With Washington’s loss on Tuesday, the Florida Panthers have a chance to secure the Southeast Division with a victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday. The Panthers haven’t even made the playoffs since the 1999-2000 campaign and they have never won their division in the history of their franchise.
If the Panthers are able to secure their division, then Panthers GM Dale Tallon deserves a lot of the credit. One of the chief architects of the Chicago Blackhawks’ 2010 Stanley Cup winning team, Tallon has managed to transform the Panthers in less than two years. Three of Panthers’ top four scorers were not in Florida when Tallon took the job. Nor was goaltender Jose Theodore, who has done a superb job replacing Tomas Vokoun this season.
Rookie coach Kevin Dineen also deserves recognition for helping the Panthers absorb quite a few new players from other franchises and integrate them all into their core this season. Players like Brian Campbell who, following two rough seasons with Chicago, has excelled in Florida after being given a key role in power-play situations.
The Winnipeg Jets will not make the playoffs, so at this point they’re primarily playing for personal pride. After this matchup, they will face the New York Islanders on Thursday before finishing their season in Winnipeg for Saturday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.
Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:
Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).
The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.
Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…
Coaches are quickly getting the hang of this challenge thing.
Following Mike Babcock’s successful challenge in Toronto’s opening-night loss to Montreal on Wednesday, Babcock’s provincial rival — Sens head coach Dave Cameron — got it right as well, successfully reversing Evander Kane‘s would-be equalizer in the third period.
From the league:
At 10:34 of the third period in the Senators/Sabres game, Ottawa requested a Coach’s Challenge to review whether Buffalo was off-side prior to Evander Kane’s goal.
After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Linesman determined that Buffalo’s Zemgus Girgensons was off-side prior to the goal. According to Rule 78.7, “The standard for overturning the call in the event of a ‘GOAL’ call on the ice is that the Linesman, after reviewing any and all available replays and consulting with the Toronto Video Room, determines that one or more Players on the attacking team preceded the puck into the attacking zone prior to the goal being scored and that, as a result, the play should have been stopped for an “Off-side” infraction; where this standard is met, the goal will be disallowed.”
Therefore the original call is overturned – no goal Buffalo Sabres.
The clock is re-set to show 9:32 (10:28 elapsed time), when the off-side infraction occurred.
As the league later noted, this was the first coach’s challenge under the offside scenario.