Tag:Jack Skille
Posted on: January 4, 2012 11:00 am
Edited on: January 4, 2012 11:21 am
 

Panthers sign veteran center John Madden

By Brian Stubits

It took a few extra days, but the Florida Panthers have reached a deal with veteran free-agent centerman John Madden on a one-year contract. The team announced the expected move on Wednesday morning.

Madden, who played with the Minnesota Wild last season, was still skating and keeping in hockey shape as the season wore on hoping that he could find a landing spot. When the Panthers were beat up, down seven forwards at one time, the interest grew to Wednesday's climax of Madden officially being announced as a Panther.

The connection to Florida, of course, comes through GM Dale Tallon. It was Tallon who brought Madden on board in Chicago where he played with now fellow Panthers Kris Versteeg, Brian Campbell and Tomas Kopecky on their way to winning the Stanley Cup. Madden also won two Cups while with the New Jersey Devils.

“John is a veteran player who brings to our team a wealth of playing experience having won two Stanley Cups with New Jersey and one with Chicago,” Tallon said in the team's release. “He is a hard working and responsible forward who plays well at both ends of the ice and is excellent on face-offs."

As Tallon noted, one of Madden's big strengths will be his faceoff ability. He has also always been recognized for his ability to kill penalties, an area where the Panthers could use a little help and won the Selke Award in 2001. Plus, he adds a little more veteran presence to the locker room, value that as you will.

In his career, the 38-year-old has also added 162 goals -- including 12 last season -- and 183 assists.

Madden will travel with the team for their two-game, back-to-back road trip to the Rangers on Thursday and then his former Devils team on Friday.

The need for Madden to come in and play immediately is lessening for the Panthers, who are still hanging on to first place in the Southeast, but that's partly due to games in hand. A light but tough schedule in the month of January will tell a lot about this team's staying power. But the good news is that Marcel Goc and Mikael Samuelsson appear to be on the verge of returning after their injuries.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: December 28, 2011 1:07 pm
Edited on: December 28, 2011 2:47 pm
 

Report: Injury-ravaged Panthers to sign Madden

By Brian Stubits

The Florida Panthers are in a world of hurt right now. As in literal hurt.

The surprising Southeast Division leaders are still holding onto a somewhat comfortable lead over the Winnipeg Jets in the division, but they are missing a lot of players. As in seven forwards, all due to some form of injury.

That has general manager Dale Tallon on the verge of signing veteran free agent John Madden. That's according to Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "Hearing John Madden signs with @FlaPanthers tomorrow."

Madden played most recently for the Minnesota Wild and Russo used to be the beat writer for the Panthers, so he can have a rumor like that covered from both sides.

Then current Panthers beat writer George Richards of the Miami Herald tweeted that the timeline perhaps has been quickened. "Word in the #FlaPanthers locker room is John Madden has been signed and is excited to join the Cats."

Richards added that the deal isn't likely to be announced quite yet. "#FlaPanthers say no announcement on John Madden forthcoming; coach Kevin Dineen left practice early" followed by Tallon saying it isn't done quite yet.

“We don't know how long that's going to take [to get rust off] and when we're getting some other guys back," Tallon said Wednesday.

Either way, there's a lot of smoke, so the fire seems to be close behind.

Like a good chunk of the Panthers roster this season, Tallon has some familiarity with Madden, who was part of the Stanley Cup champion in Chicago that Tallon helped build. He is a tough-nosed center that likely still has some gas left in the tank. He scored 12 goals last season for the Wild.

He would also bring along the intangibles that come with being a veteran and a multiple-times champion in the NHL. In addition to winning the Blackhawks he also lifted the Stanley Cup twice while a member of the New Jersey Devils.

But more importantly, he helps the Panthers get through their injury woes at the moment. As mentioned, seven players are currently sidelined, all of them forwards. Stephen Weiss and Mikael Samuelsson could return soon but it doesn't look as good for Jack Skille, Sean Bergenheim, Marco Sturm, Marcel Goc or Scottie Upshall.

I think it is a solid addition for the Panthers even without those intangibles. He's 38 but he can likely still lead a third or fourth line when the injured Panthers get healthy. Coach Kevin Dineen has been clear that he really likes to be able to run all four lines.

