Florida Panthers forward Kris Versteeg is on a campaign and needs your help. The spunky, and colorful forward of the Panthers is running for the cover of NHL ’14, and want you to vote for him.
Here is the official announcment from NHL 14 and their own video trailer explaing what you need to do.
Voting begins on Monday April 22nd.
Thanks for reading. We welcome your comments and opinions.
Follow the Panther Parkway crew on Twitter: me @FrankRekas, David Lasseter @davidlasseter , Paige Lewis @PaigeLewisFL, Josh Luecht @eyesonsunrise, Jameson Cooper @JamesonCoop, Scott Mullin @GreatScottsman, Gabby Kiger @gabbykiger, 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
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.
- Read the rest of this entry
FLORIDA PANTHERS: 7-14-6 (20 PTS.) vs. BOSTON BRUINS: 17-4-3 (37 PTS.)
Game Day Song: Wrong Side Of Town.
A fragile and frustrated Florida Panthers team goes into Boston tonight to face the Boston Bruins in what could be a hostile environment. Boston who currently sits fourth overall in the Eastern Conference is coming off a 3-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday. A game in which they held a 2-0 lead until the 13:42 mark of the final period, when Pittsburgh’s Chris Kunitz broke the shutout. Less than a minute later Brandon Sutter tied it at two, and three minutes after that, Sutter scored the go ahead goal with less than three minutes left in regulation. The Penguins who played about 10 minutes of hockey, found a way to win. That’s what good teams do. Boston can’t be at all happy with that outcome, and will look to get things back on track this evening against a Florida Panther team that continues to find itself struggling game after game with injuries continuing to mount.
The problem for the Panthers, especially of late is slow starts. In four consecutive games the Florida Panthers have given up the first goal of the game within the first three minutes. Starts like that force you to play catch up, especially if you’re not a high powered offence like the Panthers, and let’s not kid ourselves…..each time that happens you can’t help but get that sinking feeling in your stomach. The one where you say to yourself, “here we go again”. It’s a major problem that needs to be corrected. Poor preparation, not motivated, not ready, tired, out of shape, not focused, etc, etc. There are no excuses for this, but there are reasons for why it’s happening, and any one of the one’s that were just mentioned are part of it, plus a few more. The injury bug that has also bith the Panthers this season can also be added to that list. I never like to use that as a sole excuse, but it has certainly factored into the overall state of the team.
Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse for the battered and bruised Florida Panthers, it looks as if forward Kris Versteeg will undergo surgery and miss the remainder of the 2013 season.
George Richards of the Miami Herald broke the news this morning that Versteeg would need surgery on his knee after an unlucky collision with Tampa Bay defenseman Radko Gudas left him laying on the ice and writhing in pain on Tuesday night.
Versteeg now joins Stephen Weiss, Sean Bergenheim and Jose Theodore in the severely wounded section of the Panthers’ roster as all four players are most likely done for the season after suffering major injuries. The Panthers are also still without defenseman Dmitry Kulikov, Ed Jovanovski, Michael Caruso and Mike Weaver – though all four should return later this season.
MONTREAL CANADIENS: 16-5-4 (36PTS.) vs. FLORIDA PANTHERS: 7-12-6 (20 PTS.)
GAMEDAY SONG: Out In The Street
The past week of hockey for the Florida Panthers has been a repeat performance of the entire season. One word that you might use to describe the results is schizophrenic. After a solid win at home on Tuesday against the Winnipeg Jets, the Cats followed that up with a clunker in Washington on Thursday, and then a spirited effort at home against those same Jets Friday night, only to come up on the short end of the score. Again. The Panthers can’t seem to buy a two game winning streak, and probably would miss the handout if they were being given away. This is how the season has gone. When things are working and when they’re prepared, the Panthers compete. Yet when they start slow, such as they did both Thursday and Friday, they either never catch up, or when they do, they run out of gas in late in the game or in overtime. We’re at the midway point of the season and you would have hoped that by now the Panthers would have found some sort of happy medium.
With injuries mounting, and with the Jekyll and Hyde performance, the Panthers are running out of time and falling further behind the pack. Making the post season at this point is likely to happen only if the Panthers win the division. And that is an extremely tall order even now. Unless they can string some wins together soon, they’ll be on the outside looking in. Preparation has been an issue as the Cats are continually suffering from sluggish starts to games and falling behind quickly. Each game at this portion of the season now becomes a must win, and with that being said, we’ll try not to type that in each preview since we already know it to be so.
In the roller coaster ride that has been the Panthers’ 2013 season up until this point, there have been a few players steadily contributing on a team filled with question marks. However, during most games this season, forward Peter Mueller has been a bright spot of stellar play – even during some of the Panthers’ worst games.
After being selected 8th overall during the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, Mueller’s career has been anything but spectacular as the promising young skater has had to battle an abundance of concussion-related problems since joining the NHL. During the 2010 season, a dirty hit from the San Jose Sharks’ Rob Blake sent Mueller to the ice, and set off a chain of events that would keep him from playing steady hockey up until this season. Since that first concussion, Mueller has been unable to play more than 32 games during a single NHL season and has been labeled as a possible liability due to his health concerns.
However, during the 2012 offseason the Florida Panthers decided to take a low-risk chance on the once promising young skater when they signed Mueller to a 1-year 1.725 million dollar contract – an investment that is paying off in spades. Through 12 games this season, Mueller currently has the 4th most points on the Panthers’ roster, compiling 7 points (4G 3A) thus far.
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.
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.
Generating offense has been a problem of sorts for the Florida Panthers since the days of Pavel Bure. And even when the Russian Rocket was scoring 58 & 59 goals in consecutive years, the rest of the team continued to struggle to find the back of the net, putting all the pressure on one player. Fast track to today, and the Panthers’ team that you saw on Monday and Tuesday seemed to resemble one of those clubs from 2001 or 2002, yet without a sniper. When you’re reminded of players like Denis Shvidki and Ivan Novoseltsev, you know that you’re in dangerous territory. Putting things in perspective, the Panthers have scored one goal since the 3:35 mark of the second period on opening night against Carolina. That’s one goal spanning seven plus periods, or 156 minutes. Whichever number you like better.
While I dislike making excuses, I’d rather say there are reasons for the listless effort that we have seen on the recent road trip to Canada. On the forward side of things there’s injuries to forwards Kris Versteeg, Marcel Goc and Sean Bergenheim. However it’s not as though we have replaced them with the likes of Juraj Kolnik or Pierre Daigenais. Defensively, Erik Gudbranson is still out recuperating from his off season shoulder injury, and newly named captain Ed Jovanovski sat out the Montreal game as it was the second of back to backs in the early going. Compunding matters, Michael Caruso who was seeing his first NHL action left the Montreal game early in the first after fracturing his forearm. The heavy schedule at this early part of the season is also a contributing factor, however each of the 30 NHL teams is having to deal with the exact same lunacy. The Chicago Blackhawks started out with two consecutive games on the west coast, and played at home Tuesday night, having only one day off, have quickly started the season at 3-0-0. Jet lag from the travel may also be to blame, and since we’re at it, let’s toss in the frigid temperatures of Canada, as compared to the balmy 75 degrees here in South Florida.