Sports Outside the Beltway

Florida Panther David Booth taken off ice on stretcher

He got leveled by a shoulder to his face. From AP-

Florida Panthers left wing David Booth was taken from the ice on a stretcher Saturday night after a hard hit from Philadelphia captain Mike Richards.Panthers Flyers Hockey

With 2:55 left in the second period, Booth had just released the puck in front of the Flyers’ blue line, and Richards delivered a late hit with his shoulder. Both of feet appeared to leave the ice as he struck Booth.

Booth immediately fell face-down and remained motionless for several minutes. Both teams trainers and Flyers team physician Gary Dorshimer attended to him. Booth appeared to be conscious as he was wheeled off following a 7-minute delay.

Richards was given a major penalty for interference and a game misconduct for intent to injure. He could face a suspension.

The verdict on Richards- He should be suspended for two months. I’ve been ranting about the NHL’s jellyfish like reaction to thuggery on ice for as long as I’ve blogged here. My most recent post on a player suspension, was written less than three hours before Booth got knocked out. There’s only one way to stop this, make the penalties so severe that team’s and players will think twice before leveling an opposing hockey player. Two month suspensions when players are carted off on a stretcher. The rest of the hand short handed. You’ll see this shit stop fast with those punitive forms of punishment.

I’d like to strangle Florida Panther announce Bill Lindsay. He was talking about Mike Richards leadership. He was an animal tonight, not a saint and Lindsay should be ashamed of himself for making excuses for what was done today. The Panthers should send Lindsay back to radio broadcasts where no one will hear his stupidity.

Florida is down 5-1 with less than three minutes to play. Another loss will take the team to 2-6-1 this year. Booth is the team’s best player. Another key player, Radek Dvorak, hurt his knee tonight. This is going to be a horrible year for Florida.

Update= Here’s the video


Florida Panthers sign defenseman Dennis Seidenberg

Did you know it is less than 3 weeks to the start of the 2009-10 NHL season? From the Miami Herald-

The Florida Panthers picked up some defensive help Monday after signing defenseman Dennis Seidenberg to a one-year deal.

Last season with Carolina, Seidenberg scored five goals and picked up 25 assists in 70 games.

He is a German citizen who still has to get a visa to play for Florida, but he is expected to join the team later this week — most likely Wednesday in Ottawa.

In six years, Seidenberg has 14 career goals and 70 assists while playing in 295 games.

Seidenberg, who played for Philadelphia and Phoenix before coming to Carolina, is a serviceable defensemen no more. If Florida management thinks this guy and Jordan Leopold will fill the void created by the departure of Jay Bouwmeester, this NHL will continue to miss the playoffs every year far into the future.


Anaheim Ducks sign Defenseman Steve Eminger

He last played in the NHL for the Florida Panthers. From AP-

The Anaheim Ducks have signed defenseman Steve Eminger to a two-year contract.

The Ducks also acquired left wing Shawn Weller from Ottawa on Friday in a trade for right wing Jason Bailey.

Eminger played for Philadelphia, Tampa Bay and Florida last season, compiling a career-high 26 points.

The former first-round draft pick by Washington played parts of five seasons with the Capitals before being traded three times in less than nine months, culminating in his move to the Panthers last March.

The Panthers acquired Eminger just before last March’s trade deadline. He did very little during his stint with the cats. Anaheim is hoping Eminger will finally show some of the skills that led Washington to spend a first round draft pick on him. Honestly, I see no reason for such optimism.


Veteran NHL C Mike Sillinger retires

He played for 12 different teams in his career but he scored the most points for his final team, the New York Islanders. Enjoy your retirement Mike.

New York Islanders center Mike Sillinger decided two hip operations were enough.

The center who played for a record 12 teams during 17 seasons in the NHL is retiring because of an injured left hip.

“The decision was clear to me after dealing with hip surgery the last two seasons, Sillinger said during a conference call Wednesday. “If I was to come back and be a hero I’d be getting a hip replacement before I’m 40.”

