Monday, March 2, 2015

Marlins Television Adds Jessica Blaylock

     The Miami Marlins have named Jessica Blaylock as their new sideline reporter for game broadcasts on Fox Sports Florida for the 2015 regular season. She replaces Allison Williams who had a five-year tenure with Marlins telecasts in that position and as a backup studio host.
     Blaylock has worked as a sideline reporter for Sun Sports and Fox Sports Florida on game broadcasts from Central Florida and North Florida. She was a sideline reporter for the FHSAA high school football state championship games at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando until December 2012. Blaylock has spent the last several years in radio as a sports anchor and reporter at WJXL-AM in Jacksonville.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Jagr Ties Esposito As Panthers Win

     Personal milestones were set by three Florida players as the Panthers held on to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 on Sunday night at BB&T Center. The most noteworthy was that Jaromir Jagr scored his 717th career goal to tie Phil Esposito for fifth all-time in NHL history. The Panthers, who snapped a five-game losing streak to the cross-state rival Lightning, improved their Atlantic Division record to 11-3-4 this season.
     Jagr scored his first goal as a member of the Panthers at 10:24 of the first period to give Florida(28-22-13) a 1-0 lead. Jonathan Huberdeau brought the puck through the left circle on a 2-on-1 break. His cross-ice pass was stopped by a defender and Jagr followed with a wrist shot that beat Ben Bishop to the glove side.
     Tampa Bay(38-20-6) came back quickly and tied the contest at 12:08. Jonathan Drouin held the puck on the low left side, dropped it off to Anton Stralman and he snapped home a shot from the left wing.
     The Panthers put together two goals during the second period to take charge. Jagr took a shot from the slot area which was saved then Aleksander Barkov dove and flicked in a backhand shot from the blue paint at 5:31.
     Brad Boyes finally picked up his 200th career NHL goal after a 17-game goal drought with 3:00 to go in the second. He last scored a goal back on January 27 against Detroit. The puck went around the end wall to him in the right corner, he shot it on goal where it bounced it off Bishop's right knee and into the net.
    In the third period, the Cats made it a three-goal cushion on the power play at 4:18 as Aaron Ekblad scored his tenth goal this season on a one-time slapshot from above the left circle. He tied Ed Jovanovski for the club record for most goals in a rookie season by a defenseman. Jovo set the mark in 1995-96 when Florida won the Eastern Conference championship.
     The Lightning closed the gap with two goals in the remainder of the frame. Steven Stamkos compiled his 35th goal of the season at 8:31 on a snapshot from the low slot which got by Al Montoya. The Bolts pulled to within 4-3 with 2:44 left as Tyler Johnson redirected a pass in front from Nikita Kuckerov on the left side.   

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Jagr Debuts And Panthers Beat Sabres

     Jaromir Jagr made his debut for the Florida Panthers on Saturday as they defeated the Buffalo Sabres 5-3 at BB&T Center. It ended a four-game losing streak for the Cats who played their second game of a seven-game homestand. The Panthers traded Tomas Fleischmann to the Anaheim Ducks for Dany Heatley and a 2015 third-round pick prior to the game.
     For the second straight game, Florida(27-22-13) surrendered a goal within the first five minutes of the contest. Zach Bogosian set up the play with a short pass through the slot area and Cody Hodgson slapped a shot by the right arm of Roberto Luongo for a Buffalo(19-39-5) 1-0 lead.
     The Sabres extended their margin to 2-0 at 7:18. Johan Larsson made a clearing pass out to center for Andrej Mezaros. He skated into the Panthers zone and snapped a shot from the top left circle through the legs of Luongo.
     In the second period, the Panthers scored on the power play for the first time in six games with two seconds left in a five-on-three situation. It ended a string of 14 consecutive scoreless man-advantage attempts. Brad Boyes won the face-off in the left circle and Jussi Jokinen passed it up to Brian Campbell on the left point. He sent a cross-ice pass to Brandon Pirri above the right circle and he blasted a shot by the left shoulder of Michal Neuvirth at 12:01.
     They did not stop at all as they connected again with another power-play tally at 13:24. Campbell was at the top of the zone and passed the puck to Pirri in the top right circle. He scored his second goal of the game as his slapshot went through traffic in the low slot.
     The Panthers took their first lead of the game with 1:29 remaining in the second. Brad Boyes lifted the puck from the high slot to Jokinen in the low right circle. He moved a backhand pass to Nick Bjugstad in the low slot and he put in his 22nd goal of the season between the pads of Neuvirth.
     The Sabres evened it at 3-3 with 7:06 to go in the third period. Matt Moulson had the puck from behind the Panthers cage and centered to Torrey Mitchell for a one-time shot from the slot area.
     The Cats regained the lead just over one minute later at 14:52. Derek MacKenzie was in the right corner and found Scottie Upshall at the edge of the right circle and he finished it with a wrist shot for his seventh tally this year. MacKenzie put a finishing touch on the contest with an empty-net goal with 16.2 seconds left.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Hawks Shut Out Panthers

