Daily Archives: April 6, 2013

Nick Bjugstad’s Debut: Quiet, Yet Effective

bjugstad“I want to get a feel for what the NHL is like,” Panthers’ rookie Nick Bjugstad said upon his arrival in South Florida on Thursday afternoon. Well, after what seemed liked a guaranteed blowout early on - Nick Bjugstad got more than a “feel” for the game as he saw first hand just how unpredictable NHL action can be as the Panthers’ clawed their way back from the gutter to make the Saturday night’s game compelling down to the final seconds.

In an almost ceremonial fashion, Bjugstad’s first steps onto the ice were greeted with loud applause as fans welcomed their newest Panther to the BB&T Center. Like he had hinted in earlier interviews, Head Coach Dineen wasn’t quick to rush Bjugstad into action as the promising young forward only saw 2:53 of ice time during the first period of play. Although he was only given minimal minutes early on, Bjugstad still showed off his physical play style while dishing out two good checks on Capitals’ skaters.

Throughout the rest of the game, Bjugstad saw his minutes rise each period until finally playing a grand total of 5:20 during the 3rd period - the highest single period total in his debut. Sadly for Bjugstad, the Panthers’ constant stream of penalties throughout the night kept him from seeing greater minutes as the team was forced to lean on their penalty killing unit for much for the game.

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Game Day Preview: Washington Capitals vs. Florida Panthers. That Thunder In Your Heart

WASHINGTON CAPITALS: 18-17-2 (38 PTS.) vs. FLORIDA PANTHERS: 12-19-6 (30 PTS.)



Tonight the Florida Panthers attempt to win their fourth game in a row as Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals visit the BB & T Center for the fourth game of the year between these division rivals.  The Capitals have won the first three matchups of this season, and six straight overall in the series, outscoring the Panthers 28-9.  The games that were played in Wshington were lopsided victories by the Caps, and the Panthers blew a two goal lead here at home, and ended up losing in overtime.  Washington, after a sluggish start now finds themselves at the top of the Southeast Division after going 7-2-1 in their past 10 games.  However the division itself is so erratic, one loss by the Capitals could send them spiralling to eighth overall in the conference.  After a 2-8-1 start, Washington has put together a record of 16-9-1, but there’s still a long way to go.

“The guys will enjoy it for a little bit, but we’ve got a lot of hockey left,” said Oates, whose team has gone 6-1-1 in the past eight. “I think it’s more important that we focus on the (games this) weekend because it obviously can drop just as fast.”

Part of Washington’s success can be attributed to the recent play of Alex Ovechkin who has 13 points in his last 8 games played and 37 overall after a horrid start which saw him score only twice in 10 games.  He now has 20 goals on the season.  In addition to Ovechkin the steady play of the pestilent Mike Ribeiro combined with the always consistent Nicklas Backstrom, the Capitals seem to have found their offensive trigger.  Washington is also hoping for an additional offensive spark from newly acquired Martin Erat who arrived at the trade deadline on Wednesday and participated in the shootout win over the New York Islanders on Thursday night.

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Panther Parkway Noon Headlines: Pavel, Pavelski, Tavares, Grand Slam.

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.

* The Three Stars for Friday night via Puck Daddy.

* The New Jersey Devils are having trouble with the shootout.  NHL.com.

* Scott Cullen from TSN hands out the hardware after three quarters of the season.

* John Tavares leading the way on Long Island. SI.com.

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Getting To Know Defenseman Mike Caruso (Q&A)

After years of waiting and hard work, Mike Caruso finally had the chance to live out his dream when he made his NHL debut earlier this season. The 24 year-old native of Mississauga, Ontario made the Florida Panthers’ opening night roster after spending four years with the Guelph Storm in the Ontario Hockey League and another four and a half years in the American Hockey League with both the Rochester Americans and the San Antonio Rampage. I had the chance to chat with Mike last week and ask him some questions so that fans could learn a little more about one of the newest Florida Panthers.

Here’s what the rookie defender had to say:

When and how did you first get interested in Hockey?
I first became interested in hockey when my parents put me on skates at 4 years old, joined my first team the next year.

Who would your dream defense partner be?
My dream defense partner would be Bobby Orr.

What’s been your favorite hockey moment that you’ve been a part of?
My favorite hockey moment so far in my career would be on January 19, 2013 when I played in my first NHL game in Florida.

What’s the best part of playing for the Florida Panthers Organization?
The best part of playing for this organization is the quality of the guys within it. Over the past 5 years I’ve been fortunate to play with some incredible guys, and what I’m sure will be life long friends.

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