Video: Scott Clemmensen’s Kick Save Denies Martin St. Louis

On a night in which the Florida Panthers allowed six goals to their cross-state rivals, the Tampa Bay Lightning, remarkably it was a stunning save by backup goaltender Scott Clemmensen that highlighted the Panthers’ otherwise woeful evening.

Already down 2-1 midway through the 2nd period of Monday night’s game, the Panthers’ evening was about to get worse as Lightning captain Martin St. Louis blew past defenseman Tom Gilbert and found himself with a clean breakaway to the wary Panther goaltender.

Opting to commit to an early poke check, Clemmensen found himself out of position and left the majority of his net exposed – or so he thought.

With an open net ripe for the taking, St. Louis was stunned as Clemmensen was able to sprawl out and make a last second kick save on what would have given the Bolts a two goal lead.

Although the wheels soon fell off for the Panthers who would eventually go on to lose by a final score of 6-1, Clemmensen’s beautiful save briefly gave the over 15,000 in attendance something to stand up cheer about.

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More Puck for Your Buck: Five of the NHL’s Best Contracts

While the NHL’s winter months are defined by wins and losses, the summertime is a battleground of dollars and cents. Armed with ballpoint pens and checkbooks, General Managers around the league filter through the summer’s batch of free agents in hopes of bringing in the necessary talent to take their team to the next level.

Just like during the regular season, the offseason’s fiscal pandemonium also has winners and losers. Even in an era in which the “hometown discount” is almost all but extinct, General Managers still manage to lock up top tier talent at affordable prices. While there are still plenty of bad contracts in the league, a select group of players are working above and beyond the dollar value they are currently making. It is in that spirit that I have decided to share five contracts that I believe to be some of the best in the entire NHL.

Given how hard it can be to judge a players true “value”, I have decided to look at five specific contracts rather than ranking them – Enjoy!

Max Pacioretty (Montreal Canadiens)

Cap Hit Rank For Forwards: Out of Top 50

At just 24-years-old, Canadiens’ forward Max Pacioretty has already become one of the premier American born hockey players currently in the NHL. Last season, Pacioretty finished with 39 points (15G-24A-39P) which was good enough for 33rd in the NHL and 1st on the Canadiens for the 2nd consecutive year. Signed through the 2018-2019 season, Pacioretty’s annual $4.5 million cap hit isn’t even high enough to place him in the top 50 highest paid forwards in the NHL. Given his role as the Canadiens’ premier scorer, it’s safe to say that the Habs have been blessed with a bargain.

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Top 10 Hockey Action Figures

Before video games and fantasy hockey let us take control of our favorite NHL teams and players, people were left with nothing but actions figures and their imagination to live out their hockey dreams. While the toy business may not hold the same popularity as it used to, I decided to take the time and look back at some of the greatest mini-men to ever grace department store shelves. Below, I have compiled the ten most memorable, interesting, and funny hockey-related toys in recent memory.

Enjoy the list!

10. Dion Phaneuf

One of the most realistic hockey figures on the market, this Dion Phaneuf figure by McFarlane Toys perfectly mimics Phaneuf’s on-ice play style – standing still and doing nothing.

Dion Phaneuf (Macfarlane Toys)

Dion Phaneuf (McFarlane Toys)

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Could Vincent Lecavalier Be A Good Fit For the Panthers?

Vincent Lecavalier (Wikipedia)

Vincent Lecavalier (Wikipedia)

Tampa hockey fans were thrown for a loop on Thursday as the Tampa Bay Lightning announced they would be using one of their top cap compliance buyouts on their Captain, Vincent Lecavalier. Even though this will be an emotional day for the city of Tampa, it’s hard to blame the Lightning for dumping such a cumbersome contract. The fact that Lecavalier’s contract still has seven years remaining and carries a cap hit of more than $7 million per season should have made this an easy decision for Lightning management. By using one of their buyouts the team will have to pay him $32 million of that contract over the upcoming years, but he will no longer count against their salary cap.

Another reason why the Lightning decided to pull the trigger on this shocking move had to do with Lecavalier’s age and fears about him possibly retiring in the near future. Under the terms of the new CBA, there are penalties for players who retire early with front-loaded deals, like Lecavalier had with the Tampa Bay Lightning. If the team had decided to hold on to him only to see him retire 2-3 years later, the Lightning would face heavy repercussions against their cap in the following seasons.

