Florida Panthers Loan Jacob Markstrom to San Antonio

Florida Panthers General Manager Dale Tallon announced today that the club has loaned goaltender Jacob Markstrom to the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL.

After heading into the season with expectations that he may take a great leap forward in his development, Markstrom has struggled immensely between the pipes for the Panthers thus far, earning a 1-5-3 record with a 3.36 GAA / .877 SV%. While some of the blame for his current struggles can be put on the shoulders of the team’s mediocre defense, Markstrom’s two-way contract made him the odd man out of the team’s goaltending battalion now that both veterans Tim Thomas and Scott Clemmensen are healthy. 

Now in the minors, Markstrom will have a chance to regain some his wounded confidence while sharing time with Panthers’ prospect Michael Houser who currently boasts a surprising 4-1-0 record with a 2.17 GAA / .917 SV%. 

As the Panthers continue their tumultuous season it may be best that Markstrom once again become the team’s goalie in waiting while the club tries to sort out their roster problems at the NHL level. However, given both the age and recent injury problems of Thomas and Clemmensen, it is very likely that Markstrom will find his way back to the Panthers’ lineup at some point this season.

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Tim Thomas Injured, Scott Clemmensen Recalled From San Antonio

After allowing the second of two very flukey first period goals against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night, Panthers’ goaltender Tim Thomas exited the game after suffering an injury while attempting to make a save on the Flyers’ second goal of the evening. While Thomas has yet to receive a full diagnosis, the team is currently saying that Thomas’ suffered a lower-body injury and that it is not thought to be serious at this time. Prior to tonight’s game, Thomas had a 4.20 GAA / .873 SV% while going 1-1-0 for the Panthers.

Until the full extent of Thomas’ injury is known, the Florida Panthers are expected to recall veteran backup goaltender Scott Clemmensen from the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage. Coming off a knee surgery that kept him out for three weeks, Clemmensen won his only start for the Rampage thus far while allowing just 1 goal on 25 shots faced. While it looks like Jacob Markstrom will now receive the bulk of the starts until Thomas’ return, the return of Clemmensen’s veteran presence to the dressing room should prove to be beneficial to the Panthers.

We will continue to update you on the extent of Thomas’ injury as more information comes forward.

Update: Tim Thomas reportedly has a “slight groin pull”, not expected to be serious, but Clemmensen should join the team in Tampa.

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Vote: Who Do You Want to See as The Backup Goalie in Florida This Season?

As the Florida Panthers begin their training camp activities today, the team still has many questions to address heading into the 2013-2014 season. With very few players having any guarantees, this week’s camp will be a dogfight for roster spots and minutes as each player tries to stand out from the rest.

One of the more pressing issues that has arisen since the injury to goalie Scott Clemmensen is the Panthers’ current lack of a veteran backup goaltender. With countless names already swirling around the rumor mill, we here at Panther Parkway decided to turn to the fans to see just who would receive the biggest welcome if they did find their way to the Sunshine State. For arguments sake, let’s assume that Jacob Markstrom will be the opening night starting goaltender, but the question is now, who will be backing up him up? If there is a goalie you would wish to have that is not listed in our poll, please vote for “other” and write your entry in the comments section.

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Goalie Tryout Rob Madore Impresses at Panthers’ Rookie Tournament

With the sting of Friday’s 8-4 loss to the Nashville Predators still in the back of their minds, the Florida Panthers once again found themselves playing from behind against the Boston Bruins in Friday’s installment of the team’s annual rookie tournament. After going down 4-0 early in the first period of Saturday’s game, the Panthers once again looked as if they may fall victim to yet another blowout in front of their home fans. After the first intermission gave the Panthers time to “get angry” as center Nick Bjugstad stated, the team decided to pull goaltender Michael Houser midway through the 2nd period in favor of a mostly unknown tryout by the name of Rob Madore.

From that point on the game had a completely different feel. Madore stood on his head for the remainder of the game, stopping all 18 shots he faced, including several sprawling saves. In front of Madore, the team was finally able to establish their offense and complete an impressive 5-4 comeback victory. Although Nick Bjugstad garnered most of the post-game attention after leading the Panthers’ attack with three goals, it’s fair to argue that Madore may have been the best looking player in that game.

