Panthers coach Joel Quenneville focuses on the positives from opening-night loss to Lightning. (Craig Davis for Five Reasons Sports)

Joel Quenneville resigns as coach of Florida Panthers

Joel Quenneville has officially resigned as the head coach of the Florida Panthers, effective immediately.

The Panthers announced today that Quenneville resigned from his role with the club and an interim head coach announcement will be coming. 

This news comes just two days after the release of the Jenner & Block investigative report on the Chicago Blackhawks sexual assault investigation.

Quenneville was the head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010 when video coach Brad Aldrich allegedly assaulted a player, who has come forward as Kyle Beach.

Today Quenneville, alongside Panthers GM Bill Zito and President/CEO Matthew Caldwell met with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in New York to discuss Quenneville’s role in the sexual abuse cover-up scandal from the 2010 Blackhawks team

Here is a quote from Quenneville following his resignation:

There has not been an official announcement from the Panthers regarding the interim coach, however, reports say that Panthers assistant coach Andrew Brunette will take over as the interim coach. 

Brunette played over 1100 games in his NHL career and has served as an assistant coach for both the Panthers and Minnesota Wild.

The Panthers have had the fastest start in franchise history, at 7-0-0.


Florida acquires defenseman Brandon Montour from Buffalo

The Florida Panthers have acquired 26-year-old defenseman Brandon Montour from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for a third round pick. The trade was first reported by David Pagnotta. Kevin Weekes added on, saying the return was a third round pick. 


Montour has one year remaining on his $3.85 million contract, he will be a UFA this offseason.


The Brantford, Ont. native was selected 55th overall by the Anaheim Ducks in the 2014 NHL Draft. He was traded to Buffalo for a first-round pick and Brendan Guhle at the 2019 NHL trade deadline. 


This season in Buffalo, Montour had 14 points in 38 games and was a minus 13. The Sabres are currently sitting at the bottom of the NHL and rank near the bottom of the league in team defense.


Montour’s best season came in 2017-2018 when he put up 32 points in 80 games with the Ducks.


The NHL trade deadline is two days away on April 12.

Florida Panthers make deal, clear cap space

The Florida Panthers have acquired forward Lucas Wallmark and defenseman Lucas Carlsson from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for forwards Brett Connolly, Henrik Borgstrom, defenseman Riley Stillman and a seventh-round pick, as reported by TSN’s Pierre LeBrun.


Wallmark, 25, played in seven regular season games as well as two playoff games for the Cats last season after he was acquired from Carolina as part of the Vincent Trocheck trade. Wallmark appeared in 16 games for Chicago this season, he will be a Restricted Free Agent (RFA) after this year. His current cap hit is $950k.


Carlsson, 23, split time between Chicago and their AHL affiliate, Rockford. He will also be an RFA after this season. The Swedish defenseman’s current cap hit is $792,500. 


Connolly has been in and out of the Panthers’ lineup all season. He has bounced between the active roster and taxi squad. The trade clears his $3.5 million AAV contract which was set to run through the 2022-2023 season. The 28-year-old had 4 points in 21 games this season with the Panthers.


Stillman, 23, played in eight games this season and has only played in 43 total games in his NHL career. The Panthers drafted Stillman 114th overall in the 2016 draft.


Borgstrom, also 23, was Florida’s 2016 first-round pick. The Finnish prospect only appeared in 54 games with the Panthers since he was drafted. Borgstrom is currently playing for HIFK in Liiga, Finland’s pro league.


With this trade, Florida clears additional cap space for both this season and for the future. Aleksander Barkov’s contract expires after next season, Jonathan Huberdeau’s deal expires after the 2022-2023 season. Capfriendly has Florida’s deadline capspace north of $18 million after these moves. 


The NHL trade deadline is April 12.

Panthers win an afterthought after injury to Aaron Ekblad

The Florida Panthers completed the sweep on Dallas this weekend with a 4-1 win against the Stars on Sunday night. Unfortunately for the Cats, this win was an afterthought after their star defenseman Aaron Ekblad went down with an injury midway through the second period.


Ekblad took an awkward fall near the boards after a collision with a Stars player and had to be taken off the ice with a stretcher. 


