Same As It Ever Was For Florida

For a recap of Tuesday’s 4-3 OT loss to the Edmonton Oilers, I could easily link to any number of the Florida Panthers twelve total losses because it followed a familiar pattern: A two-goal, third period deficit overcome with a late rally, only to lose in overtime.
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Game Day Preview: Panthers vs. Predators. Scratching And Clawing


TSN Gameday

GAME DAY SONG:  Cage The Elephant: Come A Little Closer

After six games the Florida Panthers have proved to be very good at one thing.  Inconsistency.  It’s not meant to be a slap in the face, but the bitter reality is that the Florida Panthers are their own worst enemy.  Strong effort, followed by poor effort, followed by good effort, followed by…….. You get the idea.  The frustrating part is that it’s been their track record for quite sometime, not just this season.  Even when they won the division in 2011-2012, the tail end of the season found them to be lacking something.  Fortunetly that season, other teams weren’t playing much better, allowing them to clinch the Southeast division.  It was however built by their early season success.

The team that lost to Los Angeles on Sunday by a score of 3-0, looked nothing like the team that beat Pittsburgh 6-3 Friday.  Even with a couple line changes for Sunday’s game, the results weren’t there.  Coach Kevin Dineen put Scott Gomez on a line with Jonathan Huberdeau and Kris Versteeg.  A move that this writer felt was overdue.  The line was for the most part the best offensive line of the night (despite a -3 plus/minus), but couldn’t bury their chances.  The move allowed Marcel Goc to slide back to the third line, and have Tomas Kopecky and Scottie Upshall on his wings.  That line also had some good moments,  and is really where Goc belongs because of the strength of his defensive game.  Of the 20 shots that Florida tossed at Kings goaltender Ben Scrivens, less than one of them were challenging.  Well, maybe a couple, but you get the idea.  There has to be more net presence, better quality scoring chances have to be generated, and instead of being cute and waiting for the perfect shot, more shots on must be generated. [Read more...]

Observations Of The Florida Panthers After Two Games

The Florida Panthers took the day off Sunday following Saturday night’s thrashing at the hands of the St. Louis Blues by a score of 7-0.  Seven different Blues players scored, and the game ended in an ugly fashion with 15 different penalties assessed to the two teams, that included eight various misconducts, two fighting majors, and a penalty for an illegal check to the head that was given to Tomas Fleischmann.

The play of the Panthers compared to their victory over the Dallas Stars on Thursday was a total 180, as Florida looked overmatched from beginning to end.  If you read my preview, you knew that the Blues would be physical, and use their muscle to not only set the tone, but dictate the pace.  They were obviously successful.  It didn’t hurt either that the Blues penalty killing unit squashed numerous chances for the Panthers as well.  Goaltender Jaroslav Halak now sports a 8-1-0 career record against the Panthers, who must not let that get into their heads.

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Strong Third Period Propels Panthers In Season Debut

The Florida Panthers have waited since April to wash the horrible taste of last season out of their collective mouth. After giving up a goal very reminiscent of last season with 12:28 left in the third period to fall into a 2-1 deficit, it appeared that the Cats may have to wait another night to do so. Rather than fold, Florida rallied with three unanswered goals in the game’s final ten minutes to down the Dallas Stars 4-2 in the season opener for both teams.

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Vote: Who Will Lead The Panthers in Scoring This Season?

After a season in which they scored an NHL-worst 2.27 goals per game on average, the Florida Panthers will enter the 2013-2014 season with a handful of new faces that will try and improve on last year’s stagnant offense. Newcomers like rookie Aleksander Barkov and veteran Brad Boyes will look to make headlines during their first year wearing Panther red, while South Florida mainstays such as Kris Versteeg and Jonathan Huberdeau are set to add to their growing Panther resumes. Although winger Tomas Fleischmann has quietly led the team in scoring for the past two season, this new influx of offensive talent may finally place a new face atop the Panthers’ scoring charts.

Just days away from opening night and the final roster nearly in place, the question can now be posed  - who will lead the Panthers in scoring this season?

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Panthers Sign C Scott Gomez

With the first month of free agency behind us, the Panthers have been quietly active re-signing RFAs Shawn Matthias, Jacob Markstrom, Scott Timmins, and Colby Robak, as well as adding UFAs Joey Crabb and Jesse Winchester to their depth chart. In addition to these signings, the Florida Panthers announced Wednesday afternoon that they inked long-time NHL center-man, Scott Gomez.

Scott Gomez is best known for his seven years with the New Jersey Devils where he appeared in 548 games, tallying an impressive 450 points with the club, winning the Calder Trophy his rookie year, as well as two Stanley cups. Aside from his stellar years in New Jersey, the Anchorage Alaskan native also made his mark in the two seasons he spent on Broadway with the New York Rangers before being traded to the Montreal Canadians. The Canadians only saw one solid year from Gomez before his numbers dipped dramatically over the next two seasons, which resulted in the Habs buying him out of the remaining two years he had left on his $51.5 million contract. The following season, the UFA signed a one year deal worth $700,000 with the San Jose Sharks. In 39 games with the west coast franchise, Gomez tallied a respectable 15 points.

