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Top Ten Panthers Of 2011-2012. Number 7

Photo Credit: Hockey Photography by Yuri Peralta

With the countdown getting closer and closer to number one, I introduce to you number seven on my list of best Panthers from last season; Dmitry Kulikov.

With the 14th pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, the Florida Panthers select Dmitry Kulikov. With the pick the Panthers were getting a terrific two way defender, with hopes that he could develop into being one of the best defenders in the league. Although he isn’t at that level yet, Dmitry Kulikov is definitely gaining recognition, not just as one of the best players on Florida, but as a premiere young talent in the league. Read the rest of this entry

Top Ten Florida Panthers Of 2011-2012

Photo Credit: Hockey Photography By Yuri Peralta

As you may all know by now, I am doing a list of the top ten Panther players from last season; of course, the list is based off of what I believe. Before we continue on with the list, let’s take a quick look back and see who number ten and number nine were.

Number Ten: Shawn Matthias; 2011-2012 Statistics: Games Played- 79, Goals- 10, Assist- 14, Total Points- 24

Number Nine: Erik Gudbranson;2011-2012 Statistics: Games Played- 72, Goals- 2, Assist- 6, Points- 8, Penalty Minutes- 78

Coming in at number eight on my list is, Tomas Kopecky.

2011-2012 Statistics:

Games Played: 80

Goals: 10

Assist: 22

Points: 32

Game Winning Goals: 2

Prior to the 2011-2012 NHL season, Tomas Kopecky found himself in a rough situation with the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blackhawks were in a place where they normally are every year, the playoffs. Entering the playoffs with the very last seed in the Western Conference, the Blackhawks needed just about every bit of power and will from their players that they can get. Unfortunately, after only the first game of the opening series against the Vancouver Canucks(seems like they’re brought up too much), Tomas Kopecky was forced to sit out for the remainder of the series with an upper body injury. Read the rest of this entry

Top Ten Florida Panthers Of 2011-2012

Photo Credit: Hockey Photography by Yuri Peralta

Number 9: Erik Gudbranson

Good morning all hope your week has been a good one so far. Last week I began a series in which I will be writing about who I believed the top ten Florida Panther players were last season. The list began with Shawn Matthias at the number ten spot. This week we will continue with the younger players of this Florida Panthers squad. Last year this player helped bring toughness to this team which was much needed, along with great quality defense. Although his offensive number weren’t quite there, the rest of his play was good enough to equal out his not so good offensive numbers and at the same time get a lot of people excited for the future. The number nine best Panther player from last year, Erik Gudbranson.

2011-2012 Statistics:

Games Played: 72

Goals: 2

Assist: 6

Points: 8

Penalty Minutes: 78

When the Florida Panthers drafted defender Erik Gudbranson third overall back in 2010, the Panthers were getting an eighteen year old with a very bright future ahead of him. A year after being drafted, Gudbranson made the Florida Panthers roster for the 2011-2012 season. After playing alongside veteran defender Ed Jovanovski for the better part of the season, hockey writers and experts immediately made a connection between the two players. Night in and night out, these two players worked extremely well together. Their similar build and never say never attitude, spark a great pair on the blue line. With the two’s chemistry building every night, many saw Jovanovski as the perfect mentor for Gudbranson.

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Top Ten Florida Panthers Of 2011-2012 #10

Photo Credit: Hockey Photography by Yuir Peralta

The lockout has officially taken over anything hockey. While you can blame both the owners and the players, it doesn’t matter at this point. Whether you put the blame on the owners or the players is up to you. I personally just want hockey back and by the look of things, it looks like we all are just going to have to patiently wait it out. Since the main topic in hockey is the lockout, us here at Panther Parkway are trying to come up with new ideas to keep each of you entertained. I have come up with the idea to do a series of articles explaining who I believe the top ten players were on the Florida Panthers last season. I know my list isn’t going to be perfect and you are definitely going to disagree with some. But with that being said, let’s kick off my list with number ten on the countdown; Shawn Matthias.

2011-2012 Statistics:

Games Played- 79

Goals- 10

Assist- 14

Total Points- 24

For Shawn Matthias last season was his best season in the NHL. In his 79 games played he set career best in just about every category. Even after what was a much improved year, there were still many questions left to be answered. One of the big questions to be answered was, after the amount of time on the team, was Shawn Matthias actually worth what we gave up? Well, if I had to answer that question, I would say yes. When the Panthers first traded away Roberto Luongo for Todd Bertuzzi, Shawn Matthias wasn’t even on the Panthers radar. However, after Bertuzzi only played a total of seven games in Florida, before falling victim to a herniated disc, the Panthers needed to do something. Bertuzzi was in the final year of his contract, and with no guarantee that he would re-sign, the Panthers traded him to the Detroit Red Wings for draft picks and Matthias.

