NHL players tweet their goodbyes 2014

With the tumultuous early days of this year’s free agent frenzy now behind us, recently moved players are beginning to adjust to their new organizations as fans still lament their departures. In years past, if a player wished to show their gratitude to a former fan base or organization they were limited to mainly newspapers as their only outlet to express their appreciation. In today’s modern world, however, social media has made it possible for fans and players to be closer than ever in terms of communication.

Although not everyone chooses to participate, many players around the NHL have turned to twitter to help build stronger relationships with fans as well as opening their lives up to the public. It is through this social media revolution that players can now openly express their thanks when their time with a club has expired.

With all of the chaos that comes with free agency, many players have changed area codes within the past week and bid farewell to the organizations they once called home. After scouring twitter for a while, I have compiled a list of farewell tweets from some of the NHL’s recently moved skaters.

Willie Mitchell

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Tyson Strachan Signs With Washington

After not re-signing with the Florida Panthers prior to the start of free agency, defenseman and UFA Tyson Strachan has reportedly signed a 2-way deal with the Washington Capitals. Although signing a 2-way deal usually inquires that a player will likely be spending a lot of time with their team’s Minor League affiliate, the Capitals have a shotty defense which could certainly use Tyson’s “Stay at home” defensive stlye.

In July of 2011, Strachan signed a one year, two-way deal with the Florida Panthers where he saw a lot of time with the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL. It wasn’t until January of 2012 when Strachan was called up to the Panthers for the first time to replace an injured Dmitry Kulikov. Strachan may be most known for his 1st and only goal he ever scored with the Panthers which was a shot from the point that came off a Marcel Goc faceoff win. The fan favorite slogan “Release the Strachan” was born.

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Florida Panthers’ 2013 Player Grades: Defense

Erik Gudbranson. Photo Source: Michael Miller/ Wikipedia Commons

Erik Gudbranson.
Photo Source: Michael Miller/ Wikipedia Commons

With the disappointing 2012-2013 season on its’ way to being understandably forgotten by both fans and players alike, we must take one final moment to begrudgingly relive the events of this year as I hand out my end of the season player grades. Although the Panthers were only able to muster a pedestrian 15-27-6 record – good enough for last in the entire NHL – there were still a few players that can look back on this season with pride.

While many players will be receiving grades that would merit summer school, there are a few skaters with bodies of work good enough to be hung up on the refrigerator. Considering the amount of call-ups and short lived NHL appearances by skaters due to frequent Panther injuries this season, I have decided to grade only players who competed in at least 20 games this season.

For this report card I will be taking a look at the Panthers’ ill-fated defensive unit. After seeing some improvement last season, the Panthers’ defense took a big step backward as they finished the season last in NHL in goals allowed per game (3.54). Frequent mental lapses and an inability to clear dangerous pucks were just two of the numerous problems that defined the team’s defensive struggles this season. Considering just how bad the Panthers’ defense looked almost every game, you will be hard pressed to find too many good grades below.

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Panthers’ Team Updates: Kulikov Out, Shaw Signed, and More!

Even though the season is almost reached its’ merciful end, there are still a lot of Panthers’ updates to be announced. Below, I have compiled a list of the most recent Florida Panthers’ updates as well as a few other Panthers’ related tidbits – Enjoy!

  • Head Coach Kevin Dineen has confirmed that defenseman Dmitry Kulikov will miss the remainder of the season after suffering an upper-body injury against the Boston Bruins on Sunday.
  • Both defenseman Erik Gudbranson and Tyson Strachan might not participate in Tuesday’s game against the New York Rangers.
  • Defenseman Colby Robak has once again been recalled from San Antonio in order to help the Panthers’ wounded defensive unit. 
  • Forward Tomas Kopecky and Peter Mueller returned to practice and reportedly will be available Tuesday night against the Rangers.

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Panthers’ Goals Against Problem Has No Easy Fix

Shortly after Scott Clemmensen surrendered the second goal of the first period against the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday night, the boos began to rain down from the stands.  A chant of “We want Markstrom” formed shortly after.  It appeared that the Panthers crowd finally lost all patience with the veteran backstop, and for good reason: Clemmensen’s stats this year are simply subpar to say the least, and four crappy periods against the division rival Hurricanes would sink his numbers even further.

At intermission, the venom spewed in Clemmensen’s direction was reaching an all-time high: fans on Twitter demanded that Clemmensen be subbed out in favor of the young Jacob Markstrom, who was totally not in a position to play after not practicing for days and just getting his pads at around the time the puck dropped.  At least a couple fans even maintained that they would refuse to renew their season tickets if Dineen didn’t pull Clemmensen.  And maybe the Panthers coach might’ve consideredswitching the struggling netminder out in favor of the potentialed Swede, if he thought it would make any difference.

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Man Down! Who Will Fill Erik Gudbranson’s Skates?

Erik Gudbranson.
Photo Source: Michael Miller/ Wikipedia Commons

Hello once again, hope everyone enjoyed the first week of the NFL season. Hopefully your team won! If you’re a Dolphin fan like me, well lets just say they did better then I thought they would. Also if you’re a Falcons fan like I am, our team looked pretty great on Sunday.

Anyway, I’m sure most of you have heard the terrible news about Erik Gudbranson. the 3rd overall pick back in 2010 who seems to have injured his shoulder during a training session last week. He had successful surgery and is expected to miss roughly four months of action.

This has to be a devastating blow to the Panthers plans for next season, but what is shocking to me was the fact that the Panthers were even thinking about starting Gudbranson in the AHL whether or not there was a lockout. To me this is kind of surprising and raises curiosity at the same time.  You’re going to send a young future star that played his best hockey of the year in the postseason to the AHL even if the regular season got under way? I’m personally trying to understand that, and while there may be good reasons for it, I don’t agree.

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What Does The Gudbranson Injury Mean For The Panthers?

Erik Gudbranson’s reported injury means there might be a shake-up on the blue line. Photo Source: Michael Miller, Wikipedia Commons

Yesterday at the Saveology.com Iceplex, a metaphorical wrench was thrown in the Panthers’ plan for the upcoming year.  Erik Gudbranson, in an informal workout session, apparently badly injured his shoulder.  Even though he received treatment right away and the Panthers have yet to announce his injury, Harvey Fialkov of the Sun-Sentinel was tipped off that Gudbranson could be out of action for up to four months.

Gudbranson could still be considered the Panthers’ sixth defenseman, even after his ice time increased late in the season and during the playoffs last year.  His NHL stats, though they aren’t spectacular (2 goals, 6 assists, -19 plus/minus, 78 penalty minutes), were decent enough to hold off his competition and keep his spot on the blue line.  As the year progressed, you could really see coach Kevin Dineen‘s confidence in Gudbranson grow.  His ice time grew, he took more chances in the offensive zone, and he took more faceoffs in his own zone – I detailed his progress as a player about a month ago.  Most people were looking forward to see if Gudbranson’s second NHL season would push him up to star status.

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