You Are Viewing All Posts In The Florida Panthers Category

Tim Thomas rusty, but Florida Panthers debut hints at return to greatness

Decrease fontDecrease font
Enlarge fontEnlarge font
Tim Thomas of the Florida Panthers sprawls to make a save against the Dallas Stars.

Tim Thomas’s old scrambling, sprawling form was on display in Florida’s 4-2 win over Dallas. (Andrew Dieb/Icon SMI)

By Allan Muir

Ideally, Tim Thomas would have skated off the American Airlines Center ice with a clean slate to go along with the win in his debut appearance for the Panthers.

“I try to stop every puck,” he said after leading Florida — it’s going to take a while to get used to that reality — to a 4-2 opening night victory over the Dallas Stars. “I don’t look at it as keeping my team in it. My job is to stop them all.”

That’s always been one of the elements that defined Thomas’s greatness during the past decade. Every game, a potential shutout. Every goal against, a personal affront.

Other than Thomas, though, no one was expecting him to be at his Vezina-Conn Smythe-Stanley Cup-winning best. Not yet anyway. A year off from the game, at age 39 no less, was bound to dull the edges a bit.

And dull they were. The truth is, Thomas looked very beatable last night. There were hints of the confidence that made his style-less style so effective in Boston, but the impact of his sabbatical was obvious.

Read More…


  • Published On Oct 04, 2013
  • New Florida Panthers goalie Tim Thomas tells media “I feel reborn”

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font

    By Allan Muir

    By all accounts, Tim Thomas looked pretty good today for a guy making his return to the ice after 15 months of self-imposed exile from the game. His reflexes were sharp, his positioning was solid and the old competitive fire was back in his eyes.

    One observer said it’ll probably take him longer to get used to seeing Thomas wearing red than it’ll take the 39-year-old to return to top form with his new team, the Florida Panthers.

    Thomas still has to sign a new deal — he’s only in camp on a professional tryout — but after today’s successful debut it’s a good bet that the former Vezina Trophy winner will be in the net when the Panthers open the season in Dallas on October 3.

    After the workout, Thomas, looking fit and fresh, spent a few minutes with the local media. Here are some of the highlights.

    Read More…


  • Published On Sep 17, 2013
  • Tim Thomas accepts PTO offer from Florida Panthers

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font
    Goaltender Tim Thomas will sign a PTO contract with the Florida Panthers

    If he still has his game, Tim Thomas could give the Panthers a reliable, stabilizing presence in net. (Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    Tim Thomas finally did the math.

    With training camps open, spending around the league pushing up against the ceiling and no teams in desperate need of his services, the veteran netminder finally decided to walk down the one path that was open to him. Thomas has agreed to join the Florida Panthers on a professional tryout basis.

    Panthers GM Dale Tallon says Thomas will practice with the team on Tuesday with an eye on grabbing the starting job.

    “We need somebody to help us get to where we need to go,” Tallon told AP. “Right now, it’s Tim Thomas. … The more competition you have for spots internally, the better off your team will be. It’s a wide-open competition. Let the best man win.”

    It’s an interesting development for the career of the 39-year-old netminder with two Vezina trophies, a Conn Smythe and a unique ability for creating controversy that he developed late in life.

    If Thomas expected to pick from a roomful of suitors when he announced his intention to return to hockey from his self-imposed exile, he had to be stunned by the silence. Though plenty of teams could use a keeper with his resume, Thomas was regarded as too much of a wild card after the way things ended with the Boston Bruins.

    And so while he waited for offers, teams signed goalies like Dan Ellis, Reto Berra and Richard Bachman instead.

    Read More…


  • Published On Sep 16, 2013
  • Colorado Avalanche beat the odds, win NHL Draft Lottery

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font
    seth-jones-post

    Drafting top-rated prospect and hometown product Seth Jones could provide the Avs with a huge lift. (Robert Beck/SI)

    By Allan Muir

    Sometimes things work out exactly the way they should.

    That’s probably not an opinion held right now by the Florida Panthers, who lost tonight’s NHL Draft Lottery to the Colorado Avalanche and now have to settle for the second pick despite posting a league-worst 15-27-6 mark.

    But come on, you have to like the thought of a kid who picked up the sport in Denver with the help of Joe Sakic ending up with the Avs, right?

    There’s no guarantee that Colorado takes top-rated prospect Seth Jones with that first overall pick. As Bob McKenzie said while listing the results of his own scouts’ poll, one of the 10 had Halifax winger Jonathan Drouin ranked first overall. For all we know, that team could be the Avs.

    But probably not.

    Read More…


  • Published On Apr 29, 2013
  • Campaigning begins for EA Sports’ NHL ’14 cover boy

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font
    claude-giroux

    Claude Giroux will be unable to defend his 2013 cover, as Wayne Simmonds and Jakub Voracek represent Philly. (Michael Perez/AP)

    By Allan Muir

    On some level, everyone recognizes that the cover athlete for a video game matters about as much as a vice-presidential running mate, right? A game, especially one in a long-running series like EA Sports’ NHL brand, sells itself on its own merits. They could probably slap a stick figure on the front and sell exactly as many copies as they would if it featured Sidney Crosby.

    But they can’t put Sid on the front every year — things would get a little confusing if they did — and the NHL and  NHLPA licenses demand that a current player wearing his team’s logo must be prominently featured. They’re fussy about that sort of thing.