After splitting time between the AHL and the NHL, Matthias became a main stay for the Panthers two seasons ago playing in 51 games. Despite missing a good part of the season due to injury, Matthias showed tons of potential for the Panthers. Just last year, Matthias saw his role on the team improve dramatically. One of the biggest things for Shawn last year was the ability to stay healthy. The Panthers have tremendous depth within the organization when it comes to forwards, so if Matthias wasn’t able to produce and stay healthy, he might not still have a spot on the roster. Not only was he able to stay healthy, but he also produced quite well. Matthias also showed his worth in other aspects of the game. He is listed as 6’4 220lbs on the Panthers website. With good size, Matthias didn’t let anyone push him or his teammates around, as you can see below.

With his potential, his physical ability, and his knowledge of the game; I believe that Shawn Matthias will continue to grow into a really good player for the Florida Panthers. If he could stay healthy and continue to work, don’t be so surprised if you see his point total go up quite a bit whenever hockey begins.

Thanks For Reading!

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The Affects Of The Lockout

Photo Credit: Hockey Photography by Yuri Peralta

The NHL Lockout, something no hockey fans enjoy seeing, but unfortunately it is going to be the main subject in the NHL until the two sides can come to an agreement. Work stoppages are never a good thing as it affects many people. We already know the affects that the players and owners are going to have to go through, but what about everyone else? When I say everyone else I mean the fans, the people who work their tails off at the stadiums night in and night out to make sure that the fans are safe and enjoying their experience at the arena. For the fans they’re losing the game that they love to watch. Hockey fans are some of the most dedicated fans in the nation and taking away the game that they love to watch and participate in. But how about the people who work at the arenas, the food vendors, the ushers, the clean-up crew, the security guards? These people put in their best effort every night to make sure us fans are making the most out of our hockey experience. The people who work at the arenas are losing a good amount of income for their selves. No events at the arena means there is no need for employees to be there.

For the players, the lockout means no work. While some players such as Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin and Ottawa’s Sergei Gonchar have already decided to go overseas, a lot of the older players are planning on just sticking it out. Some of these older guys who are going to rough it out, Martin Broduer, Jaromir Jagr, and Todd Bertuzzi. These three players are definitely up there in age, with two of them being over 40 years old. The two 40 year olds, Martin Broduer and Jaromir Jagr are both coming off playoff appearances and they are both coming off receiving brand new contracts this past offseason. Martin Broduer decided to sign a two year contract with the New Jersey Devils this past offseason, while Jaromir Jagr left Philadelphia to join the Dallas Stars on a one year deal worth $4.5 million. Todd Bertuzzi, 37, recently signed a two year contract extension with Detroit earlier this year. Read the rest of this entry

What Is The New NHL 13 Like?

Photo Credit: David Rodriguez

It’s been a busy couple of months for the folks at EA Sports. It all started July 10th when the company released yet another college football game for its customers. After the release of the NCAA Football 13, it was time to release what is arguably the most successful game under EA, Madden 13, which was released on August 28th. With the two football games in the past, Electronic Arts now had to turn to us, the hockey fans. This past week, NHL 13 was distributed to every gaming store in the nation as hockey fans were eager to purchase the game.

Much like us here at Panther Parkway, EA had to find a way to keep adding fresh new things for their followers. If we continuously write articles on the same thing, it will eventually get pretty dull and boring. With the pressure being high on EA to revamp their NHL franchise, the makers of the game knew that they must change the game completely and that they did.

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The Rick Nash Effect

Rick Nash, Photo Credit: Author Jshecket, Originally from en.wikipedia

For the past couple of years there has been speculation that the Columbus Blue Jackets were interested in trading their best player, All-Star forward Rick Nash. The plan for the Blue Jackets was to trade Nash and in return, obtain enough pieces to help the team build and hope to become contenders. Many people were wondering just what the Blue Jackets could get for Nash. Since Columbus was dealing their star, they wanted a lot in return. For a while, there was talk that the Jackets wanted a top six forward, a top prospect, and a first round pick, which is certainly a hefty price to pay for just one player. Unfortunately for Columbus they were unable to move Nash and after continuously hearing from teams about Nash, general manager Scott Howson decided it would be best for the team to keep Nash.

Last season the New York Rangers were one of the best teams in the National Hockey League. After earning the number one seed going into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, expectations were higher than ever in New York. After defeating the Ottawa Senators in the first round of the playoffs, the Rangers then shifted their attention to the Washington Capitals. Just like the first series, it took the Rangers seven games to close out the series and eliminate their opponent. The Rangers were in a spot that they haven’t been in in over a decade, the Eastern Conference Finals. Heading into the conference finals, the Rangers had to match up with the red hot New Jersey Devils. With two teams left, only one was able to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. Just like in the 96-97 season, the Rangers were unable to secure a victory to reach the Finals.

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