RSS Feed (xml)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Quick Thoughts II

- The Tampa Bay Lightning bought out former Panther Vaclav Prospal. Anyone else think he is a pretty good alternative if the Cats cannot land Tanguay?

- Rumor has it that the sale of the Florida Panthers, Sunrise Sports and Entertainment, and the BankAtlantic Center is a done deal and is to be discussed by the NHL board of governors today. If this is true then take care Cohen, don't let the door hit you on the way out.

- If the sale is indeed finalized there may be a chance that Randy Sexton will not get the job as General Manager. Rumor is that Neil Smith would be the top candidate to run the Cats front office.

- The new group that has put in a bid for the Phoenix Coyotes are in discussions with the NHL about letting the team play five games in Canada. If I were a fan of the Coyotes I would not be for that at all. If they play in Canada and attendance is double of what it is in Phoenix, then the Coyotes are as good as done in the desert if the ownership ends up deciding to move.

- Brett Favre has decided to stay retired. It took him long enough to finally make the right decision. Of course this should have been his answer before signing with the Jets last year. Wait...oops, that is not hockey news!

- The Red Wings signed Andy Delmore yesterday. It's good to know the Wings are adding to their young core....

Just wanted to add a note before wrapping up. Starting tomorrow I will begin a new feature on SSH titled "Where Are They Now? Former Cats". Basically the description is all in the title. Once a week I will do my best to track down a former Panther and see what they are up to now and let all of you faithful readers in on it.

That should about do it for right now. Please E-mail any comments or questions to

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Interview With VanMurph

To celebrate Sunshine State Hockey reaching ten followers (now eleven) I decided to do something special for my readers. I got in touch with my good friend Murphy, also known as VanMurph around Panthers hockey, and asked if he would be willing to do an interview to help celebrate reaching ten followers. Murph was happy to participate, and today I am happy to bring you the results of our interview. Every time SSH reaches +10 more followers (10, 20, 30, etc.) I will do my best to grab an interview or bring you something special involving someone (or something) involved in the Panthers organization. So if you want to see more features like this, go out and get your friends to follow Sunshine State Hockey.

Ok enough promoting the site, lets get down to business.

Sunshine State Hockey: "In your line of work I am sure you get to fly all over the world. Which destination is your favorite to fly to?"

VanMurph: "I enjoy flying to many places, but my very favorite is Vancouver, British Columbia. It’s such a beautiful city. I have many fond memories from Vancouver (and some not-so fond ones, like the Panthers 5-3 loss there last December)."

You know, there are some things that just stick in your mind… Once back in the very early 1990’s I was in Vancouver in the middle of August, and it was really hot that day. A bunch of us from the crew were walking around downtown and decided to stop for something to drink. We walked into a pub and had a seat. The pub was dark and quite well air-conditioned. I decided to have myself a big ole’ glass of Labatt’s Blue
(It was the first time I’d ever decided to have a Canadian beer). When the server put that frosted mug of Canada’s best in front of me, I felt like an honorary Canuck! It was the single-best glass of beer I’ve ever had in my life…"

VanMurph Dropping The Puck.

SSH: "Do you follow any other sports as much as you do hockey?"

VM: "The simple answer is: Not even close. I grew up playing baseball, and I went to college on a baseball scholarship. I was a dyed-in-the-wool Atlanta Braves fan from the time I was old enough to talk. I’ve been told that my first word after “Mama” was “Braves”. But since I moved to South Florida from Chicago in 1999, I’ve tried to become a Marlins fan. Not being one to jump on a bandwagon, it’s been kind of tough to make the transition. Over time though, I’ve begun to loyally follow the Marlins. I think the biggest reason I have an affinity for them is because even in their own city, they’re underdogs. They can be in first place and riding high, but the only time they have good crowds is when they’re playing teams from the northeast (and all of the transplants head out to the ballpark to watch “their” team play against the Marlins).

I’m also a pretty big fan of the NFL, and I grew up an Atlanta Falcons fan. But much the same as with the Braves, not being able to attend their games as often as I did when I was a kid, I’ve grown apart from them. In Chicago I became an avid Bears fan, but again, my heart was in Atlanta. However, when I moved to Broward County, Dave Wannstedt was coaching the Dolphins, and since they were in the AFC, I adopted them as my “second” team behind Atlanta. Now, though, I follow the Dolphins exclusively.

But as passionate as I’ve ever been about baseball or football, they absolutely pale in comparison to the enthusiasm and fanaticism I have for hockey, and for the Panthers in particular. This is the greatest sport on the planet! When I try to give an explanation to the question of why I love it so much, I always come up short of an adequate explanation. It’s like trying to describe a sunset to someone who’s never seen one. The words just don’t do it justice; you just have to witness it for yourself."

SSH: Let's say Vanessa (VanMurph's wife) changed her favorite team from the Panthers to a rival team, what would you do?

VM: "Well, let me tell you, this is about as hypothetical a question as I’ve ever attempted to answer, because Vanessa is a HUGE fan of the Panthers! She enjoys hockey nights almost as much as I do. But let’s say she decided to follow another team… I think we’d have fun with it. We’d probably be like a couple who had attended rival universities before we met. There would be some good-natured ribbing, and some wacky bets taking place when our teams played each other. I’d be pulling for the Panthers extra-hard, because if they lost to Vanessa’s favorite team, I would probably end up being forced to do the yard work in a tutu or a Halloween costume…"

VanMurph with wife Vanessa.

SSH: "Have you been impressed with the off-season moves that the Panthers have made so far?"

VM: "Well, I don’t know if “impressed” is exactly the right word I’d use at the moment. I’ll tell you this. So far I haven’t really been disappointed. I sincerely hope there’s more to come, but up to now, I think Randy Sexton has done an admirable job in the role of interim General Manager. He was able to get “something” for Bouwmeester when it appeared that we would be getting absolutely nothing in return for him. Getting Leopold under contract wasn’t exactly a slam-dunk, but Sexton was able to do it (I think Keith Ballard gets the first assist on that one though). Sexton also went into the draft and took the best player available in the first round, then he proceeded to pick nothing but forwards in the remaining rounds (something which this organization desperately needs).

We’ve also been able to get David Booth and Radek Dvorak under contract. Booth’s signing in particular was exactly what the doctor ordered for this franchise.

On the downside, we’ve yet to secure a scoring forward (although there’s still plenty of time for that), and we allowed a couple of key pieces of last year’s team (and big-time fan favorites) to leave the organization (Anderson and Skrastins). Over all though, considering all the variables, I’d give the off-season moves SO FAR somewhere between a C+ to a B-."

SSH: "For those of us that know you, we know you have a rather large jersey collection; of those jerseys, which is your favorite, and why?"

VM: "My very favorite jersey is probably the new-style Panthers home jersey. I think it’s subconsciously my favorite because that’s the one I see my favorite team playing in the most. My second favorite is probably the gold Panthers jersey by Starter. I love that one because a group of my close friends (Carl, Jerry, and Vinny) all decided to get them and have them personalized in the same custom-made color scheme I used on mine. It’s also the jersey that Mad Cow wears in the arena. I was really touched when the Panthers’ Game-Presentation folks decided to use that jersey in homage to the founding members of the Cowbell Club.

I started collecting jerseys from around the NHL for one reason, and one reason only: When I visit another arena, and the Panthers are NOT playing there that night, I wanted to be able to show respect to the home team’s fans by wearing that team’s jersey. A pet peeve of mine is seeing people in the arena wearing the jersey of a team that isn’t playing that night. I started collecting jerseys, and now I have at least one from every team in the NHL (yes… even the Habs), and several from minor league teams around the country. My favorite non-Panthers NHL jersey is my old-school black and green Phoenix Coyotes jersey. And last but not least, my favorite minor league jersey is from the Amarillo Gorillas. My Mom and Dad actually bought it for me when they went to their very first professional hockey game last season. They wanted to see what I was so excited about, so they bought tickets and went to a game. They sent me the jersey as a thank-you for introducing them to hockey!"

