Sidney Crosby: Goal of the Year Candidate?

Just when you thought you have seen all you can see from Sidney Crosby, he takes it one step further and scores one of the most mind-boggling goals of the season. It all starts with his great effort and back-checking, stealing the puck right out from underneath Thomas Vanek, weaseling his way around rookie defenseman Calvin De Haan and Thomas Hickey, and scoring this beauty to win it in overtime against the slumping New York Islanders.  You can love him, you can hate him, but this was just so…Sidney Crosby.




Follow the Panther Parkway crew on Twitter: Frank Rekas @FrankRekas, David Lasseter @davidlasseter , Paige Lewis @PaigeLewisFL, Jameson Cooper @JamesonCoop, and Amanda Land @HockeyGirl2530.  Also, please join our FaceBook Fan Page and hit the like button, send us photos, and tell us what’s on your mind.

Game Day Preview: Penguins vs. Panthers. I Walk The Way I Wanna Walk.


GAME DAY SONG:  Out In The Street. Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band

Since Kevin Dineen was fired back on November 8th, the Florida Panthers have gone 4-5-1 in the 9 games that interim coach Peter Horachek has coached.  The worst loss of those games came Wednesday night, a game before Thanksgiving, and it looked as though the Panthers had turkey on their minds from the puck drop.  The game besides being a dull, boring affair, proved that the Panthers still have some work to do in spite of some recent success.  Let’s not forget that Florida has the second fewest wins in the NHL, and their overall record is third worst in the league.

Yet it’s not all doom and gloom, as Florida has come a long way since the coaching move, as two other changes that took place may have sent a strong message to the team.  Goaltender Jacob Markstrom was sent to San Antonio to work on his consistency.  Not at all a bad idea for a goaltender who seemed to be fighting some sort of demon this season.  The second move was the trade of forward Kris Versteeg back to the Chicago Blackhawks for defenceman Dylan Olsen and forward Jimmy Hayes.  A move that Versteeg may have played himself into, but on the bright side, the chemistry that Olsen and defensive partner Erik Gudbranson seem to have is uncanny.  Gudbranson looks like a new player, and has played with more confidence and intelligence.  This could be a result of the coaching change as well, but regardless, the Panthers need their defence to tighten up, and for the most part they seem as though they have.

Tim Thomas who has been a workhorse since returning from injury has been one of the most consistent players on the team this year.  Despite his record of 6-8-1, it’s Thomas who has kept the games closer than they should have been.  A familiar story over the past few seasons here in Florida, where goaltending has usually been better than predicted, yet something that can’t be relied on 100%.  Scoring remains to be an issue as the Panthers have scored only 58 goals in 26 games.  Not nearly enough, and that has to improve.

Playing the Penguins tonight, Florida can reflect on a 6-3 victory the last time these two teams met here in Sunrise.  It was their best performance of the season at that time under Kevin Dineen.  Nevermind it was against goaltender Jeff Zatkoff who was making his NHL debut.  Zatkoff who relieved Marc-Andre Fleury on Wednesday, could be in the nets again for this one. In that previous game rookie Aleksander Barkov had his only multi-point game of the season when he scored a goal and added two assists.

The Panthers will need to play a smart game and be aware of all the offensive firepower that the Penguins have. Sidney Crosby is tied on the Penguins in goals with 13 and leads the league in points with 36.  However there’s also Evgeni Malkin (31 points), Chris Kunitz (26 points), James Neal and Jussi Jokinen to keep their eyes on.

While the Panthers now play a more uptempo game, it’s going to be important not to get into a run and gun game with Pittsburgh. The Penguins have too many weapons offensively, and Florida can’t afford to be caught with more than a hand full of odd man rushes against, as well as do their best to stay out of the penalty box.  Mistakes must also be kept to a minimum, and those have been coming from the defence all season.  Since Horachek took over, there have been less, but they are still evident.

This will be game three of the five game homestand, and a victory would certainly put a different outlook on things as the Cats continue to turn this season around.

Thanks for reading.  We welcome your comments and opinions.

Follow the Panther Parkway crew on Twitter: Frank Rekas @FrankRekas, David Lasseter @davidlasseter , Paige Lewis @PaigeLewisFL, Jameson Cooper @JamesonCoop, and Amanda Land @HockeyGirl2530.  Also, please join our FaceBook Fan Page and hit the like button, send us photos, and tell us what’s on your mind.