It truly is the end of an era in Tampa as Martin St. Louis now remains as the only skater still on the roster from the 2004 Stanley Cup champion squad. However, with free agency set to begin on July 5th, there will be no time for mourning as Lecavalier will soon find himself on a new team with new challenges. Given his already lengthy tenure in the Sunshine State and the life he has created here, I find myself asking a simple question when pondering Vinny’s future …

Why not the Florida Panthers?

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Panther Parkway Noon Headlines: Playoff Schedule, Sacco Fired, Awards, and More!

What better way to spend your lunch break than catching up on all of last night’s amazing NHL action that you may have missed! Here are the top stories and videos from the all of yesterday’s action around the NHL.

  • Watch Flyers’ goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov sounds off against the Philadelphia media.

  • Lightning forward Martin St. Louis becomes the oldest player to ever win the Art Ross Trophy. [TSN]
  • The 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff schedule has been released. [Puck Daddy]

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Preview: Florida Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning. So Get Right, Get Tight, Get Down

FLORIDA PANTHERS: 14-27-6 (34 PTS.) vs.  TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING: 18-25-4 (40 PTS.)

TSN GAMEDAY

GAMEDAY SONG: Kitty’s Back Part one,  & Kitty’s Back Part two. Bruce Springsteen

Back in October, knowing that there wouldn’t be a season due to a lockout, we were impatiently waiting for the season to begin, and the nonsense to end.  The longer the stalemate dragged on, the further away the games seemed to be.  Finally after months of waiting, on January 19th the season started, and faster than you can snap your fingers, it ends tonight.  The final game of the “shortened” season is a meaningless one between state rivals, the Florida Panthers and the Tampa Bay Lightning.  Other than pride and making a final statement for a few players, this game will have very little substance.

The good news for the Panthers is that their poor season has guaranteed them to have one of the top two picks in the upcoming NHL draft in June.  Meaning that either Seth Jones, Jonathan Drouin or Nathan MacKinnon will be a Florida Panther come this summer. The draft lottery takes place on Monday, and the Panthers will learn their position then, and we’ll all begin speculating on which one of those three will be chosen.  In the meantime, there hasn’t been much to get excited about this season other than the performance of Jonathan Huberdeau as he continues to make his claim for Rookie of the Year.  If he does win the Calder Trophy, it would be the first time in Florida Panther history that a rookie did, and he stands the best chance of any rookie the club has ever had to do so.

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Panther Parkway Noon Headlines: Price Saves, Selanne’s Promise, Vanek’s Idea, and More!

What better way to spend your lunch break than catching up on all of last night’s amazing NHL action that you may have missed! Here are the top stories and videos from the all of yesterday’s action around the NHL.

  • Watch Carey Price’s great save on Martin St. Louis.

  • Teemu Selanne, a comeback kid and a promise happily kept. [LA Times]
  • Apparently the postgame salute after the Bruins’ emotional loss against the Sabres was Thomas Vanek’s idea. [NESN]

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Game Day Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Florida Panthers. Shut Out The Lights

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING: 6-6-1 (13 PTS.) vs. FLORIDA PANTHERS: 4-6-2 (12 PTS).

GAME DAY SONG: The Fuse by Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band

Two struggling Florida teams will face off this afternoon when the reeling Tampa Bay Lightning meet the Florida Panthers here in Sunrise, Florida.  The Lightning who started out hot, are now 0-5-1 in their last six games and are 1-4-0 on the road for the season find themselves just two points ahead of the Panthers in the Eastern Conference standings.  Tampa has beaten Florida the past five times they’ve met including January 29th by a score of 5-2.  That was the game where BJ Crombeen hit Ed Jovanovski knee on knee and we haven’t seen Jovo since.   Also of note during the Lightning’s latest winless streak is that their high powered offence hasn’t scored more than three goals in any of those six games.  The last time Tampa won was the very next game they played after beating the Panthers when they manhandled Winnipeg 8-3.

Tampa’s struggles can also be attributed to their suddenly anemic power play during this losing streak, which is only 2 for it’s last 18, while being outshot 186 to 147.  Tampa lost a close one to Washington on Thursday by a score of 4-3, but coach Guy Boucher is trying to remain optimistic throughout the streak:

“Either we just stay close and keep grinding and we come out of this, it’s still going to be a fight after we win one game,” said coach Guy Boucher, whose team went 0-6-1 from Jan. 3-15, 2012.

“It won’t change anything in terms of how we’re supposed to play, we’re just trying to be more consistent at it and get a bit of something positive out of it.”

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