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Florida Panthers: Dale Tallon out as general manager after loss

The Florida Panthers are making a general manager change. According to multiple media reports, Dale Tallon is out as the team’s general manager.

Tallon joined the Florida Panthers on May 17, 2010, replacing Randy Sexton. Tallon was coming off a Stanley Cup ring with Chicago, and seemed pretty convincing during his introductory press conference

Despite the lack of sustainable success in recent years, he did have some successful years in Florida. In the 2011-12 season, the Panthers compiled a 38-26 record. Nevertheless, they were eliminated from the playoffs in the first round.

2016 was a another successful season for the organization. With the Panthers posting a 47-26-9 record in the 2015-16 season again, they could not get over the hump of the first round, as they were eliminated by the New York Islanders in six games.

With the Islanders defeating the Florida Panthers on Friday, they were eliminated from the best-of-five qualifying series. It was just another unfortunate notch in the belt of a Panthers organization used to early playoff exits.

Florida Panthers have talent to compete

Now, the Panthers are in search for another general manager. There is no doubt that they have young talent in Evgenii Dadonov and Jonathan Huberdeau. those two should carry the team for years to come and make the team competitive.

This season in particular was marred by several factors. Two of the most glaring ones were a lack of solid defensive play, and inconsistent play from goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. In a tough Atlantic Division, every game meant something this season. Too often, Florida found themselves on the precipice of big things, but not where they needed to be in order to compete.

It will be interesting to see who the Panthers tab as a replacement. They are in a unique position right now, and they should definitely take advantage of this window of opportunity.

CORONAVIRUS Sports Tracker: Frequent Updates

The widespread coronavirus outbreak has impacted professional and collegiate sports across the nation.

Most recent at the top….

Hey, finally some good news!

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THE MASTERS is now postponed. Could mark first time in history that the tournament is not played in April.


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THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP is now cancelled, along with every PGA event till the first week of April.

…..

Charles Barkley is among the latest to self-quarantine.

 

The Heat are working on something to help arena workers. More details to come.

 

Some NBA teams are doing the right thing.

 

Dwyane Wade doesn’t understand what the local school officials here are doing.

 

The XFL has caved. So much for the rebirth… for now.

 

It’s now infecting international soccer.

 

NBA will be suspended for 30 days.

Essentially that means the regular season is over.

 

Goodbye March Madness.

 

More details on the NBA coming soon.

 

Dan Gilbert is ahead of Micky Arison on something.

One league seems intent on outlasting all the others.

The entire ACC has postponed spring practice for all teams, which may also put the Hurricanes spring game in jeopardy.

 

Fans of the Marlins will have to wait a few extra weeks…

The American Airlines Arena has canceled all major events for the rest of March.

 

There will also be no NFL Spring meeting in Palm Beach for the time being.

 

 

The National Hockey League has suspended their season as well.

 

 

 

The Florida Atlantic University basketball season is over….

NFL now headed for a shutdown. Hard to see how free agency proceeds as scheduled…

So much for that InterMiami home debut.

Yes, it is already affecting prep for the NFL draft.

We are now waiting on the NHL.

A second NBA star has been diagnosed.

 

After it was learned Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus, the NBA has suspended the season indefinitely.

 

The NCAA had already announced that all men’s and women’s basketball tournaments would be held without fans.

 

Locally, besides the Miami Heat other sporting events are being cancelled or postponed including the upcoming Miami Open.

 

Florida Panthers: Defense will need to be on their toes against Toronto

The Florida Panthers have a tough contest ahead of them as the Toronto Maple Leafs are next up on the schedule Thursday. After losing to a Zamboni driver on Saturday, the Maple Leafs fared much better in their game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. Beating Tampa Bay 4-3, they had into Thursday’s action with a couple of hot goal scorers.

For starters, look no further than John Tavares. He had two goals on Tuesday, showing just how explosive he is and how consistent he has been over the past couple of years.  He has recorded five points in his last five games.