The 38-year-old forward played in only seven games last season and had season-ending hip resurfacing surgery in January. In February 2008, he had a microfracture procedure on the hip that forced him to sit out the final 29 games of that season.

Sillinger spent three years with the Islanders and his 42 goals and 87 points were his most with any NHL team.

“It’s a big hole to fill,” Islanders general manager Garth Snow said. “Mike was good at many different things, whether it was putting the puck in the net or taking a faceoff.”

Sillinger was chosen No. 11 in the 1989 draft by Detroit. For his career, he had 240 goals and 308 assists in 1,049 games.

Sillinger said he’d like to stay in hockey but downplayed the notion that he might go into coaching right away.

“I’m just going to enjoy the kids for now and see what the future brings,” he said.

Besides the Islanders and Red Wings, Sillinger also suited up for Anaheim, Vancouver, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Florida, Ottawa, Columbus, Phoenix, St. Louis and Nashville.


New York Islanders sign G Martin Biron

How safe does this acquisition make Rick DiPietro’s hold on the #1 Goalie job for the team?

The New York Islanders have agreed to terms with goalie Martin Biron on a one-year deal.

Biron was 29-19-5 for the Flyers last season, with a 2.76 goals-against average, and led Philadelphia to the Eastern Conference finals against Pittsburgh.

“Adding Marty gives us three bona fide No. 1 goalies,” general manager Garth Snow said in a statement. “We learned about the importance of stability in our lineup from last year and he now allows us to have another quality starter.”

The 6-foot-3 goalie has a career 2.59 GAA in 433 NHL games with Philadelphia and Buffalo.

Biron is a good goalie as is DiPietro. DiPietro’s problem may be high expectations. He was taken #1 overall in the 2000 entry draft. That, and the fact the Islanders are one of the worst NHL teams at present, make me believe there will be a tussle for the starting goalie job in Nassau County.

The Philadelphia Flyers have completed the task of reshuffling their goalies in the offseason. They signed Ray Emery, Martin Biron signed with the Islanders, and #2 Goalie Antero Nittymaki is now with Tampa. Overall I don’t see the Flyers better or worse off at Goalie but am still puzzled by the Washington Capitals sitting on their hands this off season when it is pretty much universal their goaltending is in need of an upgrade.


Did the NHL make a mess of the 2009-10 schedule?

The upcoming schedule was released yesterday. Right away I noticed something interesting. Florida has a home and home series with Nashville.

Nov 28 and Mar 29 are when the Panthers and Predators play next season.

What I find interesting is- Florida is playing Nashville home and home for the second straight season. In 2008-09, the Panthers and Predators played on November 1st and December 23rd.

In light of the way the NHL season is set up, namely that any Eastern or Western conference team plays only play 3 home and homes in any season, Florida and Nashville shouldn’t meet home and home more than once every five years 15 western conference teams divided by 3 home and home series equals five.

Here’s a link to the 2009-10 schedule. Anyone have theories as to what happened here or am I off base?


Philadelphia Flyers Defensemen Derian Hatcher retires

He is the only American to ever Captain a Stanley Cup winning team. From AP-

Flyers defenseman Derian Hatcher retired Monday, two weeks after knee replacement surgery in effect ended his 16-year career. The 37-year-old former Flyers captain joined the coaching staff as player development coach.

“It sounded like the perfect way to stay in the game and see if I like it,” Hatcher said. “I will be watching the younger players and making sure everything runs smoothly for them. I will be involved with running the rookie camp this summer.”

On the coaching staff, Hatcher replaces former Flyer Eric Desjardins, who resigned to pursue business interests.

Hatcher underwent a right knee replacement June 1 and said afterward he did not expect to play again. He missed all of last season and played only 44 games for the Flyers in 2007-08.

Hatcher finished his career with 80 goals and 331 points in 1,045 games for the Minnesota North Stars, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings and the Flyers. He also scored 33 points for 133 career NHL playoff games.

He signed with the Flyers as a free agent in 2005. He won a Stanley Cup with Dallas in 1999 and is the only American-born player to captain a team to a championship.

