Florida Panthers

PHT Morning Skate: A five-year rebuild for the Leafs?


PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Remembering Earl “Johnson” Johansson. (Greatest Hockey Legends)

Want to see the oddest way someone’s nostalgic about Nassau Coliseum? (Puck Daddy)

A Rangers – Islanders series could be quite the delight. (New York Newsday)

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $50,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Tuesday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $5,000. Starts Tuesday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Aaron Ekblad has been a quick study. (Canadian Press)

Should Toronto Maple Leafs fans brace of a (gulp) five-year rebuild? (The Hockey News)

Kulikov suspended four games for clipping Seguin


Florida Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov has been suspended four games for an “excessively low” hit on Stars forward Tyler Seguin during Friday’s game in Dallas.

In reviewing the video, the NHL deemed that Kulikov “bends severely at the waist and throws his body across Seguin’s knees, flipping Seguin dangerously to the ice and causing a significant knee injury. This is clipping.”

It’s worth noting that the NHL did not label Kulikov’s hit “predatory,” as it did when Boston’s Brad Marchand was suspended five games for clipping Vancouver’s Sami Salo.

Rather, it was decided that Kulikov simply mistimed the hit.

Here’s the Marchand suspension video from 2012:

Video: Lehtera, Blues edge Panthers in shootout

Jori Lehtera had the shootout winner as the St. Louis Blues edged the Florida Panthers 2-1 Sunday night.

With the win the Blues have won three straight and 15 of their last 18. St. Louis is now four points back of the Nashville Predators for top spot in the Western Conference.

Jaden Schwartz’s 20th of the season was the lone Blues’ regulation goal while Brian Elliott made 40 saves in the win.

With Roberto Luongo pulled, Nick Bjugstad tied the game 1-1 at 18:47 of the third period to force overtime. With his assist on the goal, defenseman Aaron Ekblad made a little history.

The Panthers have now gone three straight without a win. However, the single point moves Florida to within three points of the Boston Bruins for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Luongo made 32 saves in the loss.

Stars’ Ruff on Kulikov hit: ‘I want to see the league deal with it’


Florida Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov has a phone hearing with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety on Monday morning and Dallas Stars’ head coach Lindy Ruff hopes the league will send a message.

Kulikov was assessed a major penalty for clipping and a game misconduct for his hit on Stars’ forward Tyler Seguin on Friday night.

Kulikov, who has not been suspended previously, was offered an in-person hearing on Saturday, but declined. Since he was offered an in-person meeting, he is eligible to be suspended for more than five games.

“It’s a play that I don’t like,” said Ruff per The Dallas Morning News. “It’s a dirty, low play that the league doesn’t like, and I want to see the league deal with it. They took out one of the best players in the league, and it’s something that has to be dealt with and I’ll let them deal with it.”

Seguin, who had a team-leading 29 goals and 59 points in 55 games, is expected to miss 3-6 weeks with a knee injury.

Video: Luongo robs Backes with a glove save

Roberto Luongo made 14 first period saves to keep things scoreless after 20 minutes between the Blues and Panthers in Florida tonight.

His biggest save came 5:45 into the first period when he robbed David Backes of a sure goal. The Blues captain had a wide open net, but Luongo managed to get enough of the puck with his glove to keep it out.

Have a look: