Tag:Jacob Markstrom
Posted on: February 15, 2012 6:53 pm
Edited on: February 15, 2012 6:54 pm
 

Roenick OK if Blackhawks trade Kane for goalie

Kane is a three-time All-Star at age 23. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

The Chicago Blackhawks are in one serious tailspin. They have lost nine games in a row. Heck, coach Joel Quenneville and the goaltending duo of Corey Crawford and Ray Emery just got a vote of confidence. That's never a good sign. If a GM has to do that, then you know things aren't going well.

It has people thinking that the Blackhawks need to go out at the trade deadline and find some help for their defense or possibly even the goaltending.

Former Blackhawks star and current NHL analyst Jeremy Roenick is in the group that sees a serious need to upgrade the goaltending. Seriously upgrade the goaltending, as in somebody that would be worth trading Patrick Kane. Seriously.

Check out what J.R. had to say to ESPN Chicago.

"Everybody knows I am a huge Patrick Kane fan, but when you're talking something of this nature, is Patrick Kane dealable? As much as I don't want to say it, they can afford to get rid of Patrick Kane," Roenick said Wednesday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "They can afford to -- with the season he's having -- maybe with his off-ice reputation, maybe with the skill they have on their team -- it's doable.

"Do I like it? No, because I love Patrick Kane. He is one of the most talented and one of the best players in the NHL. But if you really want a top-end goaltender you're going to have to give up somebody."

OK, playing along for a minute here, let's pretend that the Blackhawks do consider trading Kane for goaltending. We'll just have some fun here. Who could they get? First team that jumps to mind for me is Vancouver and Cory Schneider, but I just can't see those two teams making a swap like that with their animosity.

In the East the Bruins have two goalies but with Tim Thomas' age, you wouldn't think they'd be keen on getting rid of Tuukka Rask.

What about a favorite trading partner of Chicago lately, the Florida Panthers? They have who many call the best goaltending prospect in the league in Jacob Markstrom and some stellar young defensemen in the organization. Of course Panthers GM Dale Tallon knows Kane well and he is certainly young enough to fit into Tallon's long-term visions.

Even still, from Florida's perspective, I don't know if even Kane would be enough to part with Markstrom.

But that's all suspending our disbelief. It was fun for a few paragraphs but back in reality there's no way the Blackhawks are trading Kane for goaltending right now.

This slump right now in Chicago is bad, but it's not THAT bad.

More from Eye On Hockey

Quenneville, goalies get vote of confidence
Updating NHL Trade Deadline Rumor Mill

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

Posted on: February 8, 2012 1:32 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 6:17 pm
 

Panthers clawing to stay in playoff picture

Florida is just one point behind Washington in the Southeast, two behind Ottawa in the East. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

WASHINGTON -- Washington Capitals coach Dale Hunter billed Tuesday's matchup in D.C. with the Florida Panthers as a playoff game.

Imagine that, the Florida Panthers and playoff games? That's something we haven't seen in a decade. At this point it seems as real as the idea of the lost city of Atlantis being not far from the shores of South Florida.

And probably just how you'd imagine it would go if the Panthers were in a playoff game, the Capitals scored just 13 seconds in. That was the beginning of a frustrating night for the Panthers who mustered 42 shots on goal against their former goaltender Tomas Vokoun and still lost 4-0. It restored first place in the Southeast Division to the Caps for the time being and dropped Florida to ninth in the East.

Of course it wasn't really a playoff game. There are still 30 games to go before we even hit the postseason. The whole goal for the Panthers is to get into one of those real playoff games, show South Florida what the Stanley Cup playoffs look like. It's been so long it has forgotten.

The question is, will they get there? There has only been one season in the last decade that the Panthers were even truly in the hunt. In 2008-09 they finished tied with the Montreal Canadiens for eighth in the East but lost on the tie-breakers. Outside of that, they have been clear sellers at the annual trade deadline.

It was just over a month ago the Panthers were cruising toward the playoffs. They were way up in the division and were playing legitimately good hockey. They've slowed down. A lot. Most will likely say it was crashing back to reality.