What's more, Madden has long been very good on the penalty kill, a department the Panthers could use some improvement. Their 80.2 percent kill rate ranks 24th in the league.

Photo: Getty Images

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Posted on: November 3, 2011 3:11 pm
 

Jets' Enstrom to be out with a broken collarbone

By Brian Stubits

Winnipeg Jets defenseman Tobias Enstrom is out indefinitely according to Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun. Enstrom sustained a broken collarbone in the team's 4-3 shootout win over the Panthers on Halloween night.

Enstrom's injury came near the end of the second period with the Jets ahead 2-1. Enstrom was chasing the puck after it was dumped into the zone, as was the fore-checking Jack Skille of the Panthers. The two approach the puck at the same time so Skille laid a brutal hit on Enstrom.

Here's the play.

The Jets were clearly unhappy as Dustin Byfuglien immediately tried to instigate a fight with Skille, who declined. Later, captain Andrew Ladd did the dirty work, giving Skille a good beating in the third period.

Folks in Winnipeg weren't happy with the hit. The feeling was that it was worthy of a suspension, but the league ruled otherwise. In this case I agree with the league's decision, I thought any head contact was incidental and that Enstrom's reaching for the puck contributed to the danger. Now Scottie Upshall's hit earlier in the game on the other hand ...

The loss of Enstrom is not an easy one for the Jets to take. In the last two seasons he has eclipsed the 50-point mark, including 51 points last season in just 72 games. This season he had a goal and five assists in 11 games. But more importantly, the Jets aren't necessarily loaded with quality defensemen. Mark Stuart is dealing with an upper-body issue at the moment himself while Johnny Oduya has shown he still has some growing to go.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: May 31, 2011 4:19 pm
Edited on: May 31, 2011 8:59 pm
 

Panthers start busy month by re-signing Skille

The Panthers begin what should be a very busy couple of weeks by re-signing forward Jack Skille. According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, the contract is worth $1.65 million over two years.

Skille, acquired from the Blackhawks in a trade for Michael Frolik and goalie Alexander Salak -- who also just got a deal from his new team in Chicago -- didn't do much in his limited time with the Panthers last season. He played in just 12 games, sitting 13 because of a high ankle sprain. In those 13 games, he scored just one goal and added one assist.

But Panthers GM Dale Tallon clearly still believes in Skille. It was Tallon, of course, who drafted Skille in Chicago with the seventh overall pick back in 2005. He might fit into what Tallon wants the 'Cats to become as Skille brings a physical presence and a tendency to crash the net, two things Florida has been lacking in recent years.

"We are pleased to have Jack return for the next several seasons," Tallon said Tuesday. "He is a high energy and hard working player who made the most out of his opportunity with our team, despite missing 12 games due to injury. We look forward to Jack’s continued contributions to our organization both on and off the ice."

Tallon is just getting warmed up.

The only other move he's made so far this offseason was re-signing young defenseman Keaton Ellerby and, according to the Miami Herald, is working on a new deal for Mike Santorelli -- who was the surprise of the team last season with his 20 goals and 21 assists.

Tallon did, however, take care of another item on the agenda on Tuesday, making a coaching hire to be officially announced on Wednesday. Reports suggest it's former NHLer Kevin Dineen.

But where Tallon really made his name is in the draft, and the Panthers, much like last season, will be very active. Tallon doesn't have quite the arsenal of picks he had last year -- 13 in total -- but he plans on getting them.

"If we can achieve that and get a couple more picks this year, that would give us 24, 25 picks in a year -- that's like four drafts," he told nhl.com. "That really can set us up or the future and give us a strong foundation. That's what we're doing."

In addition to the plethora of draft picks Tallon will have, starting with third overall, he will have plenty of space under the cap to be active in free agency if he so chooses. More money might be available, too, depending how the rest of their free agents play out. The team's highest-paid player last season, Tomas Vokoun, is weeks away from becoming a free agent and the team is yet to decide if they will bring him back. Point being, Tallon will be an active part of the free-agent scene this year.

But his stated goal is to build through the draft, so while the Panthers might try and haul in some players from the market, don't hold your breath.

-- Brian Stubits

-- Photo: US Presswire

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com