In the month of February, Mitch Marner has had a fantastic time finding the goal-scorers. He has recorded two goals and 10 assists so far in the month. He had an assist on Tuesday night against Tampa Bay. With the assist, he has now recorded three points in his last five games.

Although the Toronto Maple Leafs may struggle with consistency, they are still a team full of potent scorers. The real question is to whether they will show up each and every night.

Florida Panthers need to play strong defense to counter speed

Even with the inconsistencies, the Florida Panthers have to play better defense on Thursday. Defense has not been a strong suit for them this year. As result, Bobrovsky  he has struggled. He had a great game on Tuesday however, giving up one goal to the Arizona Coyotes in what was a 2-1 win. In 60 minutes of play, he made 37 saves. This was certainly an improvement from some of his past starts.

This Toronto team skates fast and shoots often. Borovsky is going to need to be on top his game, and I don’t trust the Florida defense to get back in time. This is a very balanced Toronto team who will need to capitalize on mistakes.

The Florida Panthers will need to be on their toes all game. This will be a crucial  game for the defense, and a win on Thursday could do wonders in boosting the conference. As long as Florida plays back and focuses  on staying in front of their man, they should be able to have a chance at success.

Florida Panthers: Team needs to test Darcy Kuemper early and often

As the Florida Panthers get set to take on the Arizona Coyotes  they have a golden chance to pick up a victory. Arizona will be sending out goalie Darcy Kuemper. If I’m Florida, I am licking my chops.

Kuemper has not played in a game in more than two months due to a lower-body injury. He was called up from AHL Tucson on Sunday. Prior to his injury, he was playing extremely well. He recorded a 15-8  mark and had a 2.17 goals-against average. He tallied a .929 save percentage in 25 starts.

This is a golden opportunity for Florida to make an impact and get the lead early. As good as Kuemper was prior to his injury, he hasn’t seen NHL action in a while. The Panthers need to make sure to get pucks on him early.

Florida is only seven points out of a playoff spot. Columbus currently holds the second wild-card spot with 76 points. Florida currently has 70 on the season. They come into Tuesday’s action having lost two games in a row. Arizona is sitting comfortably in the second wild-card spot, having beaten Tampa Bay 7-3 on Saturday.

Florida Panthers need to test Arizona Coyotes goalie

The Florida Panthers need to make sure they test Kuemper early. Creating traffic in front of the net will be key. Screens  will be crucial offensively.  Shielding his vision via screens and moving in front of the net will be paramount for Florida.

Driving towards the net instead of taking simple shots from the point should be a focus. That will put more pressure on Kuemper Injury or not, Kuemper has proven to be a solid goaltender. He is not going to be beaten  easily.

The offensive output for Florida is going to need to be strong. Here they have a golden opportunity to face a goalie who is trying to get his game going again. They need to be active and shoot frequently. Getting pucks towards the net and creating traffic should  lead to success.

The Florida Panthers need this win, and they have an opportunity to make it happen.

Florida Panthers: Defense struggles again in difficult loss

With the Florida Panthers and the Philadelphia Flyers meeting on Thursday,  the Panthers needed to put together a strong showing to remain in the playoff hunt. On home ice, they had a perfect opportunity to put themselves right in the playoff mix. Instead of winning, the Panthers were defeated 6-3.

This was a game the Florida Panthers completely squandered on home ice. As they took on the Philadelphia Flyers, they got into a hole and  could never dig themselves out. in what is becoming a common theme, the defense was flat. They played on their heels for a majority of the game, and that did not bode well for a win.

Florida Panthers fall behind early

It started with three straight goals in the first frame. They were never able to fully put together a comeback. Jonathan Huberdeau finally scored for the Florida Panthers 33 seconds into the third frame. However, by that time, the Florida Panthers already put themselves in a four-goal deficit. Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov scored their 20th and 17th goals on the season. However, the late comeback was still not enough.

