tallied four points on two goals and two assists for the Cats. While his impact might currently be that of a role player to provide guidance and leadership to some of the newer, younger faces within the franchise, his on ice production shouldn’t necessarily be his only contribution. After all, he is a member of the elite 1,000-point club. He spent last year abroad, but just two seasons ago during which he only played 54 games, he netted a decent 13 goals and tacked on 13 assists for the Senators. Read the rest of this entry
Mike Modano, the Livonia, Michigan native who spent the vast majority of his NHL career with the same franchise, was recently inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame along with Lou Lamoriello and Ed Olcyzk.
Modano was the first overall pick of the 1988 draft, selected by the then-Minnesota North Stars. Five years later, the club moved south to Dallas, removed “North” from the team’s name, won the Stanley Cup after one of the most controversial goals in Finals history in 1999, and never looked back. Modano played his final season with the Detroit Red Wings, but by the time he had retired in 2011, he led the Stars in all of the highly touted offensive statistics: Read the rest of this entry
A few days ago, Krys Barch posted a multi-tweet rant on Twitter illustrating his thoughts on the NHL lockout. Perhaps it could’ve been sparked by the adult beverage or two he admitted to consuming at the time, but I’d say it’s more likely he is just flat out as fed up as the rest of us. I have met the former Panther tough guy before, and he is just as animated in person as he is on the ice or behind his keyboard. In case you missed it, here is said rant: Read the rest of this entry
I write this week with a heavy heart, as I’m sure you all can relate to. Week 1 of the lockout has seen no forward progress but rather the cancellation of pre-season games and the firing of our beloved Stanley C. Panther. It is difficult to remain sane in these tough times, especially knowing that there is nothing one can do as fan to bring hockey back. The only way I’ve been able to cope is to find the slightest bit of humor in this mess.
In no way am I suggesting that I am making fun of the game or being insensitive to those who have already suffered true impact from what is a very serious work stoppage. But, at the end of the day, I am a merely a fan who is hurting. A fan who wants to scream at the top of her lungs as the clock ticks on with no relief. Maybe I’ve already started losing mental stability, but I ache for some sense of escape from this nightmare. That said, I present some light-hearted NHL memes that might echo how you are feeling as well: Read the rest of this entry
Livid. Frustrated. Concerned. Exhausted. Sick. Helpless.
If you’re like me, the above emotions describe exactly how you’ve been feeling over the last few months. You’re nauseated over the site of Gary Bettman at a podium. You hear the words “wide” and “gap” paired together and you suddenly want to punch the nearest wall. You imagine an October with no hockey and you want to crawl into a hole and not come out until play resumes.
But most of all, you feel completely and utterly helpless. That’s the worst part of this never-ending labor mess for me. I have friends (some hockey fans, some not) come up and ask “so how are things looking, you think?” and all you can do is shrug and muster a “not good.” That response has not changed during any point of the CBA negotiations. Perhaps in some twisted sense, it’s better that way seeing as how we haven’t really had reason to get our hopes up. At the same token, though, enough is enough. When is there going to be a light at the end of the tunnel for the die-hards? Read the rest of this entry