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Drew Shore: “I don’t think I have ever worked harder in a summer than I have this year.”

Drew Shore (Kelsey Hinds)

Drew Shore (Kelsey Hinds)

Coming off a season in which injuries gave way to his unexpected rookie campaign, Florida Panthers’ sophomore forward Drew Shore is heading into the 2013-2014 season with enough confidence for the entire roster. While Shore may not have garnered nearly the amount of attention as his fellow rookie teammate, 2013 Calder Trophy winner Jonathan Huberdeau, he still proved to be a pleasant surprise in an otherwise forgettable year in South Florida.

Prior to joining the Panthers, Shore spent last season’s lockout playing for the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL. In 41 games for the Rampage, he compiled 30 points (10G-20A-30P) and was named an AHL All-Star. Given the amount of promise he showed in the AHL, Shore was the easy choice to fill the Panthers’ void at center that had been created by injuries to players like Stephen Weiss and Marcel Goc.

On January 22nd, Shore made his NHL debut in a 4-1 loss against the Montreal Canadiens. Aside from briefly being returned to San Antonio to compete in the AHL All-Star Game, Shore would remain with the Panthers for the remainder of the season.

“After getting a taste of it last year I don’t think I have ever worked harder than I have in a summer than I have this year,” Shore said of his time in the NHL last season. “Once you get a taste of it, you kind of see some of the good players and the things they do well and are that much more motivated to work hard.”

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Panther Report: 2013 IIHF World Championship


With the preliminary round winding down and the quarter finals set to begin this Thursday, the action is just starting to heat up at the 2013 IIHF World Championship. With each team already having competed in at least 6 games, Team Canada and Team Russia have risen to the top of their respective groups. Although no Panthers’ skater has grabbed any headlines  throughout the tournament, there have still been some exceptional performances worthy of noting.

Below, I have listed the current statistics for each Panther player represented at the World Championship as well as adding a brief comment on their play.

Brian Campbell (Canada)

GP: 7

G: 0


Note: As he was for the majority of the season in Florida, defenseman Brian Campbell has been a workhouse for Team Canada so far this tournament. Through 7 games played, Campbell is 2nd on the team in total TOI with 140:23 minutes played. Also, Campbell’s +7 rating is good enough for the best +/- rating on the entire Canadian roster.

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Panthers Attending 2013 World Championship

With the Florida Panthers’ season officially over, Panther players will now be moving on to whatever the offseason may hold for them. Some players will take time to nurse nagging injuries, while others may simply take time off before preparing for next season. However, a select few Panthers will have to hold off on hanging up their skates as they get ready to represent their respective countries at the upcoming IIHF World Men’s Championship, May 3-19 in Stockholm, Sweden and Helsinki, Finland.

While Panthers’ rookie Nick Bjugstad was already announced to be participating in the tournament earlier this week, news broke recently that five of his Panther teammates would be joining him overseas.

Florida Panthers Participating in 2013 World Championship

D - Brian Campbell (Canada)

F - Tomas Kopecky (Slovakia)

F - Nick Bjugstad (United States)

F - Marcel Goc (Germany)

F - Tomas Fleischmann (Czech Republic)

G - Jacob Markstrom (Sweden)

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Panthers Find Consistency In Their 2nd Line

Tomas Fleischmann (Wikimedia Commons)

Tomas Fleischmann (Wikimedia Commons)

In what has been overall up and down season for the Florida Panthers, the team continues to find their most consistant play from an unlikely source. While players like Jonathan Huberdeau and Shawn Matthias have given the Panthers several “wow” moments this season, it has been the reliable play of the team’s 2nd line that has been helping the team stay in most games this season.

While names like Tomas Kopecky, Tomas Fleischmann, and Marcel Goc might not jump off of a stat sheet or turn any heads, the combination of this European trio has shined for the Panthers in an overall somber season. Although a brief injury limited Marcel Goc early in this season, the eventual teaming of these three skaters has been one of the lone things to work for Kevin Dineen this season as he has constantly had to tweak his roster to adjust for countless injuries.

While Jonathan Huberdeau may be the team’s individual MVP this season, the team’s 2nd line as a unit has been the Panthers’ most valuable weapon. Through 42 games this season, the trio of Kopecky, Fleischmann, and Goc have combined for a grand total of 73 points - the most by any line on the team. In fact, even with Huberdeau’s fantastic rookie season and Matthias’ goal explosion in March, it is Fleischmann and Kopecky that currently sit atop the Panthers’ scoring list.

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