Panthers’ Weiss is in the doghouse


While plenty of core pieces* fled for greener pastures, Florida Panthers fixture Stephen Weiss has been there through thick and (mostly) thin. He’s seen a lot of dark times for the team since becoming a regular, but Sunday presented a rare dilemma: he was a big part of the problem.

Head coach Kevin Dineen benched him for all but two short shifts in the third period of the Boston Bruins’ 4-1 win today. After the game, Dineen told the Miami Herald that Weiss’ recent play made it an easy decision.

“For the last year-and-a-half I’ve looked down — if we are a man short or on the power play — for that number,” Dineen said. “That made it much easier to have him sitting there not part of the equation with the quality of hockey he’s playing right now.”

That’s tough talk about the Panthers’ franchise leader in games played (650).

Weiss has long been labeled a diamond in the rough, largely because of his two-way play. Still, it’s tough to ignore his mediocre 2013 numbers: just four points and 19 shots on goal with a -11 rating in 14 games.

Meanwhile, Florida’s floundering continues; the Panthers have lost five straight at home and seven of eight games overall.

As the franchise brims full of promising prospects and Weiss’ production dwindles, trade rumors continue to swirl. If this keeps up, it might just be best for both sides.

* – Including Sunday opponent Nathan Horton, who won a Stanley Cup with Boston in his first post-Panthers season.

After lopsided loss, Julien says it’s ‘not about the young D’

Claude Julien

The Boston Bruins’ young, makeshift defense failed to come through Thursday night as the B’s were thumped, 6-2, on home ice by the Winnipeg Jets.

Without injured veterans Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, the defensive pairings were as follows:

Torey KrugAdam McQuaid
Joe MorrowKevan Miller
Matt IrwinZach Trotman

And let’s just say, turnovers were a factor:

That was Irwin getting checked off the puck there.

“I had the puck behind the net, and I went to one side of the net, and then I just didn’t use the net to my advantage,” he explained afterwards, per CSN New England. “He got his stick in there, obviously stripped me of the puck, and we all know what happened after that. I take full blame for that one.”

But head coach Claude Julien wasn’t willing to blame inexperience for the poor outing.

“It’s not about youth. It’s not about the young D,” said Julien. “It’s about our game without the puck. I think we might have gotten a little excited here about our offense and forgot about the other part of our game.”

And to be fair, even Boston’s more accomplished d-men had their challenging moments.

Here’s Krug failing to get position on Nicolas Petan in front of the Bruins’ net:

All in all, it was a tough night.

“We’ll correct those [mistakes] tomorrow in practice,” said Irwin. “We’re a confident group in here. We liked our offense. We liked the chances we were getting. All those mistakes, D-zone, are something that we’re going to work on and get better every day.”

The Bruins host their rivals from Montreal on Saturday.

Greene named 11th captain in Devils history

Dion Phaneuf; Andy Greene
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Andy Greene has been named Bryce Salvador’s successor as New Jersey’s team captain.

Greene, an undrafted free agent that’s spent his entire nine-year career with the Devils organization, becomes the 11th captain in the franchise’s history and third American to wear the “C” (Zach Parise and Jamie Langenbrunner were the others).

A former standout at Miami of Ohio, Greene — who served as an alternate captain in each of the last two seasons — has developed into a steady, durable blueliner that hasn’t missed a game in three years. He’s also locked into the Devils long term, having signed a five-year, $25 million extension with the club last summer.

That deal kicks in this season, and runs through 2020.

As for the rest of the leadership group, four players will serve as alternate captains this season: Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac, Mike Cammalleri, and Adam Henrique.

Elias and Zajac both wore an “A” in New Jersey last year, while Cammalleri and Henrique are first-timers.