If two players fall down in Atlanta, and no one is around to hear it, then...
Thrashers at Cats, 1pm, BankAtlantic Center, FSN-FL
Panthers: 19-16-6 44P, 3rd in SE Thrashers: 14-23-5 33P, 5th in SE
LAST 10: FLA: 5-3-2 (12P) ATL: 3-6-1 (7P)
HOME & AWAY: FLA (H): 9-5-3 ATL: (A): 7-11-3
SEASON SERIES: Game 3 of 6, 1-1-0 (home clubs won both)
ALL-TIME: 28-19-5 (ATL)
PROMOTIONS: Kids Day at BAC; see below for details.
Hey...another afternoon game! Well cancel the picnic and forget the beach...it's a great day for hockey in South Florida! So great, in fact, that FSN has declared today to be the makeup date for Thurday's "who cares?" unceremonious dump of the Cats/Canes broadcast. I'll be enjoying this one from the friendly - and coffee stained - confines of my desk at work.
All the sexy talk out of Sunrise this year has focused on Panthers' UFA-to-be, Jay Bouwmeester. But several hundred miles to the north, the Thrashers are struggling with their own UFA nightmare, winger Ilya Kovalchuk, who is quite certainly one of the top ten offensive players in the NHL.
"Struggling" is probably an exaggeration. GM Don Waddell knows there is an absolutely 100% iron-clad guarantee that Kovy is a goner, despite the team's best efforts. He will be traded, most likely the same day as J-Bo. Get what you can get, and move on. Will he strip-mine a club as was done to Pittsburgh last year? Waddell claims he'll be a buyer at the deadline (how he's determined that to be the case this early with so many points to grab is a riddle), but he'd better shoot for only guys with long-term deals, because exactly zero NHLers are going to choose Atlanta as a free-agent destination.
It's really pathetic what's been done to this club - and fanbase - over the past ten years, particularly the last three. Wanna make a Thrasher fan writhe in pain? Mention Tkachuk.
The Panthers will not play again until next Friday evening, hosting the Philadelphia Flyers, making today's game all the more important in setting a pace for the rest of the division, for the next week.
Saturday January 10th - is Florida Panthers Kids Day. Kids 12 and under get in for just $10.
Be here to enjoy music, fun and games from Radio Disney.
Don't miss the face painters, jugglers, bounce house and balloon artists.
Have a chance to win great prizes like movie passes, wii video games and so much more!
AT THE ENDS
|2008 - Tomas Vokoun||27||1412||10||12||1||4||65||2.76||781||716||.917||3|
T-Vo's been hot of late, allowing only two goals in each of the past two games, both victories.
|2008 - Kari Lehtonen||17||1022||5||10||2||2||54||3.17||582||528||.907||1|
|2008 - Johan Hedberg||18||954||6||7||3||2||57||3.58||511||454||.888||0|
Similar to Don Waddell's office, these days are not all rainbows and buttercups in The Land of Unloved Third Jerseys.
BATTERED AND BRUISED
Atlanta Thrashers Injuries
Florida Panthers Injuries
Nothing new to report on the Panthers' injury front; no returns are expected, though Kreps is said to be further along than Olesz. Also: Cory Murphy is healthy and currently playing in Rochester.
Like honest Chicago politicians and manmade global warming, the scene above is an extreme rarity.
Around the division last night:
The visiting Blue Jackets shocked the sports world by shutting out the mighty Capitals. What should have been a joke of a game went 180 degrees. Columbus goaltender Steve Mason stopped 45 shots, while Jared Boll collected a goal and an assist to topple Washington. In Washington. In regulation (duh). The only other club to do that this season? Florida.
In another shocker, though not quite so much, Tampa Bay defeated host Anaheim 4-3 in regulation. Ryan Malone had two goals. The Lightning are now in fourth place. Again.
Around that coveted eigth spot:
Buffalo defeated the visiting Rangers 2-1 in a shootout, giving the Sabres a three-point lead over the Panthers.
In addition to the Cats/Thrashers, today in the Southeast looks like this:
Carolina takes their three-point lead over Florida into Boston to face the league-dominating Broons, also at 1 pm. Cat fans have some scoreboard watching to do. Go B's. There, I said it.
The take-no-prisoners Capitals (57p), (well, except maybe Columbus) head to Montreal for what is probably the Game of the Day (7 pm). This could be a classic.
Tampa Bay has the day off after two games in as many nights.
Around the Wales Conference, a few games of note for the Panthers (44p) to keep an eye on:
The awful and reeling Penguins (44p) take their wagons west to Denver, in a 3 pm contest against the equally pedestrian Avalanche.
Buffalo's up-and-down Sabres (45p) travel to Detroit for a 7 pm start against the Wings. Is more required here?
Martin Brodeur'sScott Clemmensen's Devils (49p) take to the ice in Los Angeles for a 10:30 pm tilt with the Kings.
Gleek and the twins are firmly behind GM Martin's longterm plans.
LITTER BOX LINERS
Sun-Sentinel: nothing new as of 9:30 am
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Bouton's penalties
AP via NHL.com game preview
AccuScore via The Sporting News
THE FAR REACHES OF THE BLOGOSPHERE