The 25-year-old has been with the team since 2014 when he was selected first overall by the Panthers in the 2014 NHL draft. Ekblad was having a career year this season, currently he is tied for the league lead in goals by a defenseman with 11 and is ranked top 20 in points for his position.


As of now, we do not know how much time Ekblad will miss. Any amount of time without him is a big loss for the Panthers, he leads all skaters in total ice time, averaging 25:31 a game and is the team’s number one defenseman. 


On top of Ekblad’s injury, captain Aleksander Barkov has been out the last four games with a lower body injury and Patric Hornqvist has missed the last three games with an undisclosed injury.

Which team (Heat, Lightning, Rays) in Florida will win state’s next title?

It probably doesn’t need saying, but it’s been quite a seven months or so for sports teams in Florida. From September through March, we saw Florida teams in the Stanley Cup Finals, NBA Finals, World Series and the Super Bowl. If you count the MLS Is Back Tournament Final, which saw Orlando City SC lose out to Portland, that’s five major sports finals for Florida teams. Not bad. Not bad at all. 

But Florida sports fans already knew all of the above. The more pertinent question is what comes next? Can Florida teams capitalize on the best period of success since the Bucs, Marlins and Lightning won championships between 2002-2004? We just don’t know. But we are going to guess by power ranking every NBA, MLS, NHL and MLB teams by the probability of winning a championship in 2021, starting with the least likely. 

  1. Orlando Magic 

It’s a testament to Florida sports teams’ strength right now that the team at the bottom of these rankings isn’t awful. Orlando has been blighted by injuries this season, and that looks like it might cost the team a third consecutive tilt at the Playoffs. There have been positives, notably Nikola Vucevic emergence as a truly elite NBA player. 

  1. Miami Marlins

Clinching a first postseason berth since 2003 might have convinced Marlins fans that better days lay ahead, but the rebuilding might have to continue in 2021. A problem beyond the team’s own limitations is the strength of the NL East, with both the Mets and Braves tipped to have big seasons.  

  1. Inter Miami CF

Florida’s newest sports club is finding its feet in the MLS. The team has big ambitions, and the acquisition of Phil Neville as head coach looks to be a clever move. Gonzalo Higuain, too, could provide the X-factor and goals. But this is a long term project, and we would be shocked to see Inter Miami in the latter stages of the MLS Cup. 

  1. Miami Heat

It’s not impossible that Miami wins the NBA Championship this year. In fact, the basketball odds at MansionBet put the Heat at 28/1 – about ninth-favorite overall. So, you shouldn’t rule it out. But the team really needs to start winning consistently. We are approaching the half-way point of the season, and Miami sits outside the playoff spots. 

  1. Tampa Bay Rays

Sportsbooks and pundits are quite cool on the Rays’ chances this season. Both MLB and CBS have the Rays at 10th in their power rankings, behind the AL East’s Yankees and Blue Jays. It’s a tough call, but Kevin Cash and the Rays could make those journalists eat their words – again. 

  1. Florida Panthers

It might seem strange to rank the Panthers ahead of the Rays and Miami Heat, but NHL is a little less top-heavy than NBA and MLB, so we rate the Panthers’ chances just a little higher. A lot would have to go right, of course, but this is an organization on an upward trajectory. 

  1. Orlando City SC

You have to like Orlando City’s chances this season. Coach Oscar Pareja has made the team hard to beat, and the run to the final of the MLS Is Back Tournament will act as good experience for the players. Like Inter Miami, they have a potential superstar in Alexander Pato. You get the feeling the Brazilian will either shine or flop, with no in-between. If it’s the former, then Orlando could land the MLS Cup.

  1. Tampa Bay Lightning 

Tampa Bay tops the power rankings and bookmakers’ odds to retain the Stanley Cup in 2021. What more is there to say? The champions are the best team in NHL, and the most likely Floria team to bring home a championship in 2021. 


Panthers fall to Lightning in physical rematch

At the end of the first period, the Florida Panthers were probably at least satisfied with their performance. They were scoreless, but so were the reigning Stanley Cup champions, the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

At the end of the second, the Panthers were down 4-0 en route to a demoralizing 6-1 loss on Saturday night at the BB&T Center. 

The Lightning suffered an embarrassing 5-2 loss on Thursday night to the Panthers, their Central Division rivals. Apparently, they had had enough. Even without captain Steven Stamkos, Tampa was able to put together a litany of scoring chances in the second period that Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky was simply unable to stop. Conversely, the Cats couldn’t find a way to get past Andrei Vasilevskiy, who totaled 33 total saves for a .971 save percentage. 

