Happy Easter hockey fans! While many of you will find Easter baskets filled with chocolate and scratch off lottery tickets waiting for your this morning, we here at Panther Parkway decided to give you a new kind of Easter Egg. For this special holiday, we have put together a list of fun Florida Panthers’ Easter Eggs for you to enjoy. Everything from fun stats to interesting facts about the Panthers’ season are listed below, enjoy!
*Statistics shown are correct as of March 30, 2013.
- Between Stephen Weiss, Sean Bergenheim, Ed Jovanovski, Kris Versteeg, and Jose Theodore, the Panthers currently have $15,875,000 worth of salary out for the remainder of the 2013 season.
- The Florida Panthers are heading towards being the first Southeast Division champion to miss the playoffs the following year since the Atlanta Thrashers failed to reach the playoffs during the 2007-2008 season.
- Panthers’ rookie forward Drew Shore and Head Coach Kevin Dineen both played college hockey for the University of Denver.
- Forward George Parros needs just 21 PIM’s to reach 1000 for his career.
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If you’re the Florida Panthers, you might want to have a chartered jet on standby on a runway in San Antonio. Jose Theodore, Scottie Upshall and Dmitry Kulikov all left with injuries Saturday night’s thrashing at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes, forcing an already short-handed team looking towards their American Hockey League affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage, for help.
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On a night in which the Florida Panthers played possibly one of their best all-around games of the season, the unlucky Cats still could not pull off a victory over the Buffalo Sabres, inevitably losing 4-3 in a shootout.
The action at the BB&T Center kicked off early on on Thursday night as George Parros and John Scott squared off for a heavyweight bout only 2:37 into the game. Although Parros was able to get in a few good punches, Scott eventually dropped Parros’ to his knees – giving him his second victory against the veteran figther this season. Parros last chance to beat Scott this year will come when the Panthers face the Sabres for the final time during the regular season on March 28th.
After the dust had settled from the brawl, the real action got underway as the Panthers and Sabres combined for an astounding 5 goals during the first period of play alone. Although he was impressive in his shutout relief appearance of Jose Theodore on Tuesday night, backup Scott Clemmensen just didn’t seem to have his head on straight Thursday against the Sabres. Clemmensen allowed 3 goals on just 10 shots before being pulled in favor of Jose Theodore. Much like Theodore’s performance on Tuesday night, Clemmensen fell victim to allowing soft and costly goals – a trend that hopefully won’t continue for either netminder.
As previously reported by Panther Parkway, the Florida Panthers are now juggling three goaltenders after recalling top goalie prospect Jacob Markstrom from the AHL on Wednesday.
After a series of cringe-worthy games and giving up an NHL-leading 3.73 goals per game on average, the Panthers finally decided to cave into the fan’s outcry to give the young netminder a chance to help change the team’s fortunes. Although a lot of the team’s recent woe’ can be attributed to their defense just as much as their goaltending, it was clear that something had to be done to shake things up and this was by far the easiest option.
Those worried that Markstrom will be negatively affected by playing in front of a porous defense should remember that Markstrom did play in 7 games for the Panthers last season where he went 2-4-1 with a 2.66 GAA / .923 SV%. While last’s year defense was playing better than the Panthers’ current unit, the fact that Markstrom has already been tested at the NHL level should keep his mental stability intact.
However, now that Markstrom is heading for the big stage, what will become of the current regime of Jose Theodore and Scott Clemmensen? With both Clemmensen and Theodore serving one-way contracts and neither bound for the AHL anytime soon, it is clear that one of these two netminders will have to leave the Panthers’ now crowded crease.
But who should go and why? Here is how I see the Panthers’ options for both Jose Theodore and Scott Clemmensen.
Currently playing on a 1-year $1,500,00 contract and scheduled to be a un-restricted free agent next season, Jose Theodore would be the Panthers’ easiest player to move if Jacob Markstrom remains in the NHL through the rest of the season.
Although he has had a handful of standout games this year, Jose Theodore is still having a less than stellar statistical season – compiling a 4-6-2 record with a 3.37 GAA / .893 SV%. Even though his defense has left him out to dry on several occasions, Theodore has still fallen victim to allowing quite a few soft goals this season and hasn’t resembled the goaltender that helped carry the Panthers to a Southeast Division title last season.
Considering he is in the last year of his contract, a veteran goaltender like Theodore could intrigue several teams if he were to hit the trading block in the coming weeks. Team’s in need of a backup goaltender such as the Philadelphia Flyers could be willing to part with a draft pick or perhaps more if they believe that a change of scenery could help squeeze out the last bit of greatness that Theodore has at this stage of his career.
If Markstrom does end up excelling at the NHL level this season, I fully expect General Manager Dale Tallon to receive a few phone calls about Jose Theodore’s availability.
Some may find my writing or commentary here and on Twitter insensitive, negative or arrogant. While that’s not who I am, I do take solace in being fair and truthful as I see and perceive things. If you’re looking for an apologist or a “homer” that’s not me. If you want fair opinion, then you’re in the right place. This article is in response to many of the discussions that were had after Saturday’s loss to Tampa.