That could be the case. But it's worth mentioning that it is tough to truly assess this team, it just can't seem to stay healthy. For the last couple of weeks the Panthers have been playing without their No. 1 goaltender Jose Theodore (and No. 3 Jacob Markstrom) while also being down strong defensemen Dmitry Kulikov and Ed Jovanovski. It's understandable to struggle a bit in that situation.

More on the Panthers
Playoff picture

"You always miss guys that are in the lineup on a regular basis. But if you're a good team you have good depth," winger Matt Bradley said. "Strachs [defenseman Tyson Strachan] has done a great job up from the minors. Guys are doing good jobs getting bigger roles. So there's no excuses for guys out."

That's certainly true, there are no excuses. It's not as if they will get a free pass into the playoffs if you miss x amount of games of manpower.

"What are you going to do? I don't think you feel sorry for us and I don't think anybody on that team on the other side of the ice is feeling sorry for us," first-year coach Kevin Dineen said about Florida's two-game skid. "This is NHL hockey, it's the best league in the world. You've got to understand when you take a good tail-kicking you have to accept it, recognize it and be better the next one."

That started with a postgame meeting on Tuesday. The hallway doors were closed before the Panthers even left the ice and the wait was longer than usual for the locker room to open up. It was clear the team had a little chat after its second regulation loss in a row, the first time the Cats have done that since mid-October.

"Kevin was very positive with us," defenseman Brian Campbell said. "We're a team in here, we've got to find ways to get the job done and get it done more successfully on more nights than we are now. It seems like we're around .500 a lot and that's not good enough to get to where we want.

"We've got to stay positive. We stepped up our level. Some nights we're there, some nights we're not. It's these guys in the room. Nobody is going to be coming in to help us. We've got to get this job done in here."

This is new territory for the Panthers organization, being in the thick of a playoff chase. But it's not new for a lot of the players. Remember, GM Dale Tallon rebuilt this roster, there are a handful of guys who not only have experience with playoff races but winning a Stanley Cup, such as Campbell.

When you look at it, the Panthers are still in good shape. The East is whittling down to a nine- or 10-team race (if Winnipeg stays close) for the eight available spots. With the Senators hitting a wall and the Panthers having four games in hand on Ottawa, Florida still isn't in a bad position. But they have to figure things out, and quickly.

"There's urgency obviously within the division, with everyone," Kris Versteeg said. "I think you're going to see that on a nightly basis now. Obviously every team wants to win their division. It's something we want to do."

"It's not about just Washington," Campbell added. "It's about us winning games. If we put together some games and get going here we're going to find ourselves in a playoff spot. But if we don't we're going to be out of it."

One thing that helped launch the Panthers to the top of the Southeast in the first half of the season was their success away from home. They were able to pick up points in bunches while on the road, not easy for even the best teams in hockey to do.

But since their very impressive 2-0 win in Boston on Dec. 8, Florida is just 1-6-4 as the visitor. The difference is made even more clear when you look at what the Panthers have done in their two trips to Washington this season. In 120 minutes of game action thus far, they have been beaten 7-0. Vokoun has stopped all 62 shots he has faced. At home they have outscored the Caps 9-6 in two games.

Getting going on the road again would be a nice way to restart the batteries, give them a jump.

"I don't know. Whether it's line matches or who knows what it is?" Versteeg said. "Sometimes things happen and I'm not sure for whatever reason we've been good at home and not on the road. Obviously you want to be good at home. We've got to find some ways to win on the road, that's for sure."

The scoring for the Panthers has been done largely by the combination of Versteeg, Stephen Weiss and Tomas Fleischmann. Together, the line has accounted for nearly 40 percent of the team's scoring. So when they have tapered off, it's no mystery the team has too.

But don't expect the Panthers to be busy when it comes to the trade deadline, trying to add the missing pieces to bolster their offense. It's important to remember that whatever Florida does now is bonus, it is building for the future. Tallon has built a roster that hopefully can win in the interim before the team is turned over to the younger players that make up arguably the best farm system in hockey now, players like Erik Gudbranson, who are being slowly phased in.