SSH: "What do you have to say to all the negative fans out there who are turning their backs on the Panthers this off-season? (From what I read there seems to be quite a few)."

VM: "Actually, I understand the negativity. It’s annoying, and it’s really, REALLY getting old, but I do understand why people are disappointed. They’re passionate fans of this team, and they’ve not had anything to be proud of since Bill Clinton was in the Oval Office. Wanting to win is just human nature, so a decade of not winning has begun to take its toll on the fan base.

I just can’t live like that though. I cannot imagine not trying to find a positive in all of this. When I was a little kid, I was out with my dad at the baseball field. I remember stepping in a pile of poo and just stopping and standing there looking down at my misfortune… My dad trotted by and didn’t miss a beat; he just said, “Well, at least you were wearing shoes”. That’s the way I’ve always tried to look at things. There are plenty of positive things about the Panthers out there, and at the top of that list is Coach Peter DeBoer. I sincerely believe that he ll get the most out of this team. Just look at last year’s Western Canada trip; we went into Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, and Carolina and played those teams very well on the road with a lineup of AHL guys.

I really think this season has the potential to be great. Despite all the negativity to the contrary, I think guys like Frolik, Horton (save it, I’ve heard it all before), Weiss, Booth, Campbell, Dvorak, Ballard, McCabe, Allen, and others will have good seasons, and we’ll be just fine.

I guess if there’s just one thing I’d say to all of the negative folks, it’s just wait and see. Let’s give the guys another chance to prove themselves before we throw this season under the bus."

SSH: "Out of the current players on the roster, whom do you see as the face of this franchise currently, why?"

VM: "Without question: David Booth. He’s the epitome of what this team is about. The guy works harder than anyone else on the ice. He’s the first one out there, and the last one back in the dressing room. He’s committed to the Panthers, and now that he’s under contract for at least the next 6 seasons, the Panthers are committed to him. He’s a good-lookin’ kid too, so that doesn’t hurt.

I also think Keith Ballard (another guy under contract for 6 seasons) would be an excellent candidate to be a face of the franchise. =2 0He’s a young guy, a hard worker, and a play maker. If you made a highlight reel of his terrific plays from last season, you’d need at least 20 minutes to watch it. Put Ballard AND Booth in an advertising campaign and you’d have a real crowd pleaser."

SSH: "In your travels you have gone to a lot of arenas. Besides the BankAtlantic Center, which is your favorite and why?"

VM: "Before last season I would’ve said the Bell Center in Montreal. I love their passion and knowledge of the game. But after the way their fans behaved during the playoffs (booing the American National Anthem), I lost a lot of respect for them.

Vancouver is a great place to watch a hockey game. Actually, all of the Canadian cities are. But in Vancouver, I actually got goose bumps watching the crowd react to the game. When Craig Anderson let in a couple of soft goals, it was amazing to watch 20,000 people start chanting in unison, “ANNNNN-DERRRRR-SONNNNN, ANNNNN-DERRRRR-SONNNNN.” I felt horrible for Craig, but at the same time, I couldn’t believe how awesome the crowd participation was up there!

There are also a ton of great places to watch hockey games in the US. Some of my favorites are: Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Raleigh, and Chicago."

VanMurph cheering on the Cats.

SSH: "Everyone knows Tanguay is at the top of every Panthers fan’s list. What do you think he could bring to the team that has fans so interested in him?"

