Sean Bergenheim Earns Point in Return to Panthers After 18 Month Absence

Nearly 18 months since his last game with the Florida Panthers, forward Sean Bergenheim made his return to the lineup on Friday night against the struggling Buffalo Sabres.

Last seen in an NHL game during Game 7 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals against the New Jersey Devils, Bergenheim missed all of the lockout-shortened 2012-2013 season and the first 10 games of this season while recovering from multiple lower-body injuries.

“It’s been a while, but I don’t feel that it’s been that long,” Bergenheim told Alain Poupart after the Panthers’ morning skate. “When I look at how many months it’s been since I played, I don’t feel that on the ice. I don’t feel it’s been that long. I’m really happy to be back. For sure, I missed this.”

Having earned a career-best 17 goals during the 2011-2012 season, and three goals and three assists in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Bergenheim’s scoring abilities should be a welcome addition to a Panthers team that currently sits near the bottom of team scoring in the NHL.

Luckily for the Panthers, Bergenheim didn’t take long to dust off the cobwebs and get back on the score sheet as a crisp pass to Jesse Winchester gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead at 13:58 in the first period.

“It wasn’t pretty, but it was great to see Bergy (Bergenheim) get in on it, especially so early on in the game,” Winchester said. “Hopefully he can build on that for the next one.”

Still adjusting back to the rigors of competitive hockey, Bergenheim played 6:33 through the first two periods of play while being eased back into the lineup by Panthers’ Head Coach Kevin Dineen. However, after looking impressive throughout the first two periods, Bergenheim briefly made his way off of the 4th line and earned a personal game-high 5:26 TOI during the 3rd period as the Panthers tried desperately to get puck past Sabres’ goaltender Jhonas Enroth who stopped a staggering 44 of 45 shots.

“I thought Bergy had a solid game”, said Dineen. “He made good solid plays and was in there creating offense. A lot of try and a lot of push, but unfortunately like the rest of us he couldn’t find the back of the net.”

Unfortunately for the Panthers, Bergenheim’s return to the lineup was not enough to spark the team to a much-needed victory as the Panthers fell to the Sabres 3-1 behind an astounding performance by goaltender Jhonas Enroth.

While it may be hard to continue to find silver linings for the Panthers as the losses continue to pile up, the addition of Bergenheim’s scoring ability and energy should help bolster the team’s struggling offense.

Bergenheim will look to build on his early success as the Panthers welcome their cross-state rivals, the Tampa Bay Lightning, Sunday at 5:00 p.m.

Thanks for reading and we welcome your thoughts in the comments section below!

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Panthers’ Player Ratings and Head Scratchers in EA Sports NHL 14

With just under a month away until the 2013-2014 NHL season, fans around the world received a much welcomed reprieve from the anxiety of waiting when EA Sports released the latest installment of their NHL gaming series - NHL 14. Sadly for fans, the powers that be at EA Sports proved that hockey is once again near the bottom of their priority list.

While the gameplay still makes NHL 14 a fantastic hockey simulation, the roster updates and player ratings once again look as if they were put together by a team of outsourced employees that don’t even know the NHL is played on ice. While the great teams and popular players were again greeted with favorable ratings, the lowly Panthers were neglected as usual.

Just two seasons removed from an All-Star appearance and Lady Byng trophy, defenseman Brian Campbell once again finds himself as the highest rated Panther (84), but still in the middle of the pack when it comes to the entire crop of defensive players in the game. Some other noteworthy gaffs include Aleksander Barkov not even on the roster and Sean Bergenheim seeing a boost in his ratings even after missing the entire 2012-2013 season.

While I could continue to rant for hours about the mishaps of EA’s rating and roster systems, it’s best to just sit back and enjoy the game. It’s safe to assume that EA will be remedying most of the roster mishaps in the near future, but most likely will not touch the ratings for some time. Until then, I have compiled a list of the Panthers’ NHL 14 ratings and compared them to their ratings in the series previous installment.

Enjoy the chart below!

[Read more...]

Could Derek Stepan Be a Good Fit For the Panthers?

Offer sheets.  I like offer sheets about as much as I like shootouts and steamed broccoli.  (If you’ve ever gone to have a meal with me and watch a game you know I hate both).  Nonetheless offer sheets are a tool that can be used to, dare I say “steal” a player from a team that refuses to make a qualifying offer to that player whose contract has expired, and is too young, or hasn’t played enough to qualify for unrestricted free agency.  Offer sheets like shootouts (and broccoli for me anyway), can cause the involved parties to become quick enemies based on the end result.  Remember the Dustin Penner incident when Anaheim Ducks GM Brian Burke called Edmonton’s GM, Kevin Lowe gutless?  Good times.

