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Goldie's Blog: Opening Night is Here

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers

posted 9:25 a.m.

The night we have been waiting for is here. The BankAtlantic Center will be full tonight as the Panthers host Boston. Alex Auld will get the start in goal. Here are tonight's lines:


roberts - jokinen - stumpel

olesz - niewendyk - bertuzzi

gelinas - weiss - horton

campbell - gratton - kolnik


Allen - Bouwmeester

Van Ryn - Salei

Mezei - Montador/Kwiatkowski/Jackman

Tim Thomas starts for the Bruins in net. Boston will feature big defenseman Zdeno Chara, who signed as a free agent this past off season from Ottawa. The Bruins will also have 18-year-old #1 draft pick Phil Kessel in the line-up. He is fresh out of the University of Minnesota and everyone will notice him because he can fly and has a great shot. The Panthers "D" must control young guns Brad Boyes and Patrice Bergeron. Boston's top lines are very talented so there must be an awareness of where these players are on the ice at all times.

I look forward to seeing you all tonight!

Until next time...



Focus On Special Teams This Week

posted 9:59 a.m.

Very spirited practices took place this week at incredible ICE, the main focus being on special teams play. The top two power play units will be split up so the Panthers should be equally strong during both the first and second part of the power play. Here's an example...Bertuzzi, Nieuwendyk, and Horton are on the second unit. Weiss being back helps both power plays, especially in a 5-on-3 situation. New penalty killers Salei and Allen will be a big improvement as well. The defense will have to be strong in the opener vs. Boston and Sat at Atlanta. Both teams have two strong top lines and will be tough to handle on their power plays.

Until next time...


posted 10/4/06 had a chance to sit down with Panthers center Stephen Weiss this afternoon after practice. Below Weiss shares his thoughts on the upcoming season:

posted 1:54 p.m.

We expect to have a good start to the season. The first month is very important to us, to get off to a good start, gain some chemistry, and set the tone for the season. A good start will give us confidence for the rest of the year. Definitely playing Toronto on Monday is something I'm looking forward to, getting the chance to go home and play in front of family and friends. It's my second favorite arena to play in, behind Florida of course!

It's a different team this year than we've had before. When I first came on, we were more of a young, inexperienced team with something to prove. Now I think we have an older team, some guys that have been around the block, but with some younger guys too. At the same time though, I think we're just as hungry as we've been in the past. It's awesome having guys like Gary Roberts, Joe Nieuwendyk, guys we watched growing up. Now with Bryan Allen, Todd Bertuzzi, and Alex Auld, it's a breath of fresh air to have those guys in.

We weren't the only team to make some moves, every team is going to have a new line-up this year. But we focus as a team to be successful, regardless of whoever we are playing. Every year we get excited to play but especially this year with the moves we have made. We look forward to Friday, and take it one game at a time.

I'm looking forward to seeing all of the fans on Friday night!


Opening Night is just around the corner...

posted 2:09 p.m.

Hockey is back and I am ready to go! The Panthers' open up the 2006-07 season presented by Seminole Casino Coconut Creek Friday at home against Boston. Tonight, Randy "Red Deer" Moller will join me on 560 WQAM as we host the season preview show starting at 8pm. Joe Nieuwendyk, Guy Charron, Dave Strader, George Richards from the Miami Herald and Carolina radio man Chuck Kaiton will all be on the show. We will also take calls, so feel free to join in. Call in phone number is 305-567-0560.

The first league games are tomorrow night, the highlight being Cup Champ Carolina hosting East runner-up Buffalo. Thursday morning I will be on WQAM with "Kenny and Bo" from 8am-10am. Friday I will host the Hank Goldberg show from the BankAtlantic Center, so stop by and say hi when you walk in opening night. Denis Potvin and others will join me at 6pm to talk about the Cats and the NHL.