GIF: Sidney Crosby Breaks Nathan Mackinnon

News Flash! Sidney Crosby is still very good…very, very, good.

Currently leading the NHL in almost all important offensive categories, Crosby was unable to break Colorado Avalanche goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere on Monday night as the veteran netminder led the Avalanche to a 1-0 victory over the usually explosive Penguins’ offense. However, even though he wasn’t able to crack the score sheet, Crosby was able to crack something else - Nathan Mackinnon’s ankles.

In .gif below, Mackinnon, 18,  earned one of his first “welcome to the NHL moments” as he found out that keeping up with one of the NHL’s best may be harder than it looks.

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Panthers Rebound In A Big Way Over Pittsburgh

What a difference a day can make in the life of a National Hockey League club. Thursday night, the Florida Panthers were humbled by the Tampa Bay Lightning to extend their losing streak to three games. Things didn’t get to look any easier as the rested 3-0 Pittsburgh Penguins were waiting in Sunrise for the Panthers home opener. Thankfully for the home folks, the Cats were able to keep within in the theme of celebration and posted a 6-3 win.
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Game Day Preview: Penguins vs. Panthers. Always The Same




 After a week on the road, the Florida Panthers will finally come home to the friendly confines of south Florida and the BB & T Center to host the Pittsburgh Penguins for their home opener.  The only good thing about the four game road swing was game one, which the Panthers played a very complete game to beat Dallas 4-2.  Since then it’s been a downward sprial with losses to St. Louis, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay.  It’s not only that the Panthers have lost three in a row, it’s the way they’ve lost, which has to leave a bad taste in their mouths.

The shellacking in St. Louis, and the beating received in Tampa surrounded a valiant effort In Philadelphia.  However, there is no column for effort, and things need to turn quickly.  The Panthers who have been outscored 16-3 in the three losses must tighten up their defence for one, and must forecheck and backcheck better as well.  Both were problems last season with an injury riddled team.  A reversal of fortune was expected with the addition of veterans Tom Gilbert and Ryan Whitney on defence.   The turnaround has yet to materialize.

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Panther Parkway Radio: Panthers New Look, Panthers/NHL Predictions, & More

The Florida Panthers are just 22 hours away from their first regular season game of the 2013-2014 season. The past few weeks have been an exciting one for the Panthers and their fans ever since signing G Tim Thomas, RW Brad Boyes, D Tom Gilbert, D Ryan Whitney, and welcoming a new owner. For tonight’s podcast, we will be discussing everything that has been going on this past week, our Panther season predictions, NHL predictions, and the very controversial topic, “Should fighting be banned in hockey?” Tune in, and enjoy!

Host: Paige Lewis

Guests: Frank Rekas, Dave Lasseter, Jameson Cooper


  • Panthers New Look
  • Panthers season prediction
  • NHL Season Award Predictions
  • Should Fighting be banned?

Click the link below for today’s podcast!

We welcome and encourage comments and feedback!

Follow the Panther Parkway crew on Twitter: Frank Rekas @FrankRekas, David Lasseter @davidlasseter , Paige Lewis @PaigeLewisFL, Jameson Cooper @JamesonCoop, and Amanda Land @HockeyGirl2530.  Also, please join our FaceBook Fan Page and hit the like button, send us photos, and tell us what’s on your mind.

Eastern Conference Final Preview: Penguins’ Skill vs. Bruins’ Brawn.

Once the post season began, many thought that this would be the conference final that we’d see, and for those of you that like black and gold, or yellow, you’ll be seeing quite a bit of that as the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Boston Bruins in game one tonight.  Both teams were looking to improve themselves at the trade deadline as each team was romancing Jarome Iginla, who ultimately chose the Pittsburgh Penguins, as did Brenden Morrow for their destination.

