Giroux at it again, bites Gudbranson’s jersey. Has he snapped?

Jared Clinton
Claude Giroux (Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

Claude Giroux has had a strange year, to say the least. There was the incident over the summer in Ottawa involving a cop, he wiped some snot on a linesman, and now he’s gone and bitten Florida Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson.

That’s right. During Thursday’s game against the Panthers, Giroux was skating alongside the massive blueliner, turned to face him, bit his jersey, then tugged at it with his teeth. The whole thing is very strange to see: Read more

Panthers co-owner: “I’m not putting a gun to (anyone’s) head”

Ken Campbell
Florida Panthers (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

You have to give the Florida Panthers credit for having chutzpah. They’re in the process of convincing the politicians in their city that a hockey team few people watch or care about is the driving force behind all the business the arena creates and that it would be a white elephant without them there. They’re also adamant that a team that has only once in 16 years turned a profit and hasn’t repaid its loans can do so if only it gets help with its arena lease.

And they might just be successful in doing it. Read more

The NHL shootout: the part of the game practice and coaching can’t solve

Leafs goalie James Reimer and Sabres center Cody Hodgson (Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Flyers’ 2-1 shootout loss to Florida Thursday marked their fifth loss in as many shootouts this season. With even one or two wins in those five games, Philly would be within sniffing distance of a wild card berth and not, as they currently are, closer in the standings to the last-place Carolina Hurricanes. And when veteran center Vincent Lecavalier was asked after the game whether the Flyers practiced the shootout enough, his answer likely didn’t make beleaguered head coach Craig Berube very happy.

“Well, obviously not,” said Lecavalier, who was one of the Flyers’ shooters. “I mean, maybe we could do more. They’re obviously very important points that you’re kind of leaving on the table. We have been practicing, but we probably could do more.”

Berube maintained the Flyers do practice enough, but the truth is, since it was first implemented in 2005, the shootout has been a Bermuda Triangle of expectations and logic. And the more you think about the so-called solution for a team’s shootout woes, the sillier it is. I mean, players have to practice scoring more? These men are almost universally dominant scorers at lower levels of the game and who think of different ways to score constantly, so what exactly would another 20 minutes or a half-hour after practice do for them, when it’s all but impossible to replicate the game conditions (including thousands of screaming fans potentially attempting to intimidate them) of an actual shootout? Read more

Top 10 Vezina candidates of 2014-15: Rinne rules

Pekka Rinne (Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

Goaltending can make or break a team’s season. Just ask the Edmonton Oilers, who for years have looked promising but have been unable to secure a goaltender to give them the big save they need.

You won’t find either Oilers goaltender, Ben Scrivens or Viktor Fasth, on this list of the top 10 Vezina candidates. Nor will you find Michael Hutchinson, who currently leads the league in save percentage and is second in goals-against average. The reason being Hutchinson just hasn’t had the workload, and including his numbers also put goaltenders like Colorado’s Calvin Pickard and injured St. Louis netminder Brian Elliott into the conversation.

Instead, many familiar faces are among the contenders, though not a single one has won the Vezina in their career. Read more

Hilarious, gigantic Mrs. Claus helps Panthers brighten kids’ spirits at children’s hospital

Jared Clinton
Panthers Santa Claus featured

With Christmas fast approaching, Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and one giant, bearded elf stopped by Florida’s Chris Evert Children’s Hospital to help brighten the holidays for a few sick children.

We haven’t brushed up on our holiday reading yet, but we’re not sure that Mrs. Claus was ever 6-foot-6 with size 13 feet. But we could be wrong. Take a look as a few Panthers players stop by the hospital to lift spirits: Read more

Why we should’ve seen the Florida Panthers’ strong start coming

Jared Clinton
Panthers Winning featured

Before the season began, betting site Sports Interaction was taking wagers on whether or not the Florida Panthers could eclipse 74.5 points this season. It appears smart money was on the over, as with more than 50 games remaining the Panthers are on pace to rack up 96 points and a potential playoff berth.

But these Panthers are vastly different than the team that was iced last season’s, basement team that floundered due to soft goaltending and bad 5-on-5 play. These aren’t the Panthers you’re used to seeing, and, come April, don’t be surprised if the Panthers are playing an 83rd game. Read more

Top 10 Calder Trophy candidates: Can anyone catch Filip Forsberg?

forsberg2

There’s been no shortage of great stories this season, but one of the most surprising things is the cast of rookies who have quickly made names for themselves in the league.

The thing with rookies is they’re one of the most difficult groups of players to accurately forecast. With little known about how well adjusted they’ll be to the NHL, they can either boom or bust, and in some cases an injury or unfavorable situation can send the early Calder Trophy favorite to the bottom of the ballot.

Take Tampa Bay’s Jonathan Drouin, for instance, who some people thought would run away with the award but doesn’t even appear on our list. Or John Gibson, the THN consensus pick for the Calder, who had a shot at leading the Ducks this season before injury derailed his season.

These are the top 10 Calder Candidates at this point in the season: Read more

Caps & Cats make history in 20 rounds during NHL’s longest-ever shootout

Nick Bjugstad scores the game-winning shootout goal on Braden Holtby. (Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

When you look at the list of shooters who took part in Tuesday’s shootout between Washington and Florida Panthers, you can be forgiven for thinking it looks like the roster lists for both teams. But it may as well be, because the two teams combined to make history, shattering the old NHL record for longest shootout by battling for 20 rounds before the Panthers emerged victorious over the Capitals by a 2-1 score.

The previous record for longest shootout was the 15-round showdown between the Caps and New York Rangers on Nov. 26, 2005 and two Washington players – Alex Ovechkin and Brooks Laich – can now lay claim to having taken part in the longest and second-longest shootouts. Tuesday’s marathon session lasted a whopping 17:43, and saw the Capitals score five goals, only to have the Panthers reply with five of their own to extend the shootout to Round 20. At that point, Florida center Nick Bjugstad stepped up and beat Washington goalie Braden Holtby to win it for the home team, give the Panthers their 13th win of the season and push them ahead of the Bruins for the final wild card berth.

Here’s video of the entire shootout. Be sure to pack a lunch and hydrate regularly once you begin watching. Read more