VM: "Honestly, I think the reason everyone jumped on the Tanguay thing is simply because it was put out in the media that we were pursuing him. Had it not been for that rumor, I don’t think we’d be seeing all of this fervor. It was funny to watch it happen. Tanguay wasn’t even on the radar of most Panthers fans on one day, and the next day I heard people threatening not to renew their tickets if we didn’t sign him. I don’t think Tanguay is the savior of this organization, and quite frankly, I don’t know if he’s worth the 5 million dollars per season he’s reportedly trying to get. Only time will tell. I definitely think he’s a dynamic player who, if healthy, has the potential to be a high-octane addition to any team. For proof of that, you need look no further than last season to see what he’s capable of. His 41 points in 50 games in ’08-’09 shows why there is a bidding war for his services.

Although I’m not willing to overpay him, I would happily welcome Tanguay with open arms to the Panthers. But if he doesn’t choose to accept the offer the Panthers are reported to have on the table, I’ll just dismiss that option and start looking forward to who else is available, either in free agency or the via a trade, to help make our team better."

SSH: "This question is similar to question 3. What do you say to people who dislike the cowbell?"

VM: "Well, I know there are people on both sides of the issue, and I’ve sort of become the lightning rod for all of the complaints. I feel their pain, and I understand their issue with the cowbells. In general, they can be annoying when not used with a bit of consideration for the people seated around you. For instance, I’ve seen people who’ll sit and clang away even when there’s nothing happening on the ice that would warrant the ringing of the bell. That can really get under people’s skin, and can wreak havoc on your neighbor’s ability to enjoy the game. I tend to look at ringing my cowbell as another means to make noise when I’m already on my feet cheering. In other words, if it’s not a time that I’d normally be clapping, it’s not a time to ring the cowbell.

I first brought the cowbell into the BankAtlantic Center because I was hoarse and simply couldn’t cheer any louder. I wanted to be able to show audible support for my team, even though my vocal cords had failed me. Never in a hundred years would I have envisioned that simple gesture catching on so quickly and with such a vengeance. It still makes me feel proud when I walk through the concourse and hear the clinking of cowbells as people pass by. I’m delighted to have been a part of something that allows the team I love to hear their fans’ support.

In all honesty, for every complaint I’ve heard about the cowbells, I’ve seen dozens of people in the arena with a bell around their neck. You can’t please everybody, and hopefully the people who don’t like the ringing of the cowbells will find a happy medium, because unfortunately for them, I don’t think the cowbells are going away in the near future."

SSH: "If there is one thing you could change about the Panthers, what would it be, and why?"

VM: "If I could wave a magic wand and make changes, I’d make us perennial contenders for the Stanley Cup. But from a practical standpoint, if given an opportunity to realistically change one thing about the Panthers, I would immediately re-hire Denis Potvin, and I would increase his visibility within the organization.

I don’t know any of the private details of his firing earlier in the year. I only know the reasons that were given publicly, and in my opinion, those reasons didn’t warrant the release of a man who’s been here since day one, and who is one of the few hockey legends ever to have been associated with the Panthers. Denis Potvin offered an air credibility to the organization, and his termination is something I would immediately reverse."

SSH: "If there is one thing you could change about the NHL, (rule, penalty, etc.), what would it be and why?"

VM: "As much as I love the excitement of the shootout, I’d do away with it. Instead of having a skills competition to decide an NHL game after a five-minute 4-on-4 period, I’d go to 3-on-3 five-minute periods until somebody put the puck in the net. I think it’d be an awfully exciting way to have a game decided. Throw in a penalty or two, and the place would really be rockin’! Can you imagine a 3-on-1 in the 4th overtime period? If we were on offense, it’d be really exhilarating! If we were on defense, imagine the hero status that would be bestowed upon Ballard and T-Vo if they held the line and fought off a 3-on-1 for two minutes…"

SSH: "Last question, favorite Ice Dancer?"

VM: "Well, this is a tough one… Since I’m friends with many of the Ice Dancers, I don’t want to have any of them thinking I don’t love them equally… So, I’ll just say that there is a 20-way tie for my favorite!"