The question now is, who exactly is Rob Madore?

Rob Madore (Kelsey Hinds)

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Corn, Cattle, and Pucks: Examining The Growth of Hockey in Iowa

Over the past few years, hockey in the United States has seen substantial growth in both cold weather and non-traditional markets. In fact, enrollment numbers have nearly double since the 1991-1992 season, from just over 230,000 participants in that year to over 550,000 in 2011-12. However, even with this promising growth, hockey still remains a foreign concept in several states. Nestled in America’s Heartland, the state of Iowa is in the midst of an impending hockey boom.

Rarely in any hockey related headlines, Iowa has seen a surge in youth hockey enrollment in recent years, seeing a 317.9% growth from 1990-2010 to an admirable 2,549 participants. While I don’t expect any farmers to sacrifice their crops in favor of building an ice rink in hopes of playing with the ghost of Maurice “Rocket” Richard, the fact is that Iowa residents are seemingly starting to warm up to hockey’s chilling appeal.

Kevin Costner in "Field of Dreams" (Universal Pictures)

Kevin Costner in “Field of Dreams” (Universal Pictures)

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Game Day Preview: Florida Panthers vs. New Jersey Devils. So We Soldier On

FLORIDA PANTHERS: 13-24-6 (32 PTS.) vs. NEW JERSEY DEVILS: 16-17-10 (42 PTS.)


GAMEDAY SONG: Symptoms-Atlas Genius

The New Jersey Devils tonight’s opponent for the Florida Panthers  were on one of the franchise’s worst losing streaks until they finally shutout the Philadelphia Flyers 3-0 on Thursday.  The blanking of the Flyers was the 121st of his career for Devils netminder Martin Brodeur.  The Devils had previously been 0-6-4 in the previous 10 games, and saw themselves drop from seventh to 12th in the Eastern Conference prior to the tilt against the Flyers.  Prior to the start of Friday night’s games, the Devils had moved up to 11th behind Buffalo and Winnipeg, and have a game at hand, with five left on the schedule for them.

New Jersey who are a dead last in the league in scoring with only 99 goals on the year are looking for their first two game winning streak since March 21-23, and don’t have a winning streak longer than five games. If the Devils were to miss the playoffs it would be for only the second time in 13 seasons.  From where they sit currently, they trail the New York Rangers by six points, so their work is cut out for them with little room for mistakes to be made.  They’ll play the Rangers two more times before the season ends, with the final game coming on the last day of the season, meaning this could go down to the wire.

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Panthers’ Goals Against Problem Has No Easy Fix

Shortly after Scott Clemmensen surrendered the second goal of the first period against the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday night, the boos began to rain down from the stands.  A chant of “We want Markstrom” formed shortly after.  It appeared that the Panthers crowd finally lost all patience with the veteran backstop, and for good reason: Clemmensen’s stats this year are simply subpar to say the least, and four crappy periods against the division rival Hurricanes would sink his numbers even further.

At intermission, the venom spewed in Clemmensen’s direction was reaching an all-time high: fans on Twitter demanded that Clemmensen be subbed out in favor of the young Jacob Markstrom, who was totally not in a position to play after not practicing for days and just getting his pads at around the time the puck dropped.  At least a couple fans even maintained that they would refuse to renew their season tickets if Dineen didn’t pull Clemmensen.  And maybe the Panthers coach might’ve consideredswitching the struggling netminder out in favor of the potentialed Swede, if he thought it would make any difference.

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Quickly From The Top: Zero Point Weekend For Panthers

panthers canes

Image Property of Panther Parkway

After Saturday night’s pasting by the Carolina Hurricanes, the Florida Panthers started out the game with much more zip and energy.  Unfortunately for them, Canes goaltender Cam Ward showed up.  Again.  Out shooting the Hurricanes 12-9, Ward made all 12 saves to hold the Panthers scoreless in the first while Carolina scored twice on Panther’s netminder Scott Clemmensen. 