Thursday night, defensive play was the Achilles’ heel again. It’s been a problem throughout most of the season. Once again, they left the goaltender hung out to dry. Thursday night, Sergei Bobrovsky  had another rough affair. After giving up three goals on nine shots, he was pulled at the end of the second frame.

Sam Montembeault struggled in relief. He gave up three goals on 19 shots in 40 minutes of ice time. No matter who the Florida Panthers put out there, the Flyers were able to find ways to score. Both goaltenders had a rough night, but it also spoke to the fact that the defense was not up to par. The goalies could only do so much, and they struggled containing Philadelphia’s offensive attack.

James van Riemsdyk had a huge game for Philadelphia. He scored a goal and two assists. Scoring the opening goal at 4:24 in the first frame, he set the tone early.

Now, the Florida Panthers take on the Oilers Saturday looking to take back some momentum. One thing is becoming apparent. Florida needs to quickly address the defensive woes as we get closer to the playoffs.

Florida Panthers: Sergei Bobrovsky has little room for error Thursday

It’s not too often that a goalie can be the focal point of the game, but such is life with Sergei Bobrovsky and the Florida Panthers. Bobrovsky has struggled over his past couple of outings, and the Philadelphia Flyers will be a tough test for him on Thursday night.

Bobrovsky has not won a game since February 3, losing three decisions in between. One of those was to the Flyers. In that contest, he gave up three goals on February 10 in what was a 4-1 loss for the Panthers. Ivan Provorov, James Van Riemsdyk, and Travis Sanheim each scored goals against Bobrovsky.

Bobrovsky in rut for Florida Panthers

Bobrovsky is in a bit of a rut right now. He has struggled for much of the 2020 calendar year, and he has a tough road from here on out. Some of it has to do with the defense of the Florida Panthers . However, a lot of it can be traced back to Bobrovsky’s play. He has not looked comfortable in net, and that is especially apparent during his three-game losing streak.

He is definitely going to be challenged Thursday. This is a Philadelphia Flyers team that is on a bit of a roll right now. They did lose to the Islanders by a 5-3 score on Monday. However, they have won two out of their last three games. This includes beating Washington 7-2 last Saturday.

The Eastern Conference is in the midst of a close playoff race. A win on Thursday for the Panthers could help them inch closer to the eighth spot in the conference.

Prior to Thursday’s game, Florida is in the 10th spot with 66 points. Toronto holds the eighth spot with 68 points.  Philadelphia is clinging to the seventh spot with 69 points. There is not much that separates these two teams from switching places.

Bobrovsky needs to have a solid game on Thursday. He needs to be alert and ready. Philadelphia has a balanced scoring attack. Bobrovsky found that out the hard way the last time these two met. If he can have a clean first period and withstand the initial rush from Philadelphia, he should be in much better shape than he has been the past three games. He needs to be on top of his game Thursday as each game becomes more important for the Florida Panthers.

Florida Panthers: Fourth line comes up huge in win

The Florida Panthers beat the New Jersey Devils by a 5-3 margin on Wednesday night. That was due largely to the play of the fourth line. They were flying all over the ice, and getting themselves involved in every play.

They had their hands all over this game. Mark Pysyk had a goal and two assists on the evening. Michael Matheson had a goal and two assist to his credit as well. Not to be forgotten, Noel Acciari  had a goal and an assist on the evening.  The Florida Panthers were able to get production from somewhere else besides the top line. This is certainly a positive development for a young organization that is looking to get a winning streak going come playoff time.

Fourth line crucial for Florida Panthers

It’s not that this Florida Panthers team does not have depth. They certainly do, proving it on Tuesday. However, having the fourth line excel on Wednesday night speaks to the depth of the team. Especially with the Florida Panthers struggling over the past couple of weeks, having this line come up as big as they did is certainly good for the team moving forward.