The Florida Panthers will complete their four game homestand tonight against the much improved Toronto Maple Leafs hoping to get at least one win out of the four games played here in Sunrise. A rather disappointing week finds the Panthers with an 0-0-3 record on home ice in which they’ve squandered a two goal lead late in the game, not once, but twice. Only to see both games lost shortly into overtime. Those games saw the Panthers erupt for five goals in each tilt, but sandwiched between them was a 1-0 overtime shutout by Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens. It seems as though the Florida Panthers score five goals, or no goals on their way to a consistently inconsistent season.
After this weeks overtime losses to division foes Washington and Tampa Bay, many of the same mistakes that Panther fans have been accustomed to over the years began to raise their ugly heads again causing many probing questions, as well as some harsh remarks from the fan base. Many are calling for the Panthers to get Jacob Markstrom here as fast as possible with confidence in Jose Theodore fading, and trust in Scott Clemmensen almost non existent. The losing is certainly frustrating, and the fragility and lack of confidence in the team is clearly present. Especially late in games.
While many are quick to judge and ready to pull the plug on the current goaltending tandem, to be fair, one must take a long hard look at what else is happening on the ice before making such a statement. While this isn’t an apology for either Theodore, or Clemmensen, who both must be sharper and more consistent, there are a glut of other issues that contribute to this seasons erratic and frustrating play. It was after a home game earlier in the year when Captain Ed Jovanovski commented in the dressing room that play in all three zones has to be better. It was an issue more than 2 weeks ago, and it’s still an issue now. Which brings us to the point of this article.
Tuesday night, the Florida Panthers scored five goals….and lost in overtime. Thursday night, the same Panthers squad only gave up one goal….and lost in overtime. Rene Bourque’s tip in 2:10 into overtime wasA all the visiting Montreal Canadiens would need as they downed the Cats 1-0.
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FLORIDA PANTHERS: 4-5-1 (9 PTS.) vs. Washington Capitals: 2-8-1 (5 pts.)
Game Day Song: Working On The Highway. Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
The final game of a long road trip can be a dangerous one from a few angles. Players are weary, tired of living our of suitcases, traveling, and potentially have their minds on getting home rather than finishing the task at hand. The Florida Panthers will play their fourth game of this week against the Washington Capitals tonight in D.C. and then return home to the sunshine and warmth of South Florida. The good news is that the Panthers have grabbed five of six points on the trip so far, and the prospect of facing the struggling Capitals tonight could leave them with seven of eight if they come out with a victory. All in all since their victory over Winnipeg at home, the Panthers have taken seven out of eight points in their last four games, and have scored an average of 3.5 goals per game in that span. Prior to that during an 0-5-0 streak Florida scored five goals total. While not a model of consistency, things are looking up since the five gam,e losing streak. Remember when I told you not to panic?
A big boost to Florida’s confidence has to be the come from behind victory on Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers, which they won in the shootout no less. After trailing 2-1 heading into the third period, the Panthers managed to tie the game at two when Stephen Weiss picked up his first goal of the season (on the power play) with just over 11 minutes remaining. Then goaltender Jose Theodore held off the Flyers the rest of the way, as the Panthers needed to kill two third period penalties as well to get to extra hockey. The overtime period was all Philly as they otushot Florida 5-0, but Theodore stood tall, and looked confiedent going into the skills competition. Jonathan Huberdeau and Peter Mueller scored for Florida beating Ilya Bryzgalov, while Matt Read and Claude Giroux were stuffed by Theo. It was yet another gutsy victory by the Panthers who once agaion displayed their hard working style which made them so effective last season. The victory for Theodore was his third in a row as he heads into Washington:
“Coming in here and getting two points is huge for our confidence,” said Theodore, who’s 1-5-0 with a 3.88 goals-against average in his last seven games as an opponent at Washington.
Maybe going to the shootout this season won’t be such a bad thing for the Florida Panthers. In 2011-12, the Cats stumbled to a 6-17 in the skills competition thanks in large part to a group of forwards who weren’t exactly known for dynamic one-on-one play. With the infusion of new talent up front for this season, there was hope that last season’s Achilles heel would become a strength. And if Thursday’s 3-2 SO win over the Philadelphia Flyers is any indication, the shootout is no longer something to lament.
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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.
If you want a bright side to the Florida Panthers 3-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators Thursday night, the only may be that they only have to face them and Craig Anderson, the Cats early season nemesis once more The former Florida netminder followed up Monday’s shutout by stopping 25 of 26 shots for his second win against the Panthers this week.
After falling behind early in their past two contests, the Panthers needed to play well off the opening face off. And while, they didn’t do that, they were successful in getting the first goal. Tomas Fleischmann’s first period, power play goal eight seconds into a Sergei Gonchar penalty gave the Panthers their first lead in a game since last Saturday. The lead would be short-lived as Chris Phillips would drive home his own power play goal three minutes later.
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