Hatcher was a good player but hockey is a rough sport without the type of surgery he underwent. He got out at the right time.


Philadelphia Flyers sign Goalie Ray Emery

The former Ottawa Senator spent the last NHL season playing in Russia. From AP-

A year after Ottawa released the petulant goaltender, forcing him to turn to a Russian league when no other NHL team would take him, Emery agreed to a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Flyers worth about $1.5 million.

General manager Paul Holmgren believes Emery, 26, has mended his mercurial ways and again can be the player he was when he helped the Senators to the Stanley Cup finals in 2007.

“I spent a great deal of time talking with Ray,” Holmgren said Wednesday. “The thing that kept coming back is he’s recognized there was a period in his life when he made some mistakes.”

Emery missed practices and clashed with teammates in Ottawa and was charged with multiple speeding violations and a road rage incident. Emery insists he’s learned from the past.

“I learned maybe more from those bad experiences than the good times we had there,” he said. “I realize I had a great thing going and lost a lot of people that I enjoyed hanging out with. I want to get back to having those good relationships. I think that’s the reason I’m going to change.”

Ottawa was a very good goalie up through the 2006-07 NHL season when he helped Ottawa reach the Stanley Cup finals. Then he entered hurt, didn’t play very well, and had the problems listed above. The Senators tired of Emery’s antics, gave his release. That the team then tried to play winning hockey with a couple of schlock career backup goalies(Alex Auld and Martin Gerber) is a whole other story.

Philadelphia had a good Goalie in Martin Biron, but he along with the Flyer’s backup Goaltender are unrestricted free agents this off season. The team didn’t want to pay Biron what he was asking for salary wise, so Philly went with the cheaper option of Emery. Emery for Biron is at best a lateral move for the Flyers. It can backfire, if Emery begins misbehaving again.


ESPN and the sports headline of the year

Would you believe- ‘Rumors- Emery* to eat cockroaches in Philly?’

That is not just sick sounding but what does it possibly have to do with this reporting by the Sports Leader?

Emery in at Philly, Giguere out in Anaheim?
Goalies are seemingly a-movin’ around.
So rumors, whispers and speculation abound.

Ray Emery’s Russian team confirms he might leave.
He’s off off to Philly to make Flyers fans believe.

No mention of disgusting insects there or in the Philly sports article that ESPN links to. So the what the hell is going on up at ESPN? Two months ago they were proclaiming Michelle Wie was playing in her first major championship. Is everyone running that website complete morons?

*- Ray Emery is a former NHL goalie who last played in the league for the Ottawa Senators.


Joe Sacco named new Colorado Avalanche coach

The franchise didn’t waste much time after firing Tony Granato. From AP-

Joe Sacco envisions a fast and feisty team taking the ice, one that attacks and stays aggressive.

Perhaps a version of himself when he was a forward in the league.

Sacco, who spent 13 years in the NHL, was introduced as the new coach of the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday, a day after the club fired Tony Granato and shook up its front office.

Flanked by newly appointed general manager Greg Sherman on his left and assistant coach Sylvain Lefebvre to his right, Sacco talked about carving out a revamped identity for a team that’s coming off its worst finish since moving to Denver in 1995.

“We want to be a team that plays with a lot of energy. We want to play on our toes, we don’t want to play on our heels,” Sacco said. “We want to be a team that attacks, we want to be a team that doesn’t sit back.”

Most of all, Sacco wants this team to return to glory, when the Avalanche were perennially challenging for a Stanley Cup crown.

Sherman shares that vision.

“We all want the Avalanche to return to the standards that made this franchise so successful,” he said. “There will be no shortcuts to return to those standards.”

Sacco, 40, was promoted from the Avalanche’s American Hockey League affiliate, where he coached the Lake Erie Monsters the last two seasons.

Sacco should know the Av’s young players intimately from his AHL days. He has also been an NHL player.(A 13-year career with five teams) On the other hand, I think Colorado is in a rebuilding phase right now. Sacco will have to work hard just to make the Avalanche playoff contenders in 2010.


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