While the unrestricted free agent pool has produced over 60 signings, there are a few restricted free agents that are quite intriguing.  For the sake of the Florida Panthers future, none of these players is more intriguing than New York Ranger center Derek Stepan. Stepan is a former second round pick, who was taken 51st overall in the 2008 NHL entry draft, and has been not only a dependable player, but a durable one at that.  Stepan hasn’t missed an NHL game in the three seasons that he’s played, and his point totals have increased in each of the three seasons he’s been in the league.

[Read more...]

Florida Panthers’ Easter Eggs

Happy Easter hockey fans! While many of you will find Easter baskets filled with chocolate and scratch off lottery tickets waiting for your this morning, we here at Panther Parkway decided to give you a new kind of Easter Egg. For this special holiday, we have put together a list of fun Florida Panthers’ Easter Eggs for you to enjoy. Everything from fun stats to interesting facts about the Panthers’ season are listed below, enjoy!

*Statistics shown are correct as of March 30, 2013.

  • Between Stephen Weiss, Sean Bergenheim, Ed Jovanovski, Kris Versteeg, and Jose Theodore, the Panthers currently have $15,875,000 worth of salary out for the remainder of the 2013 season.
  • The Florida Panthers are heading towards being the first Southeast Division champion to miss the playoffs the following year since the Atlanta Thrashers failed to reach the playoffs during the 2007-2008 season.
  • Panthers’ rookie forward Drew Shore and Head Coach Kevin Dineen both played college hockey for the University of Denver.
  • Forward George Parros needs just 21 PIM’s to reach 1000 for his career.
  • [Read more...]

Panther Players Injured Overseas

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Author: Michael Miller

The NHL lockout is never a fun topic to talk about. As all of us fans continue to pray that the two sides stop being so stubborn and come to an agreement, players throughout the league are continuously signing with teams overseas. For the Florida Panthers, we have seen many of our players go across the ocean. Whether it was our great young defender, Dmitry Kulikov, or one of our veterans such as Tomas Kopecky, multiple players from the Florida Panthers have decided to go to Europe to get some playing time in untill the lockout is settled.

When a player chooses to go play overseas, they know there is a huge risk involved. The style of hockey that is played in the Eastern side of the world is much different from what they’re used to here in the states. Even with the chance of injury being there, the players still go overseas nonetheless. In my opinion, one of the biggest reasons for the move overseas is you cannot go a whole year without contact and then just play at the same level once hockey starts up again. Unfortunately with contact, there are always injuries. I never enjoy watching players get injured in any sport, no matter who the player is, or what team that player plays for. For example, it is safe to say that I am not a fan of Sidney Crosby, however, when he went down with his concussion, I knew that hit could completely change his career. In two seasons since, Crosby was only able to play a total of 63 games. Injuries are a very serious thing, and as a fan, it hurts a lot more when it’s a player from your favorite team. [Read more...]

Some Florida Panthers Have Taken Their Game To Europe.

Dmitry Kulikov and me, David Rodriguez

With the lockout seemingly in full force, and more games expected to be cancelled within the week, we’re left wondering if there is any hope for any games this year.

We can see many players going overseas to play in Europe, most notably names like Evgeni Malkin, Pavel Datsyuk, Claude Giroux and Alex Ovechkin. There have been rumblings all around Twitter and Facebook that a deal is far from being settled, giving the impression that it’s going to be awhile before any games are played.

Since the lockout is in full effect I wanted to update the readers on how some of our beloved Florida Panther players are doing overseas. Many players have been seen working out at the Saveology Ice Plex over the last couple of weeks; some of those names have included Roberto Luongo, Tomas Vokoun and P.K. Subban.

As for former Panthers, I just so happened to stumble upon Nathan Horton at La Fitness in Coconut Creek last week. I asked him a couple of questions and he responded with what seemed like a hopeless look on his face when asked if they were going to get back to work anytime soon. I also asked if he was enjoying Boston and he gave me a hesitated answer which was, yes, but replied “You have to love the Florida weather though”.

So giving some updates to you guys.

According to

Tomas Kopecky has signed with the Slovakian Club Dulka Trencin on October 15th. Looks like Kopecky is going to be at home for a while.

 Jack Skille signed with the club Rosenberg IHK from Norway on October 14th.

Brian Foster of the Cincinnati Cyclones from the ECHL (affiliated with the Florida Panthers) has signed with GKS Katowice in Poland.

None of the above mentioned players have appeared in a game yet.

