Tag: Derek MacKenzie

MacKenzie goal

Video: MacKenzie dives forward to score incredible goal

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The Florida Panthers displayed a lot of determination in their first goal against the Winnipeg Jets tonight.

Panthers forward Dave Bolland had to blindly shovel the puck forward just before he was slammed into the boards by Adam Pardy, leaving Derek MacKenzie to race for the puck as it cruised towards Jets goaltender Michael Hutchinson. In order to create a scoring chance, MacKenzie dove forward and managed to knock the puck past Hutchinson.

You can see that impressive sequence below:

This is a critical game for both teams as Florida battles to make up a six-point gap in the Eastern Conference to earn a Wild Card spot. Winnipeg is in possession of the second Wild Card spot in the Western Conference, but the Jets only have a one-point edge over the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings.

Panthers blow late lead, lose in SO to Predators

Filip Forsberg

The Florida Panthers’ playoff chances were dealt another blow this afternoon as they coughed up a third period lead en route to a 3-2 shootout loss against Nashville.

Florida had a 2-0 edge through 40 minutes and outshot the Predators 15-4 in the third frame. What ultimately sank the Panthers was a hooking penalty from Derek MacKenzie and a slashing call against Tomas Kopecky. Nashville isn’t known for its strong power play, but Seth Jones and Filip Forsberg capitalized on those opportunities.

That was Forsberg’s 18th goal of the season. The Calder Trophy frontrunner now leads all rookies with 48 points in 53 games. He came up big again in the shootout by scoring the deciding goal in the fourth round.

With that, Nashville has now won four of its last five games to improve to 35-12-6 this season. If Anaheim loses against Tampa Bay today, then the Predators will have the best record in the NHL.

By contrast the Panthers have been struggling lately with just three wins over their last 11 games. They’re six points shy of a playoff spot and will be further behind than that if Boston beats Montreal tonight (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

Count the Panthers in the ‘rolling all four lines’ category

Florida Panthers v Boston Bruins

Here’s an interesting stat — after 13 games, the Florida Panthers don’t have a single forward who’s averaging less than 10 minutes of ice time.

That compares to last season, when enforcer/media critic Krys Barch averaged just 5:58 in 55 games, and the season before that, when tough guy George Parros was playing a similar pugilistic role.

Tuesday against San Jose, the Panthers got two goals from its fourth line of Tomas Fleischmann, Derek MacKenzie, and Shawn Thornton in a 4-1 win over the Sharks. No Florida forward played less than 12:28 that night.

“We’ve got four lines that can play,” new coach Gerard Gallant said Wednesday, per Fox Sports Florida. “Our so-called fourth line went out and scored two goals last night. People call it our fourth line but it isn’t a fourth line and I’ll say that all year.”

Thornton, after the Bruins decided not to re-sign the popular winger, has skated 10:28 per game for the Panthers, the least of any Florida forward.

Not that rolling four lines is some sort of wild and crazy strategy. More and more teams are doing it. Or, at the very least, would like to do it. Hence, the dwindling number of line-ups that feature a designated fighter.

According to hockeyfights.com, the Panthers have only had three fights this season — one by Thornton, another by MacKenzie, and one more by Erik Gudbranson.

‘I don’t feel secure’: Kopecky nervous about spot on Florida roster

SUNRISE, FL - NOVEMBER 5: Tomas Kopecky #82 of the Florida Panthers skates with the puck during a NHL game against the Edmonton Oilers at the BB&T Center on November 5, 2013 in Sunrise, Florida.

With over 500 games of experience, one Stanley Cup and a four-year deal worth $12 million, Tomas Kopecky is a pretty well-established NHLer.

Which makes it weird to think that he’s worried about job security. From the Florida Sun-Sentinel:

Fast forward to Wednesday’s practice with Kopecky skating on the fourth line with Derek MacKenzie and Shawn Thornton. Suddenly the 32-year-old left wing isn’t taking anything for granted, including health and job security.

“No, I don’t feel secure. I have to earn it, not only for a job but you’re fighting for ice time,” Kopecky said after practice at the Ice Den. “You have a new coaching staff and you try to earn their trust. It’s simple things, pay attention to details. I don’t think anybody should be secure with a spot here.

“I know [GM Dale Tallon] isn’t afraid to mix up things and he’s showed it. I don’t take for granted I’m going to be on this team.”

Kopecky, 32, scored 25 goals over his first two years in Florida and enjoyed a banner lockout-shortened ’13 campaign, averaging a career-high .52 points per game. But a serious concussion suffered while playing for Slovakia at the Olympics derailed him last season and, with Florida brass showing they’re comfortable burying veteran money in the minors (Dan Ellis and his $1 million salary was recently shipped off to AHL San Antonio), Kopecky is nervous about his future.

As mentioned above, Kopecky’s in the last of his four-year deal, with an average annual cap hit of $3 million. While it’s unlikely the Panthers would want to eat that kind of money, the club does have a plethora of young talent looking to break through up front. The team currently has 31 players on its training camp roster, which includes 18 forwards.

Washington Capitals were free agency’s biggest spenders

Washington Capitals Introduce General Manager Brian MacLellan And Coach Barry Trotz

Now that free agency has, for the most part, settled down it’s time to step back and see who did the most damage.

No, we don’t mean who improved themselves the most — we’re talking about raw dollars spent. This year’s winner? The Washington Capitals.

Sure there are more players left to be signed, but the big crush is over. Considering no one has been officially signed since July 4, we’ll say it’s pretty much done for now.

As Alex Prewitt of The Washington Post shared and CapGeek.com tabulated, the Capitals spent the most money on new contracts this summer spending $69.65 million on 14 years worth of deals to Brooks Orpik, Matt Niskanen, and Justin Peters.

The Tampa Bay Lightning were next on the list with $64.85 million spent over 15 years worth of contracts. Adding Anton Stralman, Brian Boyle, and Evgeni Nabokov didn’t really make the numbers pop but re-signing Ryan Callahan to a six-year, $34.8 million deal sure did.

Rounding out the top three are the Florida Panthers were the next biggest spenders with $60.4 million spent on 18 years worth of deals to Willie Mitchell, Jussi Jokinen, Dave Bolland, Derek MacKenzie, Shawn Thornton, and Al Montoya. While the Panthers broke the bank on Bolland, their total shows every little bit adds up.

The spending of the former Southeast Division foes helped keep the New York Islanders ($57.95 million) and Buffalo Sabres ($46.375 million) out of the top three of the list, but did go to show that making sure to get above the salary floor takes a bit of work.

The Isles added $15.587 million to their cap total for next season while the Sabres added $14.875 million. Those two are distant runners-up to the New Jersey Devils ($18.262 million) and Florida ($17.3 million) to boosting their cap number.

It’s like what Sabres GM Tim Murray has been saying whenever he was asked about whether his team will hit the cap floor or not: “Spending money is easy.” As for the cap floor, only the Calgary Flames have yet to reach the $51 million mark according to Cap Geek and they’re under that by just $563,333.