Wednesday Caterwaul: Panthers Open Forum

Feb 28, 2012; Toronto, ON, Canada; Florida Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen on the bench as center Shawn Matthias (18) looks on during their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. The Panthers beat the Maple Leafs 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

Bench Minors - typically known as "too-many-men" in our somewhat jaded ears over the past seven months - were a brutal sticking point for the Florida Panthers throughout the 2011-12 season. While the majority of the NHL's clubs finished the year within a range of 6 to 10, the Cats collected a momentum-zapping 15...four more than a year ago and the league's worst showing since Anaheim (15) and Pittsburgh (19) during the 2006-07 campaign. Herein lies the stat which truly illustrates the difficulties of merging a rookie head coach with historically massive roster turnover; expect that number to fall drastically in the coming season.

Tuesday's Result

  • (6) New Jersey over (5) Philadelphia, 4-1: Flyers held lead until early-third as Devils carpet bombed a very lonely Bryz with 35 shots. Giroux: zero points, 2 SOG, minus-1. Brodeur's 19 saves helps Jersey tie the series at 1-1. Local reaction from In Lou We Trust and Broad Street Hockey.

Tonight's NHL Playoff Action

  • (1) NY Rangers at (7) Washington, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN): Brad Richards leads all players with 2G/1A. Braden Holtby: .929 in last game. Series tied 1-1.
  • (3) Phoenix at (4) Nashville, 9 p.m. (CNBC): Preds will be without Alex Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn (one game suspension by the club; more below); G Pekka Rinne is 4.09/.857 on the series. Coyotes lead 2-0.

Around the Den

  • Happy Birthday to defenseman Mike Weaver, who is coming off his best NHL season yet in points (16), assists (16), hits (114), and blocked-shots (137). He has two years remaining on his current deal.
  • Cats GM Dale Tallon held his end-of-year press conference yesterday; if you missed it the first time around, get in there and do your homework.
  • F Drew Shore and D Nolan Yonkman are given the video treatment via the Rampage
  • On The Forecheck has a number of varied links regarding the Rabulov/Kostitsyn suspensions; highly suggest checking out Nashville general manager David Poile's presser.
  • Former Panther David Booth is

    enjoying the offseason in his own special way.

  • Another ex-Whaler finds a home in management, as Marc Bergevin is handed a noose the keys to Bell Centre. Interestingly, he played alongside current Anglophone interim-martyr Randy Cunneyworth in Hartford...as did half of all coaches and GMs in the league. But you already knew that.
  • As the World Championship tourney approaches, the IIHF looks at the diminishing ranks of European-born players in the NHL

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