The season series featured three games all won by the Penguins, and all three games being decided by one goal.  Ex-Panther Tomas Vokoun was in net for two of the three games, and will start the opener as coach Dan Bylsma continues to stay with the hot hand after Marc-Andre Fleury proved he couldn’t stop a beach ball.  Not a bad option for Pittsburgh, and should Vokoun falter himself, going back to Fleury will be something Bylsma won’t hesitate to do if he feels it to be the right decision.  The Bruins on the other hand were on the brink of extinction at the hands of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the opening round, but somehow found a way to score three goals in the final 10 minutes to tie the score, and then won in overtime to take the series.  Each team was able to dispose of their second round opponent without too much difficulty and are primed to go the distance in their quest for a Stanley Cup final appearance.

Let’s get to it shall we after the page break:

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Panther Parkway Noon Headlines: Crosby Hat Trick, Leafs Break Hearts, Hawks Can Improve.

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 from Puck Daddy.

* Who deserves the Jack Adams Award? Sportsnet.

* How The Toronto Maple Leafs broke an hockey loving astronaut’s heart.  TSN.

* David Backes of the Sts. Louis Blues wants to save a dog. Riverfront Times.

* The Blackhawks have room to improve even after dominating game one against the Red Wings. Blackhawk Up.

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Panther Parkway Noon Headlines: Toews Snubbed For Hart Trophy

Today’s noon headlines is significantly different than what we normally post.  The only headline that matters to this writer is the snubbing that the Professional Hockey Writers association gave to Chicago Blackhawks Center Jonathan Toews yesterday by not giving him enough votes to qualify as a Hart Trophy finalist.  The Hart Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the player judged most valuable to his team.  Before the criticism begins, the named finalists are Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin and John Tavares.  It marks the first time that all three finalists were first overall picks in their year of being drafted, and all three finalists are from the Eastern Conference.  Bias?  Maybe.  Solid choices?  Two out of three ain’t bad.

While Crosby missed a dozen games due to a broken jaw from a puck to the face, he still had an outstanding season, and looked as though he didn’t miss a beat when he returned from injury.  He finished fourth in the league in points with 56 point, was second in assists with 41, and had 17 multi-point games. It took 25 days for Marty St. Louis, the Art Ross winner, to pass him in points. Crosby had 3 power play goals and 14 power play assists and, was also a plus 26 as he lead the Penguins to the top seed of the Eastern Conference.  Crosby won the award in 2007 and was a finalist in 2010.

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Preview: Eastern Conference Playoff Matchups

The Eastern Conference playoff quarterfinal matchups present some interesting games to watch.  Each series promises to be a hard fought battle and the team with the most skill and resiliency will come out ahead.

Here’s a sneak peak at each matchup:

1) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. 8) New York Islanders:  The Pittsburgh Penguins have been on autopilot for most of the season despite being without Sidney Crosby for the past 12 games.  The veteran Penguins will take on an inexperienced Islanders team that is relying heavily on goaltender Evgeni Nabokov and young forward John Tavares.  The Penguins who’ll be going for their 4th Cup, are loaded with experience and grit, and added more with the deadline acquisitions of Jarome Iginla and Brenden MorrowSidney Crosby is slated to miss game one, and it’s not sure exactly when he’ll return.  Needless to say, there’s enough offence to go around.  As for the Islanders, it’s all about their offence, hard work and good goaltending.  John Tavares is growing into quite the offensive force, and is well supported by Matt Moulson and a fiesty, gritty group as well.  This could be a fun series.  Players to watch are James Neal and Chris Kunitz for Pittsburgh and Tavares, Moulson and Evgeni  Nabokov.  As good as Pittsburgh is, this Islanders team could give them fits. Prediction:  Penguins in six.

2) Montreal Canadiens vs. 7) Ottawa Senators:  This will be the only first round-all Canadian series amongst the 16 teams.  Montreal who slipped down the stretch is still the favourite of this series, but by a slim margin.  Goaltender Carey Price of the Canadiens hold the future of this Montreal club in his hands.  In a turnaround season for Montreal they will need a collective effort from everyone to get past Ottawa.  As for the Sens, they’ve battled adversity all season long with injuries to Jason Spezza, Erik Karlsson and Craig Anderson.  A  number of younger players chipped in and helped overcome the challenges that Ottawa faced.  Players to watch are rookies Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk of Montreal and Daniel Alfredsson, Cory Conacher and defencemen Erik Karlsson and Sergei Gonchar for Ottawa.  Prediction: Montreal in seven.

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