Sports Outside the Beltway

Waffle throwing fan banned from Toronto Maple Leaf games

Were they with or without syrup?

A frustrated Toronto Maple Leafs fan who threw waffles on the ice at the Air Canada Centre will have to admire his team from afar.

Joseph Robb was charged with criminal mischief and barred from the arena for throwing waffles on the ice at a Maple Leafs game to protest the team’s performance this season. The 12-17-4 Leafs were 28th out of the NHL’s 30 teams entering Wednesday’s games.

Robb, of Oakville, Ontario, says he’s “just a normal Leafs fan, I love them to death.”

Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment vice president Bob Hunter says Robb’s actions during Monday night’s game against the Atlanta Thrashers were inappropriate.- Associated Press

The waffles in question were uncooked Eggos, but we don’t know what flavor. No syrup was found on the offending waffles.

Robb has been banned from other sporting events because of his unruly behavior. He’s an out of control jerk, IMHO. Normal fans don’t throw uncooked food on the ice and disrupt games.


Hat Trick- Florida Panthers NHL Team fails to live up to free Yarmulke Promise

Oi Vei

SUNRISE, Fla. – Sunrise Sports & Entertainment announced today that the Florida Panthers Hanukkah Celebration presented by The Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Co. will take place on Tuesday, Dec. 7 during the Cats-Avalanche game at the BankAtlantic Center. Prime Time Stubs, Inc. is an associate sponsor for the event.

Fans are encouraged to join the biggest Hanukkah party in South Florida through a number of initiatives including:

- A giant menorah lighting on the JetBlue Tarmac at 6:45 p.m.

- Jewish music provided by Avimagic Entertainment

- Kosher food available throughout the game in select locations

- Panthers yarmulke given to all ticket-buyers

The Panther website clearly says all ticket-buyers. Fans arrived for tonight’s game and were told it only applied to group ticket buyers. I got wind of it at The Litter Box where one commenter let everyone know. George Richards of the Miami Herald has also confirmed it in his live feed of the game.

The Panthers don’t have a very good rep in South Florida and this sure isn’t going to help it. It is Hanukkah after all and this region has one of the biggest Jewish populations in the nation.

On a side note this particular Panther game isn’t supposed to be broadcast because it is NHL night on Versus. They have exclusive rights on these nights. Well, I’m watching a video feed with Florida Panther radio announcers doing the audio. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is in Sunrise tonight. Maybe he would be interested in knowing all of tonight’s screwups but he’s a screwup himself so I bet he’d shrug it off.


Vancouver Canuck Rick Rypien assaults fan

Some unscheduled boxing matches took place in Minnesota last night. From AP-

Vancouver Canucks center Rick Rypien pushed a fan in the team’s 6-2 loss against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night.

Rypien and Minnesota’s Brad Staubitz, who fought in the opening period, were about to square off in the second period before being separated by the linesmen in front of the Wild bench.

As Rypien, who was assessed a double minor for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct, was pulled by linesman Don Henderson toward the Vancouver bench, he appeared to push the official.

On his way down the tunnel to the dressing room, Rypien pushed a Wild fan who was applauding at the railing. Rypien was quickly pulled away by teammate Manny Malhotra. The fan was removed from the area.

Rypien was not available for comment after the game, but Malhotra thought the fan “got a little bit too involved.”

“There’s boundaries that should never be crossed. We’re in our area of work,” he said. “We’re all for the hooting and hollering and supporting your team and saying whatever is tasteful. But as soon as you cross that line and want to become physical with a player then we have to make sure we take care of ourselves. … We have no idea of what their intentions are.”

What a wimp Malhotra is. An NHL player perceives a fan as a threat? He should go run a child day care or something.

I don’t get this pushing BS in the Associated Press article. Watch the video I will post below and tell me its not assault.

What will be the length of the knee slap suspension the NHL hands down on Rypien? I bet its 10 games or less. The NHL suspension policy is a joke and has been since Todd Bertuzzi broke a player’s neck six years ago. Steve Moore suffered a career ending injury from the sucker punch. Bertuzzi is still playing in the NHL. Enough said about suspensions, right?

Hat tip- Litter Box Cats


Kicking mad- Edmonton beats Florida Panthers 3-2

The Florida Panthers played their first regular season NHL game last night. From the Sun-Sentinel-

The Panthers began their 17th season and first under General Manager Dale Tallon with a 3-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place on Sunday night.

