VIDEO: Paige Lewis from Panther Parkway chats with Hockeybuzz

Our very own Paige Lewis was today’s guest on Hockeybuzz.com’s Hokeybuzzcast!

Check out Paige as she goes head to head with Josh Rimer, Mike Augello and Eklund here:

Paige talks in depth about the Panthers, and fields questions from the rest of the panel.

Enjoy!

Gerard Gallant’s QMJHL Success Bodes Well for Panthers’ Future

After an extensive coaching search that began in late April, former Montreal Canadiens assistant Gerard Gallant has been named the Florida Panthers’ new head coach, the team announced today.

“We are pleased to welcome Gerard as the new head coach of the Florida Panthers,” General Manager Dale Tallon said in the team’s official press release. “He is an individual with tremendous character, integrity and a strong passion for the game and has experience as an NHL head coach. Gerard is an excellent teacher and motivator who possesses the leadership qualities and hockey knowledge that are necessary to lead our team.”

Gallant becomes the 13th head coach in franchise history, replacing interim coach Peter Horachek who was relieved of his duties on April 29.

Over nearly a two-month span, the Panthers conducted a coaching search worthy of its own reality television show as the team interviewed as many as 12 candidates before deciding on Gallant. In winning the job, Gallant beat out former Penguins coach Dan Bylsma and former Avalanche coach Marc Crawford who were both considered to be finalists for the position.

[Read more…]

Panthers Announce Gerard Gallant as Head Coach

After countless months, days and hours, the Florida Panthers have finally narrowed their coaching search down to one man.

On Saturday afternoon, the Panthers announced Gerard Gallant as the franchise’s 13th head coach in almost 21 years.

Gallant, 50, has over 600 games of NHL experience as an assistant and head coach with Columbus Blue Jackets, as well as an assistant coach with the New York Islanders and Montreal Canadiens.

After his 3-year stint as a head coach with the Blue Jackets, Gallant took an opportunity with the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL, where he coached Jonathan Huberdeau and the Sea Dogs to three consecutive President Cup Final’s, and a Memorial Cup Final. After winning two President Cups and a Memorial Cup, Gallant was inducted into the QMJHL hall-of-fame.

Having worked with young kids for several years, Gallant is walking into a familiar situation as the Panthers have 10 players under 25 years old, as well as this year’s 1st overall pick in the NHL draft.

 

We welcome your comments and feedback!

Follow Paige on Twitter @PaigeLewisFL

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Panthers Receive Permission To Speak With Gerard Gallant

The list of candidates for the head coaching job with the Florida Panthers became longer Monday when General Manager Dale Tallon received approval from the Montreal Canadiens to speak with assistant coach Gerard Gallant.  Gallant, like Tallon, is a former player having played in 615 regular season games, and 58 playoff games in the NHL.  Gallant has coaching experience at many different levels, having coached in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, as well as serving as both an assistant and head coach with the Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Islanders (assistant) and Montreal Canadiens (assistant).

Gallant spent seven years with the Blue Jackets – two of them as their head coach, where he compiled a 56-76-4-6 record in 142 games with a very mediocre roster. While he didn’t find much success in Columbus, he was very successful in the QMJHL, guiding the Saint John Sea Dogs to three first place finishes, three league final appearances, two QMJHL championships and one Memorial Cup.

As a player, Gallant spent his NHL career with the Detroit Red Wings, and played one game for the Tampa Bay Lightning. One reason that Tallon is likely interested in Gallant is that he’s hopeful he can transform his style of play into the style of play for the Florida Panthers.  Gallant played much bigger than his 5′ 10′” frame, scoring 211 goals, adding 269 assists for a combined 480 points.  Gallant scored 30 or more goals in four consecutive seasons for the Red Wings, and as I remember him, was a pain in the rear to play against.

Gallant played with snarl despite his lack of size, and was never afraid to mix it up, as he served over 1,600 penalty minutes during his career. He could bring a toughness behind the bench, an element that the Panthers desperately need, thus making him an attractive potential choice.

Another reason Gallant is getting an opportunity for the opening is that he coached Panther forward Jonathan Huberdeau in juniors. Huberdeau scored 177 points in 104 games with Gallant as his coach, and after last year’s sophomore slump, Gallant may be the right choice to inject some confidence back into the young and promising forward.

