The latest addition to the Panthers’ injured reserve: Stanley C. Panther?

It seems like Southeast Division mascots are making almost as many headlines as their surprisingly competitive teams have generated this season.

First, the Atlanta Thrashers attempted to spotlight their successful start to 2010-11 by running a comical “Free Thrash” campaign. Now it seems like the Florida Panthers’ Stanley C. Panther is dealing with some trouble, too, although his costume might be found on the injured reserve rather than a fictional police report.

On Frozen Pond’s George Richards passes along word from the Panthers that their mascot is dealing with “an undisclosed injury while attempting to hurdle a folding chair” on December 17th. Clearly, such a report shows just how secretive the world of sports mascots might be, as the team didn’t even say whether it was an “upper body injury” or a “lower body injury.”

Luckily, area mascots have pledged their support for their fallen (fake) furry comrade, according to Richards.

The team says the mascot is “currently confined to a wheelchair” but will still attend home games as he recovers.

“However, in support of his recovery, local South Florida mascots Billy the Marlin (Marlins), Sebastian the Ibis (Hurricanes), Burnie (Heat) and T.D. (Dolphins) will be at the BankAtlantic Center tonight, when the Cats take on the Bruins, and at various other home games while Stanley is still on the mend.”

Fans can sign a get-well card for the big cat at the games.

No word on whether you can sign a card for players Radek Dvorak, Cory Stillman, Rostislav Olesz and Byron Bitz as they recover from their injuries as well.

It never hurts to have a sense of humor, and when you’re in a non-traditional market like Sunrise, Florida, it might be flat-out wise to do so. Now, if the Panthers could follow in the Thrashers’ foot steps and start making a difference on the ice, they’ll really be onto something.

Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

Niklas Kronwall
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When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

(His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

First, the Kronwalling:

Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

Jack Eichel
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The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan


Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?