    So credit the marketing whizzes at EA Sports for turning a meaningless decision into an annual event guaranteed to get hardcore hockey fans and hockey gamers all worked up ahead of the product’s September release.

    The online voting to find a successor to Claude Giroux as the cover athlete for EA’s NHL ’14 began Monday with 60 players, two from each team, vying for your love. From there, the field will be winnowed down to 30 team reps plus two wild cards based on most votes earned in a losing effort. That will create a 32-player bracket-style tournament from which a winner eventually will be crowned.

    Read More…


  • Published On Apr 22, 2013
  • Panthers broadcasters forget game, argue about Slurpees

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font

    By Allan Muir

    There’s no tougher challenge in broadcasting than holding an audience when the home team is getting blown out early. Especially when that viewership already amounts to the smallest of any team in the NHL.

    The Fox Sports Florida crew of Steve Goldstein and Bill Lindsay have handled their share of rough nights bringing Panthers hockey to the Sunshine State diehards. They’re consummate pros, but there’s also a hint of that college radio chaos that comes from knowing that you’re speaking mostly to friends and family. Combine that mentality with the right moment — as happened on Thursdayt night — and you get broadcasting gold.

    Read More…


  • Published On Apr 12, 2013
  • Ignoring Rick Nash head shot a black eye for the NHL

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font

    By Allan Muir

    It didn’t take long for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to schedule a come-to-Jesus meeting with Alex Edler after the Vancouver defender steamrolled Phoenix goalie Mike Smith on Thursday night. By early Friday morning, Edler knew he would have a chance to plead his case over the phone at 6 PM EDT.

    Edler’s defense, of course, will fail to dissuade Sheriff Shanny from planting him in the press box for a couple of games. Charging into goalies at full speed, even when they’re out of the crease, is still frowned upon by the DPS.

    Leaping up and slamming into an opponent’s head from behind though? That’s still a bit of a grey area. Or so it would seem, given the curious decision not to subject Rick Nash to a supplemental discipline hearing for his brain-dead assault on Florida’s Tomas Kopecky earlier in the evening.

    Read More…


  • Published On Mar 22, 2013
  • More bad news for Panthers: Trade bait Kris Versteeg out for season

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font

    By Allan Muir

    In theory, things could get worse for Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon. Jonathan Huberdeau could decide that the shootout’s not really his thing anymore. Alexei Kovalev could have signed a five-year deal. Those freaking quarter-sized mosquitoes could set up shop around the ticket windows at the BB&T Center.

    The way things are going for Tallon this season, it’s just a matter of time before the next little black cloud appears over the head of hockey’s answer to Bad Luck Schleprock.

    Tallon took another kick in the pants today when he learned that speedy forward Kris Versteeg would need season-ending knee surgery following an awkward collision with Tampa Bay defender Radko Gudas on March 12. Versteeg, who had just returned after missing 13 games with a chest injury, was expected to be shipped off at the trade deadline in exchange for some much-needed futures.

    Unlike unrestricted free agents Stephen Weiss and Jose Theodore, Versteeg is under contract for three more seasons, so he won’t walk for nothing this summer. But this was considered the window that would allow the Panthers to maximize the return on the veteran winger, and with Florida’s other key chips off the table, Versteeg was Tallon’s last chance to make a splash before the deadline.

    It’s another tough break for a team that’s had more than its share this season.


  • Published On Mar 14, 2013
  • Florida Panthers prospect Scott Timmins arrested for home break-in

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font
    Timmins

    Scott Timmins, here with the Panthers in 2011, was arrested after making himself at home…in a stranger’s house. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    The day could have gone a lot worse for Florida Panthers prospect Scott Timmins.

    Not that it went particularly well. Timmins, currently playing with the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL, was arrested Monday morning after allegedly breaking into a home and passing out drunk on a couch.

    The home’s owner, Benjamin Garza, confronted Timmins after police arrived and told him, “You’re lucky I wasn’t here because I would’ve put a bullet between your eyes and it would’ve been over for you.”

    Garza wasn’t home at the time, but his wife and three kids were. The unnamed woman awoke to find Timmins passed out in the living room. From the police report, it sounds like Timmins, who apparently went big at a local bar, mistook the residence for his own home. Probably not the sort of mistake you should be making in Texas.

    Neither the Panthers or Rampage have issued a comment on the incident.

    Timmins was a sixth-round pick of the Panthers in 2009. He won two Memorial Cups with the Windsor Spitfires in 2009 and 2010, and made his NHL debut on Feb. 1, 2011. He has appeared in 50 games for the Rampage this season, notching nine goals and seven assists.


  • Published On Mar 11, 2013
  • Panthers lose trade bait Stephen Weiss

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font
    Stephen Weiss is out for the season with a wrist injiury.

    Panthers center Stephen Weiss’s value has mostly been in his potential. (Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    Dale Tallon may find a way to reshape his team ahead of the NHL’s trade deadline. But if Florida’s GM is hoping to make a significant long-term upgrade, he’ll have to do it without his most marketable asset.

    The Panthers announced this morning that Stephen Weiss, the team’s No.1 center and one of the most highly coveted players thought to be on the market, is scheduled for wrist surgery and will be lost for the season.

    The news comes a day after the Panthers learned starting goalie Jose Theodore is likely out for the rest of the regular schedule. Like Weiss, Theodore is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and was expected to be shopped ahead of the deadline.

    Read More…


  • Published On Mar 05, 2013


  •