The question remains however does Gallant have enough of the coaching experience at the NHL level that Dale Tallon is looking for?  Tallon obviously is searching for a successful coach who has won, who has a philosophy that fits what the organization wants, and a coach that is not only good with veterans, but is good with young players as well.  The development of the youth on this team is imperitive to any success this organization is going to have.

With the draft coming closer, and the Stanley Cup Final beginning on Wednesday, the time to make the announcement is almost here.  Most major news items don’t come during the Cup Final, yet one wouldn’t be surprised if during an off day during the series, the Panthers steal the headlines.

Thanks for reading and we welcome your thoughts in the comments section below!

Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankRekas

For All Your Florida Panthers’ Updates Follow Panther Parkway on Facebook

Follow Panther Parkway on Instagram @ PantherParkway

Which NHL Playoff Team Should You Root For?

Panther Parkway Playoff Preview

We’re hours away from puck drop for the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs and it donned on me (and on all around good guy Jameson Cooper) that there may be thousands and possibly millions of you readers out there who don’t have a vetted interest in a team this year. Your team may have not made it to the post-season, you could be a new fan or you could have amnesia…if that’s the case, thanks for reading and consult a physician immediately after reading this post. Whatever the reason may be, if you need to latch on to a team for the post-season then do I have a piece for you! There are 16 teams in this year’s post season, some are good, some are really good, some are really really really good and some are just OK. Let’s take a look at which team may be a good fit for you.

Anaheim Ducks

Do you like Disney movies about a scrappy gang of youths melded together by the bonds of teamwork, being poor, and national pride? If so then the Ducks could be the team you’re looking for. Don’t be confused by their captain’s lack of hair – he’s amazing at hockey and will not let you down if you’re looking for a deep playoff run. The kicker is 92 year Teemu Selanne, who is retiring at the end of these playoffs, so if you’re into nostalgia and crying then you’re on the right path.

Boston Bruins

Nobody in their right mind should cheer for the Bruins so if you’re not in your right mind you can cheer for them I guess. Also I hate you.

Chicago Blackhawks

The Blackhawks have been the toast of the NHL for a while now. If you’re that person who wants instant gratification then hitch your horse to the wagon and hang on for dear life. If you’re the person who has never seen a Rocky movie, watches Rocky 4 ,and then tells everyone that you love every Rocky movie then cheer for the Blackhawks.

Colorado Avalanche

The Colorado Avalanche is made up from a group of young players with an excessive amount of high-end dynamic talent. Players like Nathan MacKinnon, Matt Duchene (injured, but still), Gabriel Landeskog, Ryan O’Reilly and Paul Stastny, will surely make your eyes pop out of your head. They’re also coached by a crazy person. Their playoff hashtag is #whynotus so if you’re into innovative playoff hashtags you might want to look elsewhere for a team to support.

Columbus Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets have made the playoffs for the 2nd time in their history. Good for them right? If you like an underdog and or jokes about fellatio then you should fit right in with this fanbase. The Blue Jackets are this year’s working class blue-collar team so if you get a kick out of those Ford F-150 commercials where the announcer is pretty much reading everything on the screen, then go ahead and cheer for the Jackets.

Dallas Stars

Jamie Benn, best player by far, has led his Stars to the last playoff spot in the West. I’m sure all of Texas is behind them but if you feel like hootin’ and hollerin’ and ho-downin’ and other Texas slangs then hop right on this chuck wagon!

Detroit Red Wings

Detroit has made the playoffs 23 years in a row. They have won only 4 Stanley Cups in that span, so if you like high winning percentages, then don’t root for the Red Wings. If you like Sweden, rookies, cool breakaway moves and great coaching then they may be right up your alley.

Los Angeles Kings

All of LA’s top C list celebrities are totally into the Kings so if you want to head to Staples Center and snap a selfie with Matthew Perry then you’re in the right ballpark. The Kings are a team that Wayne Gretzky used to play for so if you want to impress your friends with that bit of trivia when explaining your fandom then wear that silver and black.

Minnesota Wild

Minnesota is the self-proclaimed “State of Hockey” which would be accurate if Michigan, New York, New Jersey, California, Missouri, Florida, Arizona, Ohio, Illinois, Tennessee, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Colorado, Texas and Pennsylvania all didn’t have hockey teams too. Liars.

