Luongo Returns to Panthers in 2-1 Loss to Flames

After suffering a mild-concussion on March 27th against the Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo finally reclaimed his spot between the pipes as the team kicked off their season ending homestand against the Calgary Flames on Friday night.

During his three game absence, the Panthers struggled to keep opponent’s scoring low, allowing 14 total goals as veteran backups Scott Clemmensen and Dan Ellis tried to hold down the fort.

Competing in his 800th career NHL game, Luongo admittedly showed signs of rust as the Panthers fell to the Flames by a final score of 2-1.

“I think I felt a hair off as far as my game is concerned,” Luongo said. “I only had one practice and jumped right into the game. It’ll get better as the next couple days go by.”

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Video: Canucks and Flames Start Game With Line Brawl

If the ineffectiveness of the Florida Panthers’ power play lulled you to sleep on Saturday night, the first minute of action between the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames provided a surefire way to get your blood pumping again.

Just moments after puck drop, pandemonium erupted at Rogers Arena as the Canucks and Flames clashed in five versus five line brawl.

When the dust had finally cleared and the players were restrained, 10 fighting majors were handed out to the guilty parties, as well as eight game misconducts.

After the massive brawl, the penalty box was standing room only.

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Ex Panther Jay Bouwmeester Must Have A Great Agent

When I read this tweet from fellow writer Dave Lasseter Thursday night, I wondered what the heck he was talking about:

Then I did some reading.  Then I hit my head with my my fist.  I recovered, and chose to put my thoughts together, and here’s what I’ve come up with.

It’s been four full seasons since Jay Bouwmeester left the Florida Panthers organEYEzation for what he thought would be greener pastures.  He did himself no favors on his way out of South Florida as he made it very clear for at least two seasons he had no intention of signing a long term deal with the franchise.  It was Jay’s feeling that there wasn’t enough passion, committment, and determination to building a winning culture.  Based on the legend in his own mind (and his father’s), Jay was traded to the Calgary Flames for the rights to Jordan Leopold and a third round pick in 2009.  That pick has turned out to be Josh Birkholz, and Leopold who played in 61 games for the Panthers was later traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a second round pick in 2010,  That pick turned out to be Connor Brickley.  The Panthers at the NHL level have had very little to show for a return on Jay.  However they have saved a humungous amount of salary.

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Corban Knight Traded To Flames For Draft Pick

After having already moved RFA defenseman T.J. Brennan last week, the Florida Panthers continued their already active 2013 off-season on Tuesday when it was announced that the team had shipped prospect Corban Knight to the Calgary Flames in exchange for a 4th round pick in this year’s entry draft. 

Selected 135th overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, the once forgettable Knight really came into his own this past season playing his Senior year with the University of North Dakota, proving he may just have what it takes to be an NHL regular. Steadily improving throughout his collegiate career, Knight’s Senior season was filled with great success – finishing tied for 7th in National scoring with a career-high 48 points, including a career-high 33 assists. Although he has the ability to score, Knight really stood out in the assist column this year as his 33 assists put him tied for second nationally and his 24 first assists leads all skaters in men’s Division 1 hockey.

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Panther Parkway Noon Headlines: Iginla, NCAA, DeKeyeser, Top Goalies.

What better way to spend your lunch break than catching up on all of last night’s amazing NHL action that you may have missed! Here are the top stories and videos from the all of yesterday’s action around the NHL.

* First up watch the Jarome Iginla video tribute from the Calgary Flames.

* I think the announcer was pretty certain this was a clean hit. (video). I don’t think it was.

* The Three Stars for Friday night from Puck Daddy.

* Here’s a great way to decide on who to cheer for in the NCAA’s Hockey Tournament.

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He Coulda’ Been A Panther. A Look At Round One Of The 2002 NHL Draft

In 2002 the Florida Panthers held two very special components of the entry draft: the number one overall pick, and a second pick in the first round! The organization had a chance to potentially set up their future for a very long time if they made the right choices.  When it came down to it however (remember this is hindsight), the Panthers botched it.  Yes, that’s right.  As I have said many times, those days thankfully are long gone thanks to having Dale Tallon here at the draft table, where he has made some outstanding selections.

The drama of the first pick of the draft for the Panthers will always make us ask what if.  As you recall, there was a trade between the Panthers and the Columbus Blue Jackets, where the two teams swapped spots at one and three.  The Panthers had their eyes on the smooth skating, puck moving, and crisp passing of Jay Bouwmeester.  A tall, slender, and quiet young man, Jay was thought of as someone who could potentially develop into a Niklas Lidstrom type.  The Columbus Blue Jackets had coveted high scoring winger Rick Nash, and were deathly afraid that the Atlanta Thrashers would grab him at the second spot.  With that threat looming, the Panthers moved down to the third spot, and the Jackets moved to number one taking Nash.  Atlanta selected goaltender Kari Lehtonen, followed by the Panthers selecting Bouwmeester.

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He Coulda Been A Florida Panther. Looking Back At Round One Of The 1995 NHL Draft

With the announcement that the Winter Classic has officially been cancelled, thinking of material to hold your interest can get difficult.  However it’s also a time where I can sit back and write about some things that I normally wouldn’t have time for.  This will be a series called “He Coulda Been A Florida Panther”  that will examine the Florida Panthers first round draft picks, and who they “could’ve” drafted instead.  It’s easy to look back and analyze, especially with what is known after the fact, but we need some fun.   Although I think in a few cases, we’ll shed some tears.

Today we take a look back at the 1995 NHL Draft, and with that look comes an uneasy feeling.  The Florida Panthers were able to choose Radek Dvorak with their 10th selection, and while that ultimately turned out to be a fine selection, it’s once again the players, and specifically one player that they didn’t take that one would find intriguing.  Dvorak is second all time in games played for the Panthers with 613, which he accumulated in two separate stints in South Florida.  Dvorak who made the jump from the draft right into NHL action in his first season, was part of the 1995-1996 team that went to the Stanley Cup final against the Colorado Avalanche.  Dvorak played in 77 games in his rookie season, scoring 13 goals and adding 14 assists for 27 points.  In 16 playoff games he had one goal and three assists.

Dvorak became very well known for his defensive play, and his penalty killing skills.  Quick on his feet, a good puck handler with sharp passing skills, Dvorak has had a very respectable NHL career playing for the Panthers, New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers, St. Louis Blues, Atlanta Thrashers and the Dallas Stars.  Dvorak is seventh all time on the Panthers scoring list with 268 points in his 613 games.  He is 6th all time in goals with 113.  Dvorak could typically be counted on for 15 goals, and 30 points per season, however one year in New York he scored 31 goals and had 36 assists, which has turned out to be his best season ever in the NHL.  Likeable, respected, and a good teammate, Dvorak has been a solid citizen everywhere he’s played.

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