Some players that have already played are Marcel Goc, Sean Bergenheim, and Dmitry Kulikov

Marcel Goc has been red hot in the German league. Playing alongside his brother Nikolai Goc, Marcel has 2 goals and 5 assists in 8 games playing for the Adler Mannheim. Another notable NHLer on his team is former Panther Dennis Seidenberg. Marcel is native of Germany so he has to be considered one of the vocal leaders on his squad, and considered a prefect role model since he has played at the highest level and captained Team Germany at the 2012 World Championships.

Sean Bergenheim was one of the first Florida Panthers to head Europe. He signed with HIFK Helsinki in the SM-liiga league back in September. He has only played in two games and has one assist to show. He was playing along side former Florida Panther, Ville Peltonen. Peltonen spent 3 seasons with the Florida Panthers accumulating 88 points.  Bergenheim was injured in the second game that he appeared in, and has returned to the states to recover.

Dmitry Kulikov, the young Florida Panther defenseman is playing in his home country Russia for the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in the KHL. Kulikov has appeared in 6 games and has 1 goal and 1 assist. Kulikov is playing with Artem Anisimov who was just traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets in part of the Rick Nash deal to New York. Niklas Hagman a player drafted by the Florida Panthers in 1999, is also on Dmitry Kulikov’s squad. Also Semen (in Russian) Varlamov from the Colorado Avalanche is playing goalkeeper for Lokomotiv.

As we can see, there are a handful of players from the Panthers spending their time playing in the European leagues, due to the lockout. There are hundreds of other players throughout the league doing the same.

Most NHL players playing overseas:

Red Wings (10)

Bruins (9)

Flyers (9)

Islanders (9)

Blues (8)

Sharks (8)

Canadians (7)

There will probably be a little more movement if indeed if more games are cancelled so we’ll try to keep you up to date with all transfers involving any of the Florida Panthers.

Until next time.

Thank you for reading.

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God Bless.

The Monday Mailbag: You Ask, We Answer.

The above video was brought to you by Down Goes Brown.  Enjoy the humor that’s in it.  No offence is meant to anyone who appears.  If you know Down Goes Brown, and the site, it’s a lighter look at hockey.  From all angles.

This week should have been the start of the NHL Hockey season, however with the league locking out the players, the season’s first two weeks of games have been cancelled.  As I prepare this on Sunday afternoon, so as to not have any distractions for the American League playoff game between Baltimore and New York Sunday night, both sides were set to meet on Sunday to schedule meetings for this week.  I am seriously beginning to believe that we won’t see NHL hockey until December.  But that is another discussion.

Today I’ll answer the questions that came my way not only from the various sources on the internet, but also a couple  questions that came to me in person.  Let’s get started:

1) What is your plan B should the entire NHL season be cancelled?

As of right now, I don’t have a plan B.  I’m first of all trying not to overreact and worry about what I’m going to do with my “spare” time should there be no hockey.  Most likely that’s due to the fact that I have a strong interest in the baseball playoffs since the Baltimore Orioles are finally in them.  While watching baseball isn’t nearly the same as watching hockey, it still holds my interest especially since the O’s haven’t appeared in the post season for 15 years.  At this point, I’m taking things day by day, and have fading hope that we will see a regular season of hockey begin sometime by December 1st.  I will say this much, there is no way that I’ll revert to professional basketball as a way to replace my hockey fandom.  You have a better shot poking me in the eye with a sharp stick than having me invest time and interest in that game.  If you think you can bring up discussing three point shots and rebound control at the water cooler, be prepared to be cross checked.  As far as the Orioles go, I’ll have something to pay attention to.  After that is over, I’ll cross that bridge when I get there, which hopefully won’t be for a few more weeks.  And with any luck, we’ll have a resolution to this lockout.

[Read more...]

REDlines: Injury Bug Bites Florida Panther Forward Sean Bergenheim

Sean Bergenheim. Source: Wikimedia Commons, by Michael Miller

Last year the Florida Panthers were hit quite hard by injuries throughout the season.  At one point there were seven (yes seven) forwards that were injured,  affecting the Panthers lineup.  The Panthers lost over 300 man games during the course of the regular season to a variety of ailments, and still managed to win the Southeast division.  Depth was the key to last seasons playoff run.

Nothing new has changed this year, and even though we are in a lockout, the injuries still seem to have an affect the team.  Kris Versteeg who suffered a lower body injury late in the season that forced the colorful forward to miss 11 games, wasn’t 100% for the playoffs.  Versteeg still managed to score three goals in seven post season games for the Panthers.  However had this campaign started on time, Versteeg still wouldn’t have been ready due to not being recovered from his off season surgery on his hip.  He definitely would have been missed, since the timetable for his return was slated be as late as December.

[Read more...]


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