Those watching saw a different Panthers team from years past.

Sure, they were still offensively challenged against last season’s worst team, missing point-blank shots that should’ve given them a 2-0 lead after one, instead of a scoreless tie.

Throughout the first two periods, Tallon and third-year coach Pete DeBoer watched their charges, including seven newcomers, dominate the game with smothering defense and solid forechecking, but still trailed 3-2 on deflected goals by Dustin Penner and Ryan Jones, as well as a goal by Shawn Horcoff that appeared to have been kicked in, but stood after a review.


“It looked very clear to me. I don’t know what else a kicking motion is. … That’s what I saw. … It didn’t surprise me they count it. They’re trying to get the scoring up.”

The Panthers outshot Edmonton 23-7 after two periods (28-13 overall), but three Edmonton shots got past Vokoun. The Panthers fell to 7-7-3 in season openers, including 2-7-1 on the road.

“It’s frustrating in that we didn’t get rewarded for the effort we put in,” DeBoer said. “It looked like a kick to me. The interpetation of that rule I don’t understand. I don’t know if you have to take a punter’s kick at it for it not to count.”

Thanks to two new Panthers forwards, Steve Bernier and former Oiler Marty Reasoner, the deficit was cut to one heading into the third. Bernier, a major part of the draft-day trade with the Canucks involving defenseman Keith Ballard, stole the puck and set up Reasoner for an open wrist shot that he buried from the faceoff circle.

Then with 2:09 left in the period, Bernier fed left wing David Booth, who, showing no ill effects from last year’s concussions, ripped a shot at veteran goalie Nikolai Khabibulin that popped back to Reasoner for the stuff shot.

Here is video of the Horcoff shot. The view that begins at the 1:18 mark seems to clearly show a kick.

Florida lost and it was due to fluke shots and a bad call by the referees. The team and its fans have to get over it. Next up is a game with Vancouver, tonight. The Canucks are picked by many to be in the NHL finals next spring. Florida’s path at the beginning of the 2010-11 NHL season is only getting tougher.

Hat tip for the above video- Donny at Litter Box Cats.


Under Way- Carolina Hurricanes defeat Minnesota 4-3

The first game of the 2010-11 NHL season is in the books. From AP-

HELSINKI — Brandon Sutter scored twice as the Carolina Hurricanes held on to beat the Minnesota Wild 4-3 in the opening game of the NHL season on Thursday.

Anton Babchuk, back after a year in the Russian KHL, and Jussi Jokinen also scored for the Hurricanes.

Brent Burns scored for Minnesota with 3:21 left, but Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward made a late save to preserve the win.

Guillaume Latendresse scored for Minnesota 3:33 into the game, but Sutter tied it on a power play with 10 seconds left in the first period.

Babchuk put Carolina in front at 5:58 of the second period on another power play in which coach Paul Maurice lined up three forwards.

“I’ll do it again. If the power play struggles, it affects the offense, and it has been good to think of something which could be positive,” Maurice said.

New Minnesota center Matt Cullen tied it at 9:52 against his former team, but Carolina upped the pace and took control.

Jokinen restored the Hurricanes’ lead on a two-man advantage at 11:16, and Sutter made it 4-2 at 18:03 after a great rush by Patrick Dwyer up the right wing.


Ward came away with 29 saves, while Minnesota’s Niklas Backstrom turned away 31 shots.

The NHL season opener belongs in North America, not Europe. I’m dead set against regular season sports games being played any where but at sites chosen by the teams involved.

The Florida Panthers won the first game of the 2009-10 season also played in Finland. They went on to finish with the 3rd worst record in the league. I expect Carolina to do better this season, but not make the playoffs.


Florida Panthers trade Nathan Horton to Boston

Will the last scorer please turn off the lights at the Bank Atlantic Center. From the Sun-SentinelNathan Horton2-

The Panthers traded right winger Nathan Horton to the Bruins on Tuesday, along with forward Gregory Campbell, for the 15th pick in this year’s draft, defenseman Dennis Wideman and a third-round pick in 2011.

Panthers General Manager Dale Tallon said Horton asked to be traded in Tallon’s initial conversation with the winger after he was hired.

“He showed frustration and felt maybe it would be better if he was able to go somewhere else,” Tallon said.