SSH: "Thank you Murphy for taking the time to do this interview. If any of my readers would like to read more from VanMurph all you have to do is go over to the Florida Panthers official website and check out his blog, VanMurph's View."

There you have it folks. I hope everyone enjoyed the interview and I hope this gives incentive for people to spread the word about Sunshine State Hockey. The more followers the better product I can bring to you all.

I would just like to thank Murphy one last time for doing the interview. He took time out of his busy week while working his butt off at the flight academy in Texas to answer the questions. That shows you the dedication of a true hockey fan.

As always please feel free to E-mail any comments or questions to

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Great Cause

Over at the NHL Arena, the forum I post on often, two Columbus Blue Jackets fans are aiming high for a great cause. From October 2nd to October 5th they will be riding in the "Tour de Pink" to raise money and awareness for the Young Survival Coalition. Now you may think, well that is great, but what's the big deal about riding a bike? Well these two tough gals are going to be starting their ride in Hershey, PA, and ending it in New York City. That is a lot of bike riding in just three days, 440 miles to be exact.

Here is a little bit of background information from the Young Survival Coalition's website:


YSC Mission Statement

"Young Survival Coalition (YSC) is the premier international organization dedicated to the critical issues unique to young women and breast cancer. YSC works with survivors, caregivers and the medical, research, advocacy and legislative communities to increase the quality and quantity of life for women diagnosed with breast cancer ages 40 and under."


You can check out the YSC site here.

Like I said, this is for a great cause. These two ladies are giving it all for a charity they care deeply about. If any of my readers would like to help them out by making a donation so they can reach their goal of $5,000 just go here and follow the instructions.

To participate in the "Tour de Pink" the girls must reach the $5,000 minimum. So if you can please help them out with any amount you can donate.

If you would like to follow their training for the event, all you have to do is go over to the NHL Arena (linked under my friends), register, and go to the Arena BBQ thread and you will see the post.

I really hope the girls reach their mark and get a chance to participate.

If you have any comments or questions please E-mail me at

Friday, July 17, 2009

Third Jerseys

Well today is kind of a slow news day around Pantherland. For that matter today is a slow news day around the NHL. Cats fans are obviously waiting for the big news on Tanguay...if it's true. If it does have any truth to it I have a feeling we wont know until Monday.

Anyway I wanted to let today's post cover a lighter topic, the third jersey. Last year a number of teams introduced third jerseys to their fans. Some being very creative, others not so much. I mean who puts a team nickname on a jersey? This year some more teams will produce third jerseys, and the Florida Panthers are among them. I think every Panthers fan in the known world knows that our third jersey will be red, which I am ok with. But why not change it up a bit for fun? How about a black jersey with a new logo? Or keep the red and try out a new logo? I think it would be a fun way to usher in a new era of Panthers hockey.

One of my favorite sites on the web for jersey info is icethetics. The guy knows his hockey jerseys and usually makes a daily post about them, even if there is not much to say. A while back a fan of the site submitted a concept logo and concept third jersey that I liked a lot.

As you can see above he uses a completely new logo and a new shade of red, blue, and gold on the jersey. He did an amazing job with this and I would love to see these on the boys. The shoulder logo is another Panther head, which that could be switched up to something else. But overall this is a strong design.

Now if the Panthers stick to the norm, which I am pretty sure they will, I wouldn't mind seeing that new logo on the website used on a jersey. I can't find an image of the logo, but it is the one of the Cat jumping of "Florida Panthers".

I guess only time will tell what kind of third jersey we get. Let us all hope that it's not "Cats" across the chest. Because, as I said before, who uses their nickname on a jersey?

Usually this is the part I say please leave of a comment, but I can't do that. is having problems with the comment function, so any questions or comments need to be directed to my E-mail at

Thursday, July 16, 2009

RUMOR: Tanguay To Florida A Done Deal?