Montreal Canadiens

Montreal has won the most Stanley Cups out of any NHL franchise with 24. They haven’t won one since 1993 so if you’re looking to get on board with a group of self-entitled history-clutching crazies, who are desperately waiting to see a cup win in their lifetime then mon ami/e you are knocking at the right door. Poutine is fantastic too, that should be good enough.

New York Rangers

The Rangers are one of three teams in New York (keep thinking of that third one). They’re like the Yankees if the Yankees have only won 4 World Series ever and haven’t won one since 1994 and the one before that was in 1940. If you like not having lofty expectations met then go put on a blue shirt.

Philadelphia Flyers

They sing America the Beautiful instead of the Star Spangled Banner so if you like alternate forms of patriotism then cheer for the Flyers. They’re also historically violent, made the Red Army team refuse to play against them because of it and their fans have the reputation of being a-holes. If this made you mad then you’re probably a Flyers fan already.

Pittsburgh Penguins

If you like cheering for the best at anything then step right up and feast your eyes on Sidney Crosby. Supporting the best hockey player in the world is reason enough to cheer for the Penguins and fans have been doing just that since 2005. I’d like to point out that former arguably best player in the world Mario Lemieux partly owns the team and will be shown frequently on TV throughout these playoffs so if you like passing torches from generation to generation then grab a Pens jersey and get ready to be disappointed by Marc Andre Fleury.

San Jose Sharks

The Sharks have never won a Stanley Cup and have the unfortunate reputation of being “playoff chokers.” If you like great teams with great players then cheer for the Sharks. If you like teal then cheer for the Sharks. If you like the Jaws theme song then cheer for the Sharks. If you want to get offended every time someone mentions the word “choke” then sheer for the Sharks. If you want to be part of their first cup win then don’t cheer for the Sharks because they’re kind of chokers.

St. Louis Blues

Another team without a Cup win ever. A lot of people don’t like the Blues so if you’re a fan of being the outcast who sticks up for their team no matter what horrible thing they do that makes everyone else angry then cheer for the Blues. American almost hero Ryan Miller is their starting goalie. You probably heard of him a few years ago.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Led by elite sniper Steven Stamkos for now, the Lightning are one of those cool teams that doesn’t end in an S. If you like the Oklahoma City Thunder then DEFINITELY cheer for the Lightning because then you can make your twitter handle @ThunderandLightning and you’ll be really cool.

By now you should have a team that suits you perfectly. If you’re still undecided, then refresh this page and read the post again. Go Hockey Go, enjoy the playoffs folks.

Panther Parkway Radio: Game Recap, Brad Boyes, College Cats, Trading & Free Agency

Tune in to tonight’s show where we discuss the biggest Florida Panthers news of the week!

Host: Paige Lewis

Guests: Jameson Cooper, Mike Lewis (no relations to Paige) and Mike Obrand!

Topics

  • Montreal Game Recap
  • Should the Panthers finish season on a high note?
  • Brad Boyes slowing down without Barkov
  • What position do the Panthers need to address first and foremost?
  • College Cats
  • Should we trade out first round pick?

New Episode Here

We welcome your comments and feedback!

Follow Paige on Twitter @PaigeLewisFL

For All Your Florida Panthers’ Updates Follow Panther Parkway on Facebook

Follow Panther Parkway on Instagram @ PantherParkway

Panther Parkway Post-Game: Panthers vs. Canadiens

Stars of the game

1st: Max Pacioretty (2G-1A-3P)

2nd: Thomas Vanek (1G-1A-2P)

3rd: Carey Price (36-37 saves – .973 sv%)

Goals (Canadiens 4, Panthers 1)

MTL: Thomas Vanek (27) Assists: P.K. Subban

MTL: Max Pacioretty (34) Assists: Alexei Emelin, Daniel Briere

MTL: Max Pacioretty (35) Assists: David Desharnais, Thomas Vanek

FLA: Brad Boyes (19) Assists: Sean Bergenheim, Brian Campbell

MTL: David Desharnais (15) (Empty Net) Assists: Max Pacioretty, Mike Weaver

Highlight

Brad Boyes scored his team-leading 19th goal of the season in the 2nd period.

Quote of the game

“They capitalized on their chances. We gotta clean those areas up and stop shooting ourselves.”

-Brad Boyes on Montreal’s offense

Tweet of the game

It’s a tough time for Leafs fans. Welcome aboard.

Video of the game

Next Up

The Florida Panthers take on the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center, on Monday at 7:30 p.m.

Tune into FOX Sports Florida to catch all of the action!