Horton, 25, was the Panthers’ second-longest tenured player. They drafted him No. 3 in 2003. He was the team’s second-leading scorer this past season, finishing with 57 points (20 goals) in 65 games. He missed 17 games with a broken leg.

Horton was happy to be moving on to Boston.

“I’m not going to say anything bad about the [Panthers] organization, but there have been five coaches in the time I’ve been there,” Horton said. “Now I’m going to a stable, historic organization. I’m very excited. I’m going to give it all I’ve got. I think it’s going to be good.”

Horton said not getting a chance to play in the playoffs has been hard to deal with.

“As a player, that’s the best part of playing hockey,” he said. “When you don’t make them for seven years, I just think it’s too long. It can’t happen. With this [Bruins] organization, it just doesn’t happen. It’s exciting for me just to come and be a part of it.”

Horton has 142 goals and 153 assists in 422 career games.

Tallon said Horton “was frustrated with what had gone on in the past and was leaning toward, if we could help him out, seeing what was out there for him. That’s how this all began.” Tallon said when he told Horton of the trade this morning, “he thanked me.”

Wideman, 27, had six goals and 24 assists for the Bruins this past season and averaged more than 23 minutes of ice time.

First, I’m not going to miss Gregory Campbell. He was an almost total offensive zero last season who got way too much playing time because he was Coach Peter DeBoer’s pet(He coached Campbell in junior leagues). For that reason I think DeBoer was bypassed in the decision making progress that led to this trade. Unless Florida plays well next year, I bet DeBoer won’t be back for the 2011-12 NHL season.

As for Horton, he’s been an underacheiver with a poor work ethic on a team that at best muddles their way through an NHL season. Trading him for a #15 is great but leaves the Panthers with a big offensive hole. 5 draft selections in the top 50 picks are great, but none of them are likely to play in the next NHL season, alone have any kind of impact. Florida could take the pick and trade for someone. Names that are being floated around include Jeff Carter, Jason Spezza, or Kris Versteeg. Florida’s new General Manager came from Chicago, so Versteeg would be the obvious one of the three above but I like Carter the most.

Also blogging on the Horton trade- Donny at the Litter Box and Stanley Cup of Chowder.


Florida Panthers hire Dale Tallon as general manager

He held the same position in Chicago From 2005 to 2009 the Sun-Sentinel-

Randy Sexton’s stint as Panthers general manager ended Monday.

The Panthers hired former Blackhawks GM Dale Tallon to replace Sexton and will introduce the ninth GM in franchise history Tuesday morning at BankAtlantic Center.

Tallon, 59, was serving as a senior adviser of hockey operations for the Blackhawks.

According to a source, former Wild GM Doug Risebrough, former Bruins GM Mike O’Connell and Rangers assistant director of player personnel Jeff Gorton were the others on the Panthers’ short list who were considered.

It’s uncertain whether Sexton, whose one-year contract is set to expire June 1, will remain with the team in some capacity.


Tallon, who in four seasons as Blackhawks GM maneuvered their rise from third-worst record in the NHL to the Western Conference finals, is optimistic he can rebuild the Panthers. While the Blackhawks had missed the playoffs six of the past seven seasons when Tallon took over in 2005, the Panthers haven’t made the playoffs since 2000 — an NHL record-tying nine consecutive seasons.

“I’m elated. It’s a great opportunity,” said Tallon, 59, who plans to fly to Germany on Wednesday to meet with Panthers coach Pete DeBoer, an assistant coach for Canada at the World Championships. “I’ve just got to give him some tools to work with and see if he can do the job.”

Panthers majority owners Cliff Viner and Stu Siegel released a statement Monday noting “we are thrilled and honored to open a new chapter in Florida Panthers franchise history.” They added that Tallon “brings with him a proven track record and an impressive franchise-building resume that we believe is the perfect fit for the future” and thanked Sexton, who was named GM hours before the season opener Oct. 2 in Helsinki, for his service.

Tallon told the Sun Sentinel he was first contacted by Panthers alternate governor Bill Torrey near the end of April. Discussions continued and ultimately “it felt right for both parties,” Tallon said.

“They’ve got a lot of good draft picks. They’ve got some good young players,” Tallon said. “It’s a similar situation to what we started with in Chicago, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Much of the appeal of this union, both from the Panthers’ perspective and Tallon’s, is that the team will have nine picks in next month’s draft in Los Angeles, including the No. 3 overall pick and three picks in the second round.