Don't look for them to do anything to disrupt the long-term plan, the blueprint.

In the meantime, Florida gets to experience a playoff race. Those are as rare as snowy days in South Florida. But actually making the playoffs? Well that hasn't been done since Bill Clinton was the president.

Hopefully for Florida's sake Tuesday's loss in D.C. isn't the closest they get to a playoff game this season.

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

Posted on: October 25, 2011 1:58 pm
Edited on: October 25, 2011 2:13 pm
 

Panthers sticking with Theodore over Markstrom

By Brian Stubits

Before the season began, if there were talk about a goalie controversy in Florida, most would have assumed it would be over the ineptitude between Jose Theodore and Scott Clemmensen.

But a funny thing happened to start the season. Knee surgery forced Clemmensen to the injured list so the Panthers had to keep top goaltending prospect Jacob Markstrom with the NHL club instead of sending him back to the AHL for a little more seasoning. It was assumed when Theodore signed for two seasons, he'd be there to stem the tide until Markstrom is ready and pass the torch then.

Well "then" appears to be now to everybody watching the Cats. Everybody except for new head coach Kevin Dineen.

"Theo's our starter and a great player," Dineen told the Sun-Sentinel. "He's going to get back in there soon. Jacob not only earned that start but earned that victory."

In the meantime, however, Dineen hasn't said yet who will start Thursday in Ottawa, saying it is a "good decision to have.''

Markstrom rode the pine for the first four games of the season behind Theodore before Dineen gave the Panthers' first pick in the 2008 NHL Draft his first career start. His Panthers were thoroughly outplayed by the Capitals, but Markstrom was brilliant, keeping the Panthers within striking distance, allowing just two goals in a 3-0 loss (one empty-netter). He then relieved Theodore in the third period of a game against the Islanders when Theodore got a little dinged up and closed like Mariano Rivera, stonewalling all 18 of the Islanders' shots.

Then came Monday night in Montreal when Markstrom received his second career start. All he did there was stop 40 of the Canadiens' 41 shots, including some spectacular stops (see for yourself) on seemingly sure goals. The Panthers needed every one of those 40 saves, too, as they won just 2-1.

That brings his season total to 87 saves out of 90 shots. It also prompted one of the postgame quotes of the year from teammate Scottie Upshall.

"He’s like a Transformer," Upshall said. "We’re not sure if he’s human or if he’s part alien."

Theodore, meanwhile, hasn't been bad for the Panthers, but he hasn't been as good as Markstrom. Theodore's states on the season show a 2.62 goals against average and .913 save percentage as well as a shutout in his debut.

Thus, Dineen put the speculation to rest on who his No. 1 goalie is. But it doesn't answer the question of what happens to Markstrom when Clemmensen is healthy to return, which isn't far away? Do the Panthers carry three goalies a la the Isles with Evgeni Nabokov, Al Montoya and Rick DiPietro? Do they send Markstrom back to the AHL even though he's shown he's more than capable of playing at the highest level?

At this point, the AHL doesn’t seem to be in play, no? How do you justify sending down somebody playing so well? Instead, you could see Clemmensen become expendable, although it’s unlikely there would be much of a market for him.

File this in the good-problems-to-have folder.

Photo: Getty Images

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

Posted on: September 30, 2011 10:12 am
 

Daily Skate: Panthers' Theodore cause for concern

By Brian Stubits

TROUBLE IN PARADISE: Jose Theodore, the Panthers' new starting goaltender, played the entirety of the team's final preseason game, a 7-1 shellacking in Dallas. Kevin Dineen expressed some concern over a bad camp but says there's lot of time. (Miami Herald). If he struggles, it will be Jacob Markstrom to come in as he beat out Tyler Plante for the backup job. (Miami Herald)

