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Panthers Recall Robak From San Antonio

Photo Source: Nick Miller/wikimedia commons

Photo Source: Nick Miller/wikimedia commons

The Florida Panthers announced Saturday evening that they have recalled defenseman Colby Robak from San Antonio of the American Hockey League. The 22 year-old Robak played three games for Florida last February when injuries decimated their defensive corps, the first games of his National Hockey League career.
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Florida Panthers View From Above. Do You See What I See?

From Above. Image Property of Panther Parkway

Some may find my writing or commentary here and on Twitter insensitive, negative or arrogant.  While that’s not who I am, I do take solace in being fair and truthful as I see and perceive things.  If you’re looking for an apologist or a “homer” that’s not me. If you want fair opinion, then you’re in the right place. This article is in response to many of the discussions that were had after Saturday’s loss to Tampa.

The Florida Panthers will complete their four game homestand tonight against the much improved Toronto Maple Leafs hoping to get at least one win out of the four games played here in Sunrise.  A rather disappointing week finds the Panthers with an 0-0-3 record on home ice in which they’ve squandered a two goal lead late in the game, not once, but twice.  Only to see both games lost shortly into overtime.  Those games saw the Panthers erupt for five goals in each tilt, but sandwiched between them was a 1-0 overtime shutout by Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens.  It seems as though the Florida Panthers score five goals, or no goals on their way to a consistently inconsistent season.

After this weeks overtime losses to division foes Washington and Tampa Bay,  many of the same mistakes that Panther fans have been accustomed to over the years began to raise their ugly heads again causing many probing questions, as well as some harsh remarks from the fan base.  Many are calling for the Panthers to get Jacob Markstrom here as fast as possible with confidence in Jose Theodore fading, and trust in Scott Clemmensen almost non existent.  The losing is certainly frustrating, and the fragility and lack of confidence in the team is clearly present.  Especially late in games.

While many are quick to judge and ready to pull the plug on the current goaltending tandem, to be fair, one must take a long hard look at what else is happening on the ice before making such a statement.  While this isn’t an apology for either Theodore, or Clemmensen, who both must be sharper and more consistent, there are a glut of other issues that contribute to this seasons erratic and frustrating play.  It was after a home game earlier in the year when Captain Ed Jovanovski commented in the dressing room that play in all three zones has to be better.  It was an issue more than 2 weeks ago, and it’s still an issue now.  Which brings us to the point of this article.

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Game Day Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Florida Panthers. Shut Out The Lights


GAME DAY SONG: The Fuse by Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band

Two struggling Florida teams will face off this afternoon when the reeling Tampa Bay Lightning meet the Florida Panthers here in Sunrise, Florida.  The Lightning who started out hot, are now 0-5-1 in their last six games and are 1-4-0 on the road for the season find themselves just two points ahead of the Panthers in the Eastern Conference standings.  Tampa has beaten Florida the past five times they’ve met including January 29th by a score of 5-2.  That was the game where BJ Crombeen hit Ed Jovanovski knee on knee and we haven’t seen Jovo since.   Also of note during the Lightning’s latest winless streak is that their high powered offence hasn’t scored more than three goals in any of those six games.  The last time Tampa won was the very next game they played after beating the Panthers when they manhandled Winnipeg 8-3.

Tampa’s struggles can also be attributed to their suddenly anemic power play during this losing streak, which is only 2 for it’s last 18, while being outshot 186 to 147.  Tampa lost a close one to Washington on Thursday by a score of 4-3, but coach Guy Boucher is trying to remain optimistic throughout the streak:

“Either we just stay close and keep grinding and we come out of this, it’s still going to be a fight after we win one game,” said coach Guy Boucher, whose team went 0-6-1 from Jan. 3-15, 2012.

“It won’t change anything in terms of how we’re supposed to play, we’re just trying to be more consistent at it and get a bit of something positive out of it.”

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Injury Bug Continues To Bite The Florida Panthers

During last season’s 82 game schedule the Florida Panthers lost over 320 man games to injury en route to their first ever division championship.  Fortunately it was the depth of the organization and the play of the entire team behind the coaching of Kevin Dineen, that  allowed Panthers to overcome the constant and lenghty trips to the injured list.  Scottie Upshall, Dmitry Kulikov, Sean Bergenheim, and Marcel Goc were among the players that missed significant time, with many others having spent time injured as well.  Collectively the Florida Panthers were able to hold their own as the leaders of their division.

This year, the trend seems to be continuing, however with vastly different results.  Scottie Upshall who missed 56 games last season will be out approximately a month with an ankle injury.  Sean Bergenheim was hurt playing in Europe, and there’s no timetable for his return.  Captain Ed Jovanovski has been out of action since taking a knee on knee hit from Tampa’s BJ Crombeen on January 29th.  Jovo is expected to be out another two weeks, although he did skate with the team at practice on Friday.  He is expected to miss an additional two weeks.

Adding to that list, Kris Versteeg, last season’s spark plug hasn’t been healthy from the beginning of the season, and is now day to day after taking a hit from behind by Alex Ovechkin.  Versteeg missed Thursday night’s game against Montreal, and is expected to miss Saturday’s game against Tampa.  Lastly, Stephen Weiss who has been a ghost of himself is apparently nursing a groin injury, which might explain his somewhat lackluster play. 

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He Coulda Been A Florida Panther. Looking Back At Round One Of The 1994 Draft

With the announcement that the Winter Classic has officially been cancelled, thinking of material to hold your interest can get difficult.  However it’s also a time where I can sit back and write about some things that I normally wouldn’t have time for.  This will be a series called “He Coulda Been A Florida Panther”  that will examine the Florida Panthers first round draft picks, and who they “could’ve” drafted instead.  It’s easy to look back and analyze, especially with what is known after the fact, but we need some fun.   Although I think in a few cases, we’ll shed some tears.

Today we take a look at the first round of 1994.  The Florida Panthers who were coming off a very successful first season, landed the top pick in the draft and made a very solid choice with their pick.  Ed Jovanovski, a big, offensively talented blue liner who could score, and pass in addition to playing with a nasty snarl was an easy choice.  The Panthers who were a defensive minded team at that time, wanted to shore up their blue line, and by adding Jovo, they felt that found a player that could be built around for a very long time.

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Why The Lockout Hurts The Florida Panthers

With the announcement on Friday that the NHL is cancelling all NHL games for the month of November (over 300 games in all have now been cancelled),  it is beginning to sink in how devastating the lockout is going to be to a team like the Florida Panthers.  While not alone in this saga, the momentum that was created by last season’s division championship is beginning to lose it’s luster.  Don’t lie if you’re a Panther fan, you know this is true.

After not appearing in the playoffs for over a decade ( I am waiting to never have to say that again), the Florida Panthers finally tasted post season hockey, and did it by winning their first ever division championship.  The team which in previous years fought very hard to put fans in the building, and did it many times by virtually giving seats away (remember when you had to buy a Subway BLT sandwich to get a free ticket?), no longer was faced with such a challenge.  Last year’s season started out positively, and continued for the entire year as the Cats either flirted with or were in first place for the whole season.

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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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