Sunday, October 10, 2010

#1: Panthers @ Oilers: 8PM ET

Tonight's lines per George Richards:

Booth - Weiss - Frolik
Stillman - Matthias - Dvorak
Higgins - Santorelli - Olesz
Hordichuk - Reasoner - Bernier

Garrison - Weaver
McCabe - Kulikov
Allen - Wideman


Scratches: McArdle, Reinprecht
Injuries: Bitz

Amerks Win Season Opener

The Amerks took on the Toronto Marlies on Saturday in Toronto to kick off the season and picked up a 4-2 win in goaltender Jacob Markström's North American regular season debut.

Markström, 20, faced 23 shots en route to his first AHL victory. Nathan Paetsch (now with Vancouver), Michael Nylander, Bill Thomas and Clay Wilson scored the four Amerks' goals but rookie defenseman Colby Robak notched a pair of assists - his first pro points - in the game.

Rochester is currently in the first intermission of their home opener against Hershey, although through one, the Bears have dominated play. The shots through one are 16-5. Through one, Markström has turned aside all 16 he's faced.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Peters Traded to Vancouver, Staying with Amerks

Not long after clearing waivers, the Panthers announced that they had traded fighter Andrew Peters to the Vancouver Canucks for former Panthers enforcer Darcy Hordichuk.

The trade helps Vancouver with cap space by freeing up $775k, but it also shaves off close to three-quarters of a million dollars in actual payroll as Hordichuk is on a one-way contract. Since he wasn't going to make the Canucks roster - and he already cleared waivers - the Canucks would still have been on the hook for his salary had he been assigned to Manitoba. Why is this relevant to the Panthers?

Andrew Peters is on a two-way contract and Vancouver really doesn't need him, just like they no longer need Hordichuk. So they're much happier losing the cap hit and saving the money. As there was no real AHL plan for Hordichuk, there was no real AHL plan for Peters with Vancouver and thus, it looks like the Canucks will simply send Andrew Peters back to Rochester. So while this trade is far from groundbreaking, the two teams have helped each other out a bit. Florida takes Hordichuk off the Canucks' hands and in return, Vancouver keeps Peters in Rochester - a nice move, as Peters' living in Western New York probably played a major role in his signing with the Panthers.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Gudbranson Back to Kingston

Photo by Noah Graham/NHLI via Getty Images
In a bit of a surprise turn of events, the Panthers and this summer's third overall pick, Erik Gudbranson, failed to reach an agreement before this evening's 5:00 PM deadline. As a result, Gudbranson will return to Kingston for another year in the OHL.

It looks like money was the hang-up, but in reality, few expect the Panthers to truly contend this season. Why waste the money on the extra bonuses, especially if you haven't much to go around? Florida saves a little here and when the season ends and contracts expire, they'll have more to work with in the next round of negotiations.

And depending on Erik's season, it could work out well for him in the long run.

There's also the realistic possibility that Gudbranson may have been returned to the OHL after a handful of games anyway so that his ELC could be preserved for next. No doubt that was an outcome the Cats considered, so while the return came sooner than they may have expected, the excess of defenders shows us that they were prepared for it.

Gudbranson's chances of being on Team Canada in the winter have just gone way up with this news, so the World Juniors will be an exciting time for Panthers fans.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Tampa Bay 2 | Florida 1 (OT)

Associated Press
SUNRISE, Florida (AP) - Mike Lundin scored 3:21 into overtime, leading the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Florida Panthers 2-1 on Friday night.

Simon Gagne also scored for the Lightning, who improved to 3-1-1 this preseason and 12-3-3 over the last three years.

Jason Garrison had goal for Florida, which dropped its second consecutive game after winning its first three.
Goalie Mike Smith made 29 saves in his first start of the preseason for Tampa Bay breaking his finger during practice Sept. 20.

Tomas Vokoun stopped 40 shots for Florida. He helped the Panthers kill off eight Tampa Bay power plays. Florida is now 32 for 32 in penalty killing this preseason.

The teams meet Saturday night in Tampa in the preseason finale for both.

Florida was playing its first preseason game at home. The Panthers were scheduled to play host to Carolina on Wednesday night, but the game was canceled because of tropical storm Nicole.

Lundin's winner came while the teams were playing 3 on 3 following unsportsmanlike conduct penalties to Tampa Bay's Mathieu Roy and Florida's Cory Stillman.

Gagne scored his third goal of the preseason at 8:24 of the second period off a 2-on-1 with Vincent Lecavalier. Vokoun stopped Gagne's redirect of Lecavalier's pass, but Gagne's backhanded off the rebound trickled over his shoulder.

Garrison tied at 14:35 of the third period when he put his own rebound past Smith.

Record Crowd for Panthers' Pre-Season Loss

According to Sunrise Sports & Entertainment, Friday night's 2-1 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning drew 11,688 fans to the BAC. To find the last time the Panthers had such a high pre-season turnout, you'd have to go back to the October 2, 2005 matchup, also against the Lightning, which drew 15,307.