TRAVEL Kings: Ever wonder who does the most traveling in the NHL every season? Well this year it will be the Los Angeles Kings, who will rack up more than 55,000 miles with 15 back-to-back games and 13 one-game road trips. The Florida Panthers come in second. Surprisingly, the Winnipeg Jets are just 10th on the list. (Shark Page)

WHAT'S YOUR NUMBER?: There will be a change to the helmets in the NHL this season, but we aren't talking about player safety here. Instead, this season players will have their numbers plastered on the front of their domes in addition to the back, their jersey and shoulders. Just in case, you know, you missed it everywhere else. (Icethetics)

SECOND, BEST?: Most think if Phil Kessel when talking about the Toronto Maple Leafs and their best players. While he did lead the team in scoring last season, it just might be the second line of Nikolai Kulemin, Mikhail Grabovski and Clarke MacArthur in Toronto that really does the damage and dictates the Leafs' success. (Globe and Mail)

MIKA MAKING IT?: The Senators figure to get a lot of time to look at their prospects this season as the prospects for a good season aren't high. So on that note, the team's first pick in the draft this summer, big Swede Mika Zibanejad, has pretty much nailed down a roster spot with the Sens. (Senators Extra)

RISING TO THE CHALLENGE: Brett Connolly is the top prospect for the Tampa Bay Lightning, a ballyhooed player the fans can't wait to see skating in Tampa. The 2010 sixth-overall draft pick is having a great camp and showing he's worthy of at least a longer look, the first nine games of the season. (St. Petersburg Times)

PICK MIGHT STICK: The Pittsburgh Penguins might have found themselves a real gem in the back end of the first orund. Their top pick Joe Morrow is still hanging around camp and keeps a chance to earn a roster spot alive, especially as long as Brooks Orpik is out with an abdominal injury. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

LOOKING GOOD: Nashville, music city, has plenty of good-looking people. A few minutes watching Country Music Television will tell you that. Nashville Lifestyles put together a list of the 25 most beautiful and wouldn't you know it, Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne cracked the list. (Nashville Lifestyles)

SUSPENSIONS STICK: Tom Sestito of the Flyers and Jean-Francois Jacques were each suspended by Brendhan Shanahan for action in preseason games and have both been subsequently sent down to AHL affiliates. Well the AHL announced on Thursday that it will enforce the suspensions as well. (TheAHL.com)

STILL GOT IT: Don't think Martin Broudeur has llost much yet. Check out this rob job in last night's Devils game in Philadephia, somehow keeping the puck out of a wide-open net.

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

Posted on: September 26, 2011 3:34 pm
 

Panthers G Clemmensen to miss start of season

By Brian Stubits

After losing Tomas Vokoun in the offseason in free agency, the Florida Panthers planned to enter this season relying on a duo in net of Jose Theodore and Scott Clemmensen. But the plan is already falling apart.

That's because Clemmensen is going to miss the start of the season after undergoing a minor surgery on Monday on his knee. Coach Kevin Dineen was sure to stress that it was a minor procedure and it could sideline Clemmensen for "up to a month" but that the surgery shouldn't derail his season as Dineen is "very encouraged that [Clemmensen] is going to come back 100 percent healthy.

"We think very highly of all the goaltenders in our organization and that's why losing Clemmer is a tough deal for us," Dineen added. "He's worked hard all summer and I know he's disappointed right now, but I know that the month of October will slide right by and he'll be back before we know it."

While it doesn't figure to sideline him for too long, it does put a lot more of the burden on Theodore. And one of the Panthers' young netminding prospects.

The Panthers have arguably the top goaltending prospect in the NHL in Jacob Markstrom. He would seem to be the likely choice to remain with the team in Clemmensen's absence, but the Tyler Plante could earn the right to stay seeing as how the Panthers would like Markstrom to play a lot this season. In the AHL he will be able to do that, in the NHL he won't.

But the two will presumably have the remainder of camp to fight for the backup spot to start the season.

"I look at it as Mr. Opportunity is knocking on the door," Dineen said. "That opportunity will be given to [Tyler Plante] and [Jacob Markstrom] to scratch and claw and try to earn that right to stay here with the Panthers for the next stretch."