Thanks for reading and we welcome your thoughts in the comments section below!

Follow Paige on Twitter @PaigeLewisFL

For All Your Florida Panthers’ Updates Follow Panther Parkway on Facebook

Follow Panther Parkway on Instagram @ PantherParkway

Game Day Preview: Panthers VS Canadiens

FLORIDA PANTHERS: 27-39-8 (62 PTS.) vs. MONTREAL CANADIENS: 42-26-7 (91 PTS.)

GAME DAY SONG: Snowbird by Anne Murray

It’s game 75 for the Florida Panthers as they take on their Atlantic Division rival (that still sounds weird) Montreal Canadiens. The Panthers come in looking for a win to end their 3 game home stand on a high note after being blanked by the Hurricanes 3-0 in Sunrise on Thursday. On the opposite side of the coin the Habs, who are in the midst of a 4 game roadie, come to South Florida from Motown after just escaping the Wings with 2 points.

Where they’ve been

The Panthers returned home from their Western road trip looking for some positivity and got just that when they came back from two down to send the Senators home gaping at the dazzler that was Vincent Trocheck in the shootout. Against the Hurricanes, the Cats ran into the Kazak Krusher Anton Khudobin who turned aside all 35 shots (35!) he faced for the shutout to send the fans home with the burning desire to destroy their Borat DVDs. The Panthers are 3-6-1 in their last 10 and are continuing on their quest to end their season on a high note by spoiling the March break of thousands of visiting Montrealers.

Across the rink, the Habs are quite hot posting a 7-3 record in their last 10, winning 7 of their last 8 and have won 4 in a row. It’s not all roses as the Habs stole one in Detroit after hanging on for a 5-4 win over the decimated Wings.

[Read more…]

From the Outside Looking In

What do you call a Snowbird that just never goes back up north? Smart?

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, a “Snowbird” is someone from a cold climate that migrates south for the winter only returning home when the weather gets bearable again.

As a born and raised Montrealer, every winter I would do what pretty much everyone else on the island does: Go to Florida for Winter Vacation. And so I did, for 25 consecutive years. I’d hop on the snowbird express and spend 2 weeks in South Florida. As the years went on and when I was able to plan the trip myself and not conform to my parents’ itinerary, I thought it would be pretty cool to see the Montreal Canadiens take on the Florida Panthers in Sunrise.  So, for many years I would join my fellow Montrealers from Surfside, Bal Harbor, Sunny Isles, Hallandale, Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale, Boca, and Deerfield, and venture West away from the beach for an evening of Habs hockey.

We’d come in, be obnoxious, chant “Olé Olé Olé” and make Panthers fans wish we got stopped at the border.

This isn’t going to be a piece about Habs fans or a piece about the Habs, actually this is probably the last you’ll hear about the Habs from me on this site.

This is going to be a piece about what a Montrealer, who is a frequent flyer to South Florida, has learned about the Florida Panthers and where they’ve been, who they are and where they’re going.

On top of coming down every Winter, I’d also be in Florida 5-6 times per year so I know what it’s like down here. I know the market, I know the fan base, and I know the intricacies and complications that the Panthers face on a day-to-day basis because I lived on the opposite side of the fence my entire life.

The biggest thing that I took away from my frequent visits to Sunrise was that while the Panthers fan base isn’t large by definition, it is proud and passionate. Very passionate.

So before we get into this, a tip of the hat to the Cat fans out there who bleed red and show up when everyone expects you not to.

Now onto the Panthers.

Pleading for patience is something that I’m sure you all have heard countless times. Patient is probably the last thing you want to be as Panthers fans. You have been patient for years. You’ve been waiting for a stable contender since the Stanley Cup run of 96, and who is to blame you for wanting to win?

I’m sure you’ve heard the “this time it will be different” line before, but this time, THIS time will actually be different.

Why will it be different this time?

Because of Vincent Viola. For as long as I can remember the Panthers have separated Hockey and Business. For some reason the two couldn’t coincide. They’d ice the team and put on the promotions and try to fill the rink however they could. With Viola, I think the Panthers’ brass know that Hockey IS the business. Viola is letting his Hockey Operations department spend to the cap. This alone makes all the difference. You have to give yourself the best chance to win, and using finance to do that is part of playing in the NHL.

Viola understands that if you build it, they will come and he’s letting his team…build it.