So there are reports, or as I like to call them, rumors, floating around cyberspace that the Panthers have signed Alex Tanguay. Randy Sexton, the Panthers interim GM has said no, there is no done deal.

Eklund is the one who first broke this, so take it for what you will. I generally take anything Eklund says as seriously as I take anything a lying crack addict says.

Once more news comes in I will post it.

The Five

Yesterday the National Hockey League released the schedule for the 2009-2010 season. The schedule is heavily affected by the 2010 Winter Olympics, causing all thirty teams to play a lot of back to back games. The Panthers will be playing seventeen back to back games, nine of them being a home and home series.

From a marketing standpoint the Cats got some pretty interesting days this season. The Panthers have a three game home stand in November (23rd-27th) in which they will play three teams that have opposing fans vacationing in our state around that time (Penguins, Rangers, and Leafs). The Panthers also have another big three game home stand for the opposing fans to pack our house in late December (Bruins, Canadians, Penguins). One might say that is really convenient...well guess again. Mr.Yormark sat down with the league to build the schedule that way. As a Business major I can understand his reasoning behind the schedule, and that reason is money. As a Panthers fan though, I get very frustrated when I find out that one of the guys running my favorite team is working the schedule to fit fans from the opposing team. At any rate, at least the Arena will gain some solid revenue from those two home stands. Us fans will just have to put up with the drunk, rude, fans of those teams.

There is one very easy way to combat the out of towners. All one has to do is simply pick up a phone, or go to the box office, and buy some tickets to those games. More Cats fans mean less out of town fans.

Anyway I am getting side tracked. Lets take a look at the top five home games for Panthers fans to attend. I will not include opening night or last game of the season because those two are obvious. Also these are in no special order.

1. Montreal vs Florida, December 31st, 5:00 PM.

This is a game Panthers fans should be excited for. The reason is not who we are playing, but rather the coach of who we are playing. Jacques Martin will make his first appearance back at the BankAtlantic Center since jumping ship and leaving Randy Sexton with a bit of a mess. This is a game Cats fans will want to be there for, because I am sure there will be a lot of good chants to join in on throughout the game.

2. Calgary vs Florida, February 5th, 7:30 PM.

Talk about a big game for Panthers fans. If the Flames roster stays the same this will be the first game back in town for both Olli Jokinen and Jay Bouwmeester. I think Jay deserves a round of boo's, but lets all give Olli a nice ovation.

3. Vancouver vs Florida, February 11th, 7:30 PM.

If this game is anything close to Luongo's first return back to South Florida then we are in for another classic. I still think that game was the best I have ever seen at the BAC. The shootout win and the emotion by Vokoun at the end was amazing.

4. Pittsburgh vs Florida, November 23rd, 7:30

The first trip down here for the current Stanley Cup champs. Should be a good game as always, especially if Ballard lands another hit on Malkin like he did in 08-09. Actually, he should switch it up and lay out Crosby.

5. Colorado vs Florida, December 2nd, 7:30.

This will be a bit of a sad game for yours truly. Anderson will always be one of my favorite Panthers and seeing him in the jersey that beat the Cats in 96 might make me a little nauseous. I will be giving him a standing O though. All Andy wanted was to be a starter and he got what he wanted, and I hope he goes far.

Well there you have it folks. This season is shaping up to be a good one, even if it is compressed. I hope to see a lot of Panthers fans out at the BAC this year, especially around December. Remember, this is our house.

Please leave your comments and questions below or E-mail me at

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Quick Thoughts

Just wanted to post a couple of thoughts on some hockey topics that have been floating around in my head today while we all wait for the NHL to release the 09-10 schedule.

- The line at arbitration court seems short this year, really short. Usually you see about two to three guys per team waiting to go to arbitration. This year? twenty total players from all thirty teams. Maybe it's the economy.

- The next Winter Classic has been announced, and it will take place at Fenway Park as the home town Boston Bruins play host to the Philadelphia Flyers. This isn't a bad match up, but if the NHL wanted a real game they would have made it Bruins vs Rangers.

- Anyone else get the feeling that this is the year the mighty Red Wings may not be as god like as they are every season? There are a lot of key pieces falling from the Detroit puzzle and Ken Holland does not seem to be doing anything about it. Maybe he thinks some more 8th and 9th rounders can step up and be the next Datsyuk and Zetterberg.

- Rumor has it that the Panthers will be among a handful of teams to debut a third jersey in the 09-10 season. I like the idea to be honest, even if it is just to make more money. I love the red, but I would like to see some creativity and a whole new design. Black anyone?

- George Richards over at the Miami Herald crunched some numbers on the Panthers pre-season schedule yesterday. The total mileage before going to Finland? 7,000. At least the boys will have another excuse for a slow October.

I think that will do it for now. Once the schedule is out check back here for my take on it, including a top five must see Panthers games.

Please post your comments and questions below or E-mail me at

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Blackhawks Demote Tallon

A very interesting piece of news is making it's way around all major sports networks. That news is that Dale Tallon is now the former general manager of the Chicago Blackhawks. This move comes just a week after management had to deal with the embarrassing mix up with the clubs restricted free agents.

Chicago ownership is claiming the RFA situation had nothing to do with their decision to let Tallon go. If that is the case, why let him go at all? Why let a guy go who drafted two young superstars that have caused a rebirth in Chicago? Why let a guy go who has done nothing but stock pile this team with young talent to keep them winners for years to come? Let us also not forget that this is the same Dale Tallon that just signed Marian Hossa to a staggering twelve year deal but kept the cap hit pretty decent.

I have a feeling there are stronger forces at work here, well let's say a strong force. Taking over the GM role for the Hawks is none other then Stan Bowman, the sun of Scotty Bowman...who also works for the Blackhawks. See where I'm going with this?

The reason I bring this topic up on Sunshine State Hockey should be pretty obvious. That reason is the Florida Panthers are still in the hunt for a general manager, and one has to believe Bill Torrey is going to place a call right away to the Tallon camp. I know a lot of Panthers fans, including myself, feel that Randy Sexton should get the job after the good work he has put in as interim GM. But let's face it, a general manager like Dale Tallon does not come along very often. It's obvious he knows how to put together a winning team, But to be able to do so with a young roster is very impressive.

I am sure a lot of Panthers fans will not lose any sleep if we do not sign Tallon, but this gives us all something to think about.

That will do it for now, as always please leave your comments and questions below or E-mail me at

*** So it seems the Blackhawks did not fire Tallon, but rather demoted him. There was some confusion, so as of right now remove him from the Panthers plans***

Monday, July 13, 2009

Stewart Goes To ATL

TSN reported that Anthony Stewart has signed a deal with the Atlanta Thrashers. Stewart has spent all of his four season career with the Panthers prior to this signing. I wish him a lot of luck. It is too bad that his career did not go like it was suppose to. But, that happens to some players, it's all about the luck of the draft. Stewy did try to give it his all this last season, but I think he finally realized that he was not getting any better then a 3rd/4th line scrapper.

Another interesting note in that article is that another ex-Panther, Noah Welch, has also signed with Atlanta. Noah was traded by the Cats at the deadline for Steve Eminger.

Signing Stewart and Welch is a pretty good depth move by the Thrashers. Stewart will find himself on the 4th line and Welch will see ice time on the third line. It's just nice to see the two of them getting another chance to play.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

So Long, Farewell.

I am sure many Panthers fans have noticed by now that our team is going to look different next year. A decent chunk of our roster made their way to new homes either in the NHL or in Europe. Some we knew were going, while others came as a bit of a surprise.