Meanwhile, the Panthers continue their week of practice, with an emphasis on special teams, leading up to Friday night. I know Panthers fans are excited so listen in to WQAM...the hockey talk starts tonight!

Until next time...



GameOn! Carnival

posted 12:21 p.m.

No, it wasn't a hockey game at BankAtlantic Center on Friday night but players, coaches and fans were in the building. It was the GameOn! Carnival and what an event!

Booths were set up with carnival games and prizes to be won. There was even a petting zoo...I thought I saw the last of chickens in our rink when Matthew Barnaby took that pounding from Peter Worrell a few years ago! It was great to see all the fans out there and the optimism is high. Players know what this talented team is capable of and now they have to do it on the ice. That all starts Friday night at home against Boston. The goats and ring toss will be out of the arena by then. Have a great rest of the weekend - this is the last weekend without hockey for a LONG time!

Until next time...



Recap vs. Chicago

posted 10:32 p.m.

Are you ready for some hockey? The Panthers certainly appear to be after a second straight dominant pre-season performance at the BankAtlantic Center. The Cats hammered Chicago 6-3, scoring six goals in a row from midway through the first period until late in the second. This after Ed Belfour spotted the Blackhawks a 2-0 lead. The times they are a changin' in Florida with the "team" bailing out the goalitender! Most impressive to me were the contributions of guys like Chris Gratton, Juraj Kolnik and Branislav Mezei. Each had 3 point nights with Kolnik scoring twice and having a super chance at a hat trick on a second period power play. These three are mainly considered role players with Gratton and Kolnik slated for the fourth line and Mezei as the fifth defensemen. Winning teams get production from these types of players, something the Panthers have lacked over the years.

Florida's puck movement in the offensive zone was as good as I have seen from this team in years. With the two home wins to end the pre-season the Panthers are in good shape with next Friday's home opener looming against Boston. Friday night is the GameOn! Carnival starting at 6pm. All of the players will be there...great event for the kids so I hope to see you there.

Goldie's Three Stars vs. Chicago

1- Juraj Kolnik

2- Branislav Mezei

3- Chris Gratton

Until next time...



Game Preview vs. Chicago

posted 10:07 a.m.


Todd Bertuzzi will make his debut on Panthers home ice tonight skating on the right side of Joe Nieuwendyk. Twenty-year-old Rostislav Olesz will be at left wing - a spot that off-season acquisiton Ville Peltonen could fill when his shoulder heals. Olesz is solid on both ends of the ice. Ed Belfour is exected to start in goal.

More later!

Until next time...



Game Recap vs. Atlanta

posted 10:31 p.m.

The Cats got some home cookin' Wednesday night with a pre-season 2-0 shutout over Atlanta. New goalie Alex Auld was brilliant picking up the shutout as the Cats won thir first pre-season game and did not have Todd Bertuzzi, Joe Nieuwendyk and Gary Roberts in the line-up.

Most impressive to me were the penalty killing units and revamped defense. Both Bryan Allen and Ruslan Salei made their home debuts and their impact was immediate and noticable. Salei got the assist on Martin Gelinas' goal to break the scoreless tie in the 2nd period as the defenseman got his point shot on goal creating the rebound chance for Gelinas. But it was his mere presence, poise and physicality that jumped out at me. Same goes for Allen who paired up with Mike Van Ryn. The defense and special teams were subpar a season ago and it was good to see both areas shored up even if it was only a pre-seaon game. It was also great to see Jay Bouwmeester score the second goal. His second half of last season was outstanding and Bouwmeester is poised for a breakout offensive season this year. These days in the NHL scoring from your blueline isn't a luxury, it's a necessity.

Thursday night Ed Belfour will try to match Auld's effort as the Eagle makes his South Florida Panthers debut against one of his former teams, the Chicago BlackHawks. Game time is 7:30 at the BankAtlantic Center.

Goldie's Three Stars vs. Atlanta

1. Alex Auld

2. Ruslan Salei

3. Martin Gelinas

Until next time...


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