"Every day you're here is another special day," Plante said. "You work hard all summer to stay here as long as you possibly can. So, every day you're not getting a plane ticket down [to the AHL] is a day with a smile on your face."

One of them, likely Plante, will get to keep that smile on for a lot longer.

Clemmensen hasn't played too much in the past two seasons backing up Vokoun for the Panthers. What name recognition he does have came from his time as a fill-in for Martin Broudeur in 2008-09 when he was 25-13-1 with a .917 save percentage and 2.39 GAA. Last season for Florida he was 8-11-7 with .911/2.62 numbers.

Photo: Getty Images

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Posted on: September 8, 2011 2:51 pm
 

Coyotes acquire G Cheverie from Panthers

By Brian Stubits

The Phoenix Coyotes decided to add some organizational depth at goaltender, trading away minor-league center Justin Bernhardt to the Florida Panthers for goalie prospect Marc Cheverie.

Here's the team's press release:

GLENDALE, ARIZONA – Phoenix Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney announced today that the Coyotes have acquired goaltender Marc Cheverie from the Florida Panthers in exchange for center Justin Bernhardt.

The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Cheverie split the 2010-11 season between the Cincinnati Cyclones of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) and the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League (AHL). The 24-year-old native of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia appeared in 30 games with Cincinnati posting a 13-9-5 record with three shutouts and a 3.11 goals against average (GAA). In 15 games with Rochester, Cheverie posted a record of 2-7-1 with a 3.91 GAA.

Cheverie spent three seasons with the University of Denver (2007-10), playing in 80 regular season games, posting a record of 48-18-8. He led the Pioneers to three consecutive NCAA tournament appearances from 2008-2010. Cheverie was selected by the Panthers in the seventh round (193rd overall) of the 2006 Entry Draft.

Bernhardt appeared in 47 games for the Las Vegas Wranglers (ECHL) in 2010-11, recording 6-19-25 and 29 PIM. He signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Coyotes on April 13, 2009.

Cheverie is a well-regarded prospect, but he was stuck in the Panthers organization behind arguably the NHL's top goalie prospect, Jacob Markstrom. Of course, the Coyotes have to replace the departed Ilya Bryzgalov and to do so they brought in Mike Smith to join Jason LaBarbera. While Cheverie isn't likely to factor in the NHL this season, it's worth the flyer for Phoenix that he develops into a player who can take over down the line.

The price for the prospect is Bernhardt, a player who has shown scoring ability but has struggled to stay on the ice. He played a full 72-game schedule back in 2008-09 with Prince Albert of the WHL and he showed what he's capable of, scoring 35 goals with 57 assists.

Photo: Getty Images

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

Posted on: July 29, 2011 12:58 pm
 

Rebuilding of the Panthers through Weiss' eyes

By Brian Stubits

They sound like the buzzwords of a political campaign.

Change.

Hope.

New direction.

The blue print.

These have nothing to do with dysfunctional Florida politics. They are the words and phrases mentioned in the state about its moribound hockey team, the Florida Panthers.

There is nobody who knows about the team's optimisim and defeat better than the current longest-tenured Panther, Stephen Weiss. He has been there through it all, never leaving the organization after it made him its top selection in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. After seeing unparralleled misery -- 10 straight years of missing the playoffs -- he says the vibe is starting to match the rhetoric.

"Personally I do [have a new-found excitement] just because I feel like I don't really know anybody any more," Weiss said. "So I'm kind of getting those butterflies as if I'm going to a new team, new scenario, new coaches again. That's always exciting."

Excitement that the Panthers are going the right direction? Imagine that. Buzz is what general manager Dale Tallon brought with him. It has been a long time coming in South Florida.

The Cats made the most noise on the first day of free agency. Florida went out and payed -- most say overpayed -- to completely overhaul their roster from just a few months before. The Panthers traded for veteran defenseman Brian Campbell and winger Kris Versteeg, then signed Ed Jovanovski, Scottie Upshall, Tomas Fleischmann, Marcel Goc, Sean Bergenheim, Jose Theodore and Tomas Kopecky. Ever since, people have criticized Tallon for overspending, but the Panthers had a cap floor to reach, so they had little choice but to spend money.