The lone Panthers goal of the night came in the third period when Brett Connolly and Frank Vatrano teamed up to slide one past Andrei Vasilevskiy. But the celebration was short-lived. Less than a minute later Tampa’s Alexander Volkov scored the Lightning’s fifth of the night, effectively squashing any desperate hopes at an unlikely but not completely impossible comeback for Florida.

“We lost our composure when they got ahead,” head coach Joel Quenville said. “The game just got away from us.”

Both Radko Gudas and Patric Hornqvist made their own attempts to turn the tide by dropping gloves with Blake Coleman and Yanni Gourde respectively but all efforts fell short. MacKenzie Weegar also scuffled with Killorn late in the first and the two exchanged words even after moving to the box. 

The loss keeps the Panthers (8-2-2) at the second position in the Central Division behind the Lightning (10-2-1). They play the third game of the series in Tampa Bay on Monday.

Five Takeaways from Florida Panthers’ win over Blue Jackets

The Florida Panthers came out on top of a wild comeback thriller against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night. This was Florida’s first game in a week after their two game series against Carolina was postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the Hurricanes organization. Florida looked like the stronger team tonight but it wasn’t the prettiest of wins. Here are the takeaways from the game.


#1: Sergei Bobrovsky’s play put the Panthers in a hole early on.


After a subpar 2019-2020 campaign with the Panthers, the $70 million goalie looks like he hasn’t changed. In the opening minutes of the game, Bobrovsky gave up two weak goals on Columbus’ first two shots. After the Panthers clawed back to make it a 2-2 game, Bobrovsky let in a short handed goal on another saveable puck. The two-time Vezina winner couldn’t seem to find his groove in regulation despite his team keeping Columbus to just 17 shots through three periods. Bob stood his ground in the overtime and shootout, but he didn’t help his team at all by giving up those early goals. If his performance continues to hinder the team like this, promoting Chris Dreidger to the starter shouldn’t be out of the question.


#2: The penalty kill was spectacular, going 6/6.


It’s never a good sight when your team takes six penalties in a game. Luckily for Florida, their 12 penalty minutes didn’t lead to a goal against. The penalty kill (pk) unit was able to not only kill off all the penalties, but also generate a few short handed chances the other way. Each time Florida killed a penalty, it completely took the momentum away from Columbus. One of the six penalty kills came during the overtime when Frank Vatrano took a tripping penalty. The team had to kill a 4-on-3 to stay alive in the game. Last season the Panthers penalty kill ranked twentieth in the NHL with a 78.49 penalty killing percentage. An improved pk unit will be extremely valuable down the stretch in this condensed season. 


#3: New Panthers shine once again.


Florida’s team looks completely different this season. The offseason acquisitions of Carter Verhaeghe, Patric Hornqvist, Alexander Wennberg and Anthony Duclair paid dividends tonight against Columbus. The four first-year Panthers combined for six points, while Hornqvist got the game-tying goal with two seconds left in regulation and the shootout winner. Florida moved to 3-0-0 for the first time in franchise history.


#4: The first line controlled the game from the jump.


Aleksander Barkov is known around the league as one of the best two-way centres in the game. Heading into this season, head coach Joel Quenneville decided to split up Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau to provide more balance across the top 6. As they did against Chicago, the line of Barkov, Verhaeghe and Duclair controlled the game. Columbus couldn’t find a way to stop the constant pressure from this unit. Between Verhaeghe winning loose puck battles, Duclair walking past defenders and Barkov ripping pucks towards goal, this line was nothing short of dominant. The three of them combined for two goals and five points on the night. 


#5: Aleksander Barkov was more aggressive.


Throughout his career, Barkov has never been a selfish player, sometimes he was too unselfish for his own benefit. In the past Barkov often looked to dish the puck to his teammates rather than taking the shot himself. It looked like Barkov flipped a switch tonight, he came into the game with a shooter’s mentality. The captain led the game with eight shots on goal and found the back of the net once on a beautiful shot from the slot. An aggressive Barkov will keep goalies guessing and it will ultimately help evolve his game more as a two-way playmaking centre.  

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!

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


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.