As the dog days of the season are approaching, not having to rely on the top line Wednesday night was  important. The fourth line produced some gritty shifts. It was exactly the type of performance that you would expect from that line. The scoring prowess on the part of that line was just a bonus. As a result, all three players have been named the three stars of the game.

It would be premature to call them the best fourth line of hockey . However, those individuals were able to help the Florida Panthers secure a victory over New Jersey. Even more impressively, it came without a ton of help from the top line. It will be interesting to see how this line plays throughout the remainder of the season. With division races heating up, all players need to be firing on all cylinders from here on out.

Mike Hoffman continues hot streak as Panthers roll over Leafs

 Mike Hoffman is proving to be a spark plug for the Florida Panthers.

The Florida Panthers beat the Toronto Maple Leafs by an 8-4 score on Sunday afternoon. Mike Hoffman was a big reason why. Hoffman has been on a tear the last couple of games, and Sunday was no different.

On his first goal of the day, it started off with Dominic Toninato creating a chance on the rush. Hoffman went stride-for-stride with Toninato and fired a wrist shot for the goal. Toninato did a nice job of finding Hoffman on the assist. Hoffman’s next goal came in the third period. Jonathan Huberdeau and Evgenii Dadonov came on the power play and he scored his second goal of the game.

This offensive explosion was nothing new for Hoffman. He has scored five goals in his past four games. He has also tallied six points in his past five games as well. Prior to Sunday’s contest, he scored a goal against Vancouver on January 9. Going back even further, he scored a goal against the Arizona Coyotes on January 7. This explosion of offense for Hoffman is certainly a welcome development for the Panthers.

Hoffman proving to be clutch for Florida Panthers

Saturday, he had an even plus-minus rating and only took three shots. He recorded 19 shifts and 14:10 of ice time. In addition, he spent 1:37 on the power play. He was all over the ice on Sunday.

He is certainly a positive veteran presence on a team that is relatively young.  Hoffman scored 70 points last season after being traded to Florida in June. He has 16 goals and 17 assists for 33 points this year.  He is showing exactly what he brings to the table.

Hoffman has been heating up at exactly the right time for the Panthers. He is being that sturdy veteran presence that the Panthers hoped he would be. It will be interesting to see how he performs over these next couple of weeks as the playoff race continues to heat up in the Eastern Conference.

 

Florida Panthers Poised for Second Half Run

The Florida Panthers are in a position for a strong second half of the NHL season.

As the calendar moves into the new year, the Panthers for once are not looking up from the bottom.

After a 4-1 loss at Columbus to open a four game trip, the Panthers bounced right back against Ottawa Thursday.

 

With a new system in place under Joel Quenneville, the Cats are playing exciting and fundamental hockey.

Florida has three shootout wins so far, tied for third most in the NHL.

The power play (23%) is once again a top-10 unit, while Florida is 5th in the NHL with 3.49 goals scored per game.

Those offensive numbers rank amongst the elite teams in the league, while the Panthers are finally getting some help on defense and in goal.

Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (14-11-4, 3.29GAA, .897SV%) has steadied after a rough start and has improved every month.

 

Bobrovsky’s save-percentage in December is .917, well better than his .897 for the entire season.

He has been especially effective at home with a 11-5-2 record, to go with a 2.95 GAA and .913 SV%.

Balancing the Scales

In recent seasons the Panthers have relied heavily on their offense, while being bludgeoned on the blue line and in net.

Jonathan Huberdeau is the superstar you didn’t even realize was right here all along.

 

Huby is fifth in the NHL with 37 assists through games played Jan. 1st, while his 53 points are eighth league wide.

The league is on notice as Huberdeau was finally selected to his first NHL All-Star game.

His partner in crime Sasha Barkov is once again having an All-Star caliber season after a slow start in terms of scoring.

Along with Evgenii Davodov and Mike Hoffman, the Panthers front lines are wrecking NHL goaltenders.