The list of players gone from the 2008-2009 season include Richard Zednik, Jay Bouwmeester, Karlis Skrastins, Ville Peltonen (rumored to be heading to the Swiss A league), Nick Boynton, and Craig Anderson. These are all guys who had a pretty big impact on the roster last year, and some of them will be missed more then others by knowledgeable Panthers fans.

Before I go on about the players who left that matter, I want to stop and talk about Bouwmeester for a minute. Before everyone boos Jay in his first game down here in a Flames jersey I want to point a few things out that may change your mind. Bo and his agent approached our amazing former GM, Jacques Martin about not re-signing eighteen months ago....eighteen! This is before the trade deadline in which JM decided not to move Bouwmeester, heck, this was before the draft last year when he moved Jokinen! Why would Martin not do anything when he knew Jay was intent on leaving Sunrise? I think about this a lot, and to be honest I think Jay signed a one year deal prior to the 2008-2009 season to help the Panthers. He wanted to give JM some time to move him, obviously that had to be the case, unless Jay gets a high on building up, then crushing the hopes of the Panthers faithful. Well of course Jacques Martin had a great reason why he did not do anything with Bo when he had many chances, remember that press conference he held a few weeks ago.....oh wait, he got out of town faster then Mike Keenan after the Roberto Luongo trade. That is right folks, another GM screwed over the Panthers and followed it up by purchasing a plane ticket to sanctuary in Canada. The point I am trying to make with this is if you want to focus your boos somewhere, focus them on good ole Jacques Martin, the coward that jumped ship when he knew he shot the cannon that sunk it. So when Montreal comes to visit, make sure you all give him a nice, "warm", welcome.

To get back on topic here, lets chat about the rest of the ex-Panthers. I think the biggest loss this off season is that of Karlis Skrastins. I have said it, and will continue to say it. Skrastins was the Panthers best defensive D-man last year hands down. He led the team in blocked shots and made some amazing plays in front of the net that Patrick Roy would be proud of. The other guys lost to free agency are blows to the team, but not as big as the on dealt when Skrastins signed with Dallas.

I do want to wish all of the ex-Panthers good luck in their careers, especially Craig Anderson. Andy wanted to be a starter and he got his wish. I hope he gets the Avalanche back to the playoffs and proves that he can be a starter in the NHL.

I also want to give a round of applause to Randy Sexton, the current interim general manager of the Cats. Randy did a great job at the draft and followed it up by a filling the holes that needed to be filled in free agency. If Sexton can pull of one more signing, and I think you know which player from Montreal I'm talking about Panthers fans, then Bill Torrey should stop the search and peg Randy as the new GM of the Florida Panthers. Heck even if he doesn't sign Tanguay (but please do,) he should be heavily considered for the position.

I think that will wrap up today's post. Keep checking back for more news, notes, and opinions here at Sunshine State Hockey.

As Always please leave your comments and questions below, or E-mail me at

Friday, July 10, 2009

Heeeeeeeres Johnny!

Well folks it has been a while since I last wrote on this blog. Life has been crazy, causing me to forget about Sunshine State Hockey for a while. Well that while is officially over, and I am glad to say that you will once again be getting blogs everyday (or almost everyday).

I have known that I was coming back to this project for about a week now. During that week I sat down and thought about the direction the blog was going, and to be honest I really did not like the old style. So I did something about it. Some of you may notice that the page is looking a bit more Navy, Red, and Gold, the colors of that team in Sunrise Florida. The reason for this is I decided to make my blog focus on the one team that holds a true spot in my heart, the Florida Panthers. I will still be reporting out of town news, but just the major stuff. So to all those Panthers fans out there, I hope you enjoy the change. And to those non-Panthers fans, well, maybe you will learn a thing or two about the team in South Florida.

I may also have a few surprises in store for the blog, and some guest interviews, but those will have to wait until we get some more followers.

As always, please leave your comments and questions below. I created a new E-mail just for Sunshine State Hockey, so if you want to contacted me please send your E-mails to

I hope everyone is having a great summer, and I am excited to get back to blogging.