The Canes would score again in the second period when Jordan Staal put one past Clemmensen, making it 3-0.  A which would hold up until Panther rookie Jonathan Huberdeau tipped in a Peter Mueller cross ice pass to give the Panthers life in the closing minutes of the middle period.  The score would remain 3-1 until the closing minute of the final frame when Huberdeau scored again with the Panther net empty for the extra skater to make it 3-2 with 55 seconds left.

The Panthers seemed to play two different games having energy in the first, a lull for most of the second and third, then showing some life late in the third.  But too little too late once again, as they just ran out of time.  Clemmensen was visibly upset after the game, spoke quickly and softly  and said:

“It’s a 60 minute game.  And we all have to play 60 minutes”.

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Panthers Fall Behind Early, Bested By Sabres in Shootout

On a night in which the Florida Panthers played possibly one of their best all-around games of the season, the unlucky Cats still could not pull off a victory over the Buffalo Sabres, inevitably losing 4-3 in a shootout.

The action at the BB&T Center kicked off early on on Thursday night as George Parros and John Scott squared off for a heavyweight bout only 2:37 into the game. Although Parros was able to get in a few good punches, Scott eventually dropped Parros’ to his knees - giving him his second victory against the veteran figther this season. Parros last chance to beat Scott this year will come when the Panthers face the Sabres for the final time during the regular season on March 28th.

After the dust had settled from the brawl, the real action got underway as the Panthers and Sabres combined for an astounding 5 goals during the first period of play alone. Although he was impressive in his shutout relief appearance of Jose Theodore on Tuesday night, backup Scott Clemmensen just didn’t seem to have his head on straight Thursday against the Sabres. Clemmensen allowed 3 goals on just 10 shots before being pulled in favor of Jose Theodore. Much like Theodore’s performance on Tuesday night, Clemmensen fell victim to allowing soft and costly goals - a trend that hopefully won’t continue for either netminder.

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Markstrom Called Up: What’s Next For Theodore & Clemmensen?

As previously reported by Panther Parkway, the Florida Panthers are now juggling three goaltenders after recalling top goalie prospect Jacob Markstrom from the AHL on Wednesday.

After a series of cringe-worthy games and giving up an NHL-leading 3.73 goals per game on average, the Panthers finally decided to cave into the fan’s outcry to give the young netminder a chance to help change the team’s fortunes. Although a lot of the team’s recent woe’ can be attributed to their defense just as much as their goaltending, it was clear that something had to be done to shake things up and this was by far the easiest option.

Those worried that Markstrom will be negatively affected by playing in front of a porous defense should remember that Markstrom did play in 7 games for the Panthers last season where he went 2-4-1 with a 2.66 GAA / .923 SV%. While last’s year defense was playing better than the Panthers’ current unit, the fact that Markstrom has already been tested at the NHL level should keep his mental stability intact.

However, now that Markstrom is heading for the big stage, what will become of the current regime of Jose Theodore and Scott Clemmensen? With both Clemmensen and Theodore serving one-way contracts and neither bound for the AHL anytime soon, it is clear that one of these two netminders will have to leave the Panthers’ now crowded crease.

But who should go and why? Here is how I see the Panthers’ options for both Jose Theodore and Scott Clemmensen.

Jose Theodore

Currently playing on a 1-year $1,500,00 contract and scheduled to be a un-restricted free agent next season, Jose Theodore would be the Panthers’ easiest player to move if Jacob  Markstrom remains in the NHL through the rest of the season.

Although he has had a handful of standout games this year, Jose Theodore is still having a less than stellar statistical season - compiling a 4-6-2 record with a 3.37 GAA / .893 SV%. Even though his defense has left him out to dry on several occasions, Theodore has still fallen victim to allowing quite a few soft goals this season and hasn’t resembled the goaltender that helped carry the Panthers to a Southeast Division title last season.

Considering he is in the last year of his contract, a veteran goaltender like Theodore could intrigue several teams if he were to hit the trading block in the coming weeks. Team’s in need of a backup goaltender such as the Philadelphia Flyers could be willing to part with a draft pick or perhaps more if they believe that a change of scenery could help squeeze out the last bit of greatness that Theodore has at this stage of his career.

If Markstrom does end up excelling at the NHL level this season, I fully expect General Manager Dale Tallon to receive a few phone calls about Jose Theodore’s availability.

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