Florida has won six of eight entering Friday, and in five of those wins they have scored at least five goals.

The defense is a work in progress but Aaron Ekblad is having a career year on the blue line.

Ekblad already has 18 assists in 38 games, his career high was 27 in his rookie season. If he stays at his current pace he will certainly set a new career mark.

Quenneville a Stabilizing Presence

One encouraging trend for the Panthers is their ability to get out of extended losing streaks, while being able to stack short winning runs together.

The Panthers have only lost multiple games in a row on four occasions this year, while winning at least two consecutive games seven times.

Florida’s coaching staff led by Quenneville has given the team an identity and focus that was lacking in recent years.

It will be something to keep an eye on whether Coach Q can keep the team focused during an important stretch to close out January.

A coach that has won it all on multiple occasions is an important advantage for an unproven team, one that could help them get over the playoff hump.

Rest of January Sets Up Well

The Panthers have nine games remaining starting with Buffalo January 4th in the third game of this four game road trip.

Florida closes out the trek against Pittsburgh, both the Penguins and Sabres are right in the playoff race with the Panthers.

During the middle of the month the Panthers return to Sunrise for a four game home stand which will be a tough battle.

The Panthers will need to step up against high flying Western Conference opponents Arizona (50 points) and Vancouver (48 points).

Both sit near the top of the Pacific Division, Arizona is one of the top defensive teams (108 goals allowed, 5th) while Vancouver is eighth in the NHL with 136 goals scored.

After that to close out the home stand the lowly Los Angeles Kings (38 points) make their way East. The Kings are the fourth lowest scoring teams in the NHL at just 2.6 goals per game, a welcome respite for a Panthers defense allowing the fourth most goals per game (3.35).

To end the month the Cats embark on a six-game road trip which will run into February. Florida will kick off the trip against one of the worst teams in the NHL, the Detroit Red Wings.

Detroit has just 23 points this season and a league-worst -68 goal differential. The Cats close out January with winnable games at Minnesota and Chicago. Despite both teams being at least .500, they are also both allowing more goals than they score. Minnesota is -11 while Chicago is -16, both teams are also rank near the bottom of the league in goals allowed per game.

If the Panthers can improve their uneven play on home ice, particularly against the East, the rest of January sets up favorably.

Sergei Bobrovsky looking for fresh start against Senators

Sergei Bobrovsky needs to be better for the Florida Panthers.

The Florida Panthers will play their first game of the new year on Thursday night against Ottawa. Hopefully, it will be a bounce-back game for Florida goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. He had a rough return to Columbus on Tuesday night.

Bobrovsky gave up four goals on 28 shots in 58:15 of ice time. This marked the third game in a row that he has given up at least four goals. He gave up five to Montréal on December 29 and six the night before against Detroit. He has been struggling as of late. Thursday could be the perfect game for him to turn things around.

The last time he faced Ottawa was on December 16. He was superb in that game. Giving up one goal on 30 shots, he saw 68 minutes of ice time.  For the season, he is first in goals allowed with 96. Carey Price is second in that category with 95.

Sergei Bobrovsky struggling for Florida Panthers

There is no doubt he is struggling. His statistics reflect that. He allows 3.29 goals per game. That is second only to Jimmy Howard of the Detroit Red Wings.  His save percentage is not exactly terrible, but it’s not where it needs to be either. He carries an .897 save percentage into Thursday’s game. That ranks 10th-worst in the league.

There is no doubt he is struggling right now, and Thursday’s game against Ottawa could be the perfect bounce-back game. The Senators  are eighth-worst in the league at scoring. They have 111 goals on the season, tied with the New York Islanders. In addition, they have the worst power play conversion percentage in the league. They score a goal on 11.2% of their power plays.

Thursday could be the perfect bounce back game for Bobrovsky. The Florida Panthers definitely need him to play better. A win against Ottawa would be a nice place to start.