I’ll ask again: Why will it be different this time?

Because of Dale Tallon. In the off-season of 2011 he went on a signing spree and inked players who are now part of the Panthers core. Players like Bergenheim, Fleischmann, Kopecky, Upshall and Campbell are cemented in the “We See Red” movement and are ideal pieces in putting a winning team together. Fast forward to this year’s free agency, he brought in Brad Boyes and steal of the season Tom Gilbert, who are the players you want on your team if you’re going to build a winner.

Oh and then there’s the recent acquisition of one Roberto Luongo.

Luongo is the first time Tallon employed the combination of business and Hockey in a transaction since the start of the new regime. It didn’t take long. What I alluded to earlier is exemplified perfectly in Roberto Luongo. He’s a fan favourite, he’ll bring fans in, and he’ll help the team win. Business and Hockey.

Luongo is an elite NHL goaltender who will give his team a chance to win every night. That is the bare minimum for a goalie and that (and more) is what he’s going bring to the table for the next few years.

The Panthers are in more than capable hands with Tallon, that much is clear. He has a plan and is sticking to it and isn’t afraid to be patient in order to achieve his goal. He’s building his team the right way.

So again: Why will it be different this time?

Because of Peter Horachek. Horachek spent 10 seasons in Nashville under Barry Trotz, the model of consistency in the NHL. If there’s one thing you want from a Panthers’ coach its consistency. Horachek brought in his philosophy of hard work, discipline, responsibility and skill to his team that has undoubtedly benefitted from this mantra. The team went from 3-9-4 or 3-13 before Horachek to 21-23-3 when he was brought in. The basic record alone shows a massive improvement in play.

Beyond the record, you can tell that by watching the games the Panthers are a “never say die” team. They don’t coast, they don’t watch, they play to the whistle and to the final buzzer. Its cliché, but it’s true. Horachek learned in Nashville that stability, strong team defense and team perseverance can go a long way to making waves in the league. Add a roster with more raw talent than he had in Nashville, and watch the sparks fly.

One more time: Why will it be different this time?

Because of the youth.

Oh boy, the youth.

The core. Barkov, Huberdeau, Kulikov, Gudbranson and Bjugstad. All players with off the charts high-end talent. All players who are growing and will continue to grow with the Panthers as the team joins the league’s elite.

Outside of that core? A crop of supremely talented, unheralded young players who you’ll fall in love with quickly. Brandon Pirri, Vincent Trocheck, Dylan Olsen, Drew Shore, Quinton Howden, Colby Robak and my personal favorite, Jimmy Hayes. This group may not have the high-end talent possessed by a Huberdeau or a Barkov, but they’re young, learning and will surprise us all.

On top of all of this? The players who aren’t pros. Among many, Ian McCoshen, Rocco Grimaldi and Mike Matheson will play NHL Hockey and lucky us they’ll be doing it with the Panthers.

These players will grow together, not just as players but as people, as professionals. That’s how a team wins and that’s how a team keeps winning.

It’s a slow burn but the train is on the right set of tracks. It just needs time to gain momentum.

So that’s what I’ve learned, from the outside looking in as a transplant Floridian with a passion for Hockey.

The Florida Panthers aren’t there yet.

But that’s a big, big “yet.”

Go Cats Go

Thanks for reading and we welcome your thoughts in the comments section below!

Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeObrand

For All Your Florida Panthers’ Updates Follow Panther Parkway on Facebook

Follow Panther Parkway on Instagram @ PantherParkway

Mike Weaver Traded to Montreal in Exchange for 2015 Fifth-Round Pick

Just days after acquiring F Brandon Pirri from the Chicago Blackhawks, Panthers General Manager Dale Tallon is making moves yet again as veteran defenseman Mike Weaver is headed to Montreal in exchange for a 2015 fifth-round pick according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

Weaver, 35, competed in 246 games for the Panthers since signing as a free agent in 2010, scoring 44 regular season points (3-41-44) and one playoff goal during the team’s improbable playoff run during the 2011-12 season.

A product of Michigan State hockey, Weaver has accumulated 86 points (7-79-86) in 585 career NHL games split between Florida, St. Louis, Vancouver, Los Angeles and Atlanta.

Known for his responsability in the defensive zone and willingness to sacrifice his body when called upon, Weaver blocked a whopping 414 shots during his time in South Floirda – leading the team in that category from 2010-2012.

[Read more…]

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