     The Florida Panthers returned from a five-game road trip and lost to the Chicago Blackhawks 3-0 on Thursday night at BB&T Center. It was the second back-to-back games between both clubs as they both played against each other two nights ago. It was the first of seven consecutive home games for the Panthers.
     It did not take long for Chicago(37-20-5) to score as they got ahead 1-0 just 3:08 into the first period. Teuvo Teravainen bumped Dmitry Kulikov off the puck in the right corner and passed back to David Shaw. He returned it to Teravainen in the low right circle and he snapped a shot by the left glove of Roberto Luongo.
     In the second period, the Blackhawks extended their lead to 2-0 at the 3:07 mark. Duncan Keith passed the puck from the neutral zone to Marion Hossa at the Panthers blue line and passed it back to him in left circle. Keith moved the puck across to Brandon Saad at the edge of the right circle and he softly shot the puck for a score.
     Florida(26-22-13) gave up an empty-net goal with 46.8 left in the third period as Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews scored his 19th goal of the season. Matian Hossa was at center ice when he angled the puck to his left to Toews who put the puck into the Panthers cage from inside the blue line.

Panthers Acquire Jaromir Jagr

     The Florida Panthers acquired Jaromir Jagr from the New Jersey Devils on Thursday. The Panthers sent a second-round pick in 2015 and a third-round pick in 2016 back to New Jersey. Jagr, who was in the middle of his second season with the Devils, comes to Cats after getting 11 goals and 18 assists in 57 games with New Jersey in 2014-15.
     He began his NHL career with the Pittsburgh Penguins and captured two Stanley Cup champions with the team in his first two seasons in 1990-91 and 1991=92. He would go on to win five Art Ross Trophies as the leading scorer in 1994-95, 1997-98, 1998-99 1999-2000 and 2001-02. He also won the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL Most Valuable Player in 1998-99.
     Jagr has played for several other teams during his NHL career. He has been with the Washington Capitals, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Dallas Stars and Boston Bruins. He helped the Bruins win an Eastern Conference title in 2012-13.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Panthers Fall To Blackhawks

     The Florida Panthers completed a five-game road trip with a 3-2 defeat to the Chicago Blackhawks in a shootout at United Center on Tuesday night. The Cats come home after finishing 2-2-1 in their last five games. The Blackhawks ended their eight-game homestand with a 3-2-3 record and will face the Panthers in a rematch on Thursday night in Sunrise.
     After Patrick Kane was cross checked by Alex Petrovic, Chicago(36-20-5) scored on their first power play of the game at 9:25 of the first period. Marian Hossa had the puck on the right wing and moved it to Jonathan Toews below the right circle. His centering pass to the crease area rebounded back to him and he scored on a wrist shot past Roberto Luongo.
     Former Panther Kris Versteeg snapped in a shot from the left circle to give the Blackhawks a 2-0 lead with 5:32 left in the second period. Brad Richards fed the puck from the right point to Patrick Sharp in the high slot for the initial shot which was deflected to Versteeg. 
     In the third period, Florida(26-21-13) cut the deficit to 2-1 with 7:37 remaining. A turnaround cross-ice pass by Brad Boyes was snapped in for a score by Jussi Jokinen from the low right circle
     The Panthers tied the game with 3:29 to go on a fortunate bounce. Vincent Trocheck was on the end wall and got his fifth goal of the season as he banked the puck off the right skate of Duncan Keith and by Scott Darling. Tomas Fleischmann and Chris Kampfer were credited with assists on the play.
     The game went to a shootout and Chicago scored on both of their attempts. Toews get a backhand tally and Sharp followed with a wrist shot to the glove side. The Panthers first attempt by Trocheck on a forehand stuff was saved and the second attempt by Nick Bjugstad went wide right of the cage.

Emily Austen Joins Rays Broadcasts

     Emily Austen has been named the new in-game reporter for Tampa Bay Rays telecasts on Sun Sports. She will replace Kelly Nash who held the position for one season. Todd Kalas remains as the pregame and postgame host for all team broadcasts.
     Austen, a Florida Atlantic University grad, leaves her position as web host and reporter for Boston which she began in September 2013. She started her broadcasting career at the Golf Channel in Orlando as a production assistant and features producer. Austen moved on to KAMR-TV in Amarillo, Texas as a sportscaster from February 2012 until September 2013.