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Saturday Caterwaul: Panthers Open Forum

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"Hits" is (are?) a divisive statistic among fans: is it a legitimate measurement of a player's contributions to his club regarding "strategic" physicality? Or yet another attempt by the league to NBA-ify the numbers with an ultimately meaningless made-for-TV value?

Whatever side you fall on, defenseman Erik Gudbranson paced the Florida Panthers in 2011-12 with 154 hits in 72 GP; nowhere close to NHL leader Matt Martin (374 in 80 games with the Islanders), but "good" for 71st in the league. Who placed second on the Cats after Guds? Oft-injured forward Matt Bradley, with a remarkable 134...in 45 appearances.

Friday's Result

  • (3) Phoenix over (4) Nashville, 1-0 (REG): Shane Doan backhander midway through first period holds up; Mike Smith stops 25 shots. Local reaction from Five For Howling and On The Forecheck.

Today's lone NHL Playoff Action

  • (1) NY Rangers at (7) Washington, in another supremely ludicrous 12:30 ET start (NBC): Game Four, Rags lead series 2-1. Worried about another HeidiGate? The network and league claim to have figured it out.

Panthers in the WHC

  • None today, but Marcel Goc (Germany) and Tomas Kopecky (Slovakia) are back it at tomorrow. USA and Canada both (1-0) dance from Helsinki at noon ET (NBCSN at 7:30 p.m./tape-delayed).

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