Two of those second-rounders were acquired at the trade deadline when Sexton, who first became interim GM last May after Jacques Martin left to coach the Canadiens, sent Jordan Leopold to the Penguins and fellow defenseman Dennis Seidenberg to the Bruins.

“We have the blueprint. We know how to do it,” Tallon said. “We just have to implement it now.”

Tallon reconstructed the Blackhawks, who finished with 65 points his first season as GM, by drafting All-Stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. He also traded for Patrick Sharp and Kris Versteeg, and signed other current Blackhawks Marian Hossa, Brian Campbell, John Madden and Antti Niemi as free agents.

“He did a complete re-haul of a very bad product, and as a result you see the crowds and the excitement the Blackhawks have instilled in Chicago,” said Thrashers GM Rick Dudley, who was Tallon’s assistant in Chicago and Panthers GM from 2002-04. “He knows how to construct a team. He’s a builder. And he’ll do a heck of a job there [in Florida]. The only thing that bothers me is we’re in the same division.”

Despite Tallon’s success in Chicago, he was demoted last July a week after the team mistakenly filed paperwork of qualifying offers to its restricted free agents after the deadline. But many inside the organization and outside believe the move was made because Blackhawks president John F. McDonough wanted to bring in his own guy, Stan Bowman, to be GM. Bowman is the son of Blackhawks senior adviser Scotty Bowman.

I always thought the paperwork snafu was just the cover story for a case of nepotism in Chicago. Tallon did nothing that was deserving of promotion.

Donny Rivette does a good job of summing up Randy Sexton’s short tenure in Florida. The Panthers had a big let down last year, but this Panther fan only puts a small bit of the blame at his feet. Oh Sexton made some dumb moves, like signing Scott Clemmensen and Ville Koistinen, but none of these are the cause for the team finished out of the playoff picture once again. I believe former GMs Mike Keenan and Jacques Martin are to blame.

I soured on the Panthers late last season. For that reason, I still don’t trust the team’s new ownership and I find it hard to believe in Tallon turning around the franchise. All I will say is- 1- Florida is rebuilding and is at least two years from being a playoff team. 2- I wonder how safe Coach Peter DeBoer’s job is now? The team has new owners and management and that makes me think DeBoer could be fired before the 2010-11 season is over. Particularly if Florida is once again out of the playoff picture.


Where in Canada?- Florida beats Toronto 4-1

Today’s sports media screwup-


Do headline writers actually read the first word of an article? Do editors just post anything given to them? If you need proof of that, look at this piece of garbage written by a sports writer last year.

Florida is winning meaningless games to close out the 2009-10 NHL season. How nice of them. Forward Rostislav Olesz scored his first point since the Harding administration in 22 games too. How nice of him to show up.

Boston beat Atlanta last night. That gives the Bruins a 3-point hold on the last playoff spot. Don’t punch their ticket yet. Boston has two games left with Washington.

Even should they make the playoffs, Boston, Atlanta, or whoever will get steamrolled by the Caps. The only Eastern Conference teams up to beating Washington are New Jersey, Pittsburgh, or Buffalo.


Philadelphia Flyer Jeff Carter out with a fractured foot

He had an almost 300 consecutive game played streak going. From AP-

The Philadelphia Flyers, already without their top two goalies, have also lost their leading scorer.

The team announced Monday that star forward Jeff Carter is out three to four weeks with a non-displaced fracture in his left foot. Carter leads the team in goals (33) and points (60).

When he misses Tuesday night’s game in Ottawa, Carter will end a streak of 286 consecutive games played. That’s the third-longest in team history.

“Jeff’s a tough kid, when he’s able to come back and play, he will,” general manager Paul Holmgren said. “Other guys have to pick up their socks a little bit.”

Carter is hopeful he can be back for the playoffs, which start next month.


The Flyers are making due as well without goalies Ray Emery (out for the season) and Michael Leighton (out eight-10 weeks).

As of this moment, Philadelphia is 6th in the Eastern Conference with 10 games left to play this season. They are 8 points ahead of the 10th place team(NY Rangers), it is therefore unlikely they will miss the playoffs but the problems at Goalie and the injury to Carter make it likely the Flyers will do a quick playoff exit.


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