It's hard to argue, however, that after the first few days of July, Florida isn't a better team than it was before. If nothing else, the Panthers grabbed attention across the NHL.

"Around the league I hope it has given us a little bit more respect, that we're starting to turn the corner and starting to put some things together," Weiss said.

Even while the Panthers were trending in South Florida, on one of the biggest days in franchise history, Weiss wasn't keeping close tabs. He was instead vacationing at his uncle's cottage an hour north of Toronto, cell phone off. Later that night, he turned his phone on and saw the stream of text messages from friends, letting him know what Tallon had been up to.

"I'm certainly super excited to get that many guys and that many quality guys, it's unbelievable," Weiss said. "It's going to help us a lot. Totally changed our team around and made us younger and faster and more skilled. It's something that has needed to be done for a while and it's pretty neat that Dale's been able to do it. I can't wait to get to camp.

"That's just the start of it. Now, you have to back it up and put it on the ice. That's up to the guys and I'm sure we're all excited to do that."

Weiss has seen his fair share of new teammates and coaches in his camp days. That will once again be the situation this year as the team breaks in new coach Kevin Dineen to go along with the new faces. Dineen's task in his first NHL job will be to mold the players together and quickly find some cohesion. It is one which harkens back to the team's days at the old Miami Arena, also their most successful period in franchise history. That's when they had to start from scratch, literally building the franchise from nothing. With such turnover, it feels like they are doing the same again.

Bringing in so many new players in one offseason will present a challenge. But how big? Some say huge. It's one of the criticisms that has been levied against Tallon's spending spree. And it is not as if he is bringing a bunch of fresh faces into an established old guard. As far as Panthers holdovers go, the only veterans to speak of are Weiss and David Booth. Nobody else has been with the team for more than three seasons.

Sure, guys like Jovanovski have been in Florida before as the Panthers made him the first overall pick in 1994, but not with this cast of characters.

So will it be an issue? Weiss' inclination is no.

"There's always -- especially now with the way things are run -- there's a lot of turnover on teams year-to-year and that can be an issue with every single team, chemistry and things like that can be an issue with new guys," Weiss said. "I guess more so for us because we have so many, but at this level I don't think that's as big of a deal."

It better not be if this is going to be the group of guys to end the NHL's standard for futility.

Let's not forget that Tallon's blue print includes building the team through the draft. The Panthers did not have the richest farm system in hockey despite their years of picking in the lottery, but that has changed under Tallon's watch. Soon Florida will be looking to bring aboard recent draft picks Jacob Markstrom, Erik Gudbranson, Quinton Howden and Jonathan Huberdeau, among others. That's the new guard, the future of Panthers hockey.

And that's something Stephen Weiss can relate to. He, too, was once the future of the Panthers. Now he's the present, trying to get things turned around. Still.

"I never really envisioned thinking it would take this long to get things turned around here, but it is what it is," Weiss said. "It's really kind of bugging me deep down we haven't been able to put it together and get it done. Seeing the success [former teammates Nathan Horton, Gregory Campbell and Dennis Seidenberg] had in Boston just kind of fuels you even more to get it done."

The closest the Panthers have come to competing for the Stanley Cup in the past 10 years was 2008-09, when they finished tied with the Montreal Canadiens in points and wins for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. Florida, however, went 1-2-1 in the season series and lost out on the second tiebreaker, left tantalizingly close, but yet so far.

Having never appeared in an NHL playoff game, Weiss does not know the feeling of reaching the postseason, but he is aware of what it would mean to him after so many years of watching from home.

"It would mean the world to me, really," Weiss said. "I wanted to honor the contract that I signed there and I want to make it happen there.

"I have some pretty high expectations for this team this year. I think deep down this could be our year."

Finally, Weiss and the Panthers are seeing a light at the end the darkest tunnel in team history.

Photo: US Presswire

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

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