Thursday, February 27, 2014

Capitals Hold Off Panthers

     The Florida Panthers returned from the three-week Olympic break with a 5-4 loss to the Washington Capitals on Thursday night at BB&T Center. The Cats have lost six of their last seven games and remain 15 points behind for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
     In the first period, Washington(28-23-9) came out on fire as they scored twice in the first nine minutes of the contest. On the Capitals first power-play attempt, Nicklas Backstrom passed the puck from the right circle to John Carlson at the blue line. His slapshot was stopped by Tim Thomas, however Troy Brouwer put in a backhand shot from the low slot for his 15th goal this year.
     The Caps would add to their lead at 8:10 when Alex Ovechkin sent a pass from the left-wing boards to Brooks Laich who scored on a one-time slapshot from the high slot.
     The two-goal margin was cut by Florida(22-30-7) with 4:33 left in the first. Jesse Winchester went down the right side into the right corner and placed a pass to the slot area where Tomas Fleischmann snapped in a one-timer by Braden Holtby for his sixth goal this season.
     The Cats pulled even with the Capitals just 40 seconds into the second period. Sean Bergenheim put a shot on net that was saved. Brad Boyes swooped in from the right side of the crease and scored on a backhand shot for his 16th goal of the campaign.
     The deadlock would not last long as Washington regained the lead 3-2 at 3:44. Martin Erat threw a centering pass from the left side that was saved. but Backstrom found a wide open net on the rebound with a wrist shot from the top of the crease.
     The Capitals scored on their second power play with 47 seconds remaining in the second. Backstrom put a cross-ice pass from the right corner to Ovechkin, his one-timer was stopped and Brouwer poked in the loose puck inside the blue paint for his second goal of the game.
     Florida mounted a comeback midway through the third period with two goals in 74 seconds to tie it up 4-4. They would score on their third power-play opportunity at 8:09 of the third period to pull within one goal. Brian Campbell fed a pass from the top of the zone to Drew Shore on the left wing and his slapshot went in with a screen in front by Jimmy Hayes.
     Boyes converted on his second goal of the game at 9:23 of the stanza. Nick Bjugstad passed the puck from the low right circle to Boyes in the low slot. His first shot was saved and he pounced on the rebound inside the crease to tie the game.
     Washington would once again take the lead with 4:27 to go in the third on the 41st goal of the season by Ovechkin. Brooks Laich controlled a loose puck on the right-wall boards and skated in through the right circle. He placed a cross-ice pass to Ovechkin and he blasted a one-time slapshot from the left circle face-off dot.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Clay-Liston Fight 50th Anniversary

     Tuesday was the 50th anniversary of the heavyweight championship fight between Cassius Clay and Sonny Liston at the Miami Beach Convention Center. This boxing match became one of the most recognized sporting events ever held in South Florida.
     Clay, who in March 1964 would go by his new name Muhammad Ali, captured the world heavyweight title for the first time when the fight was stopped prior to the seventh round as Liston did not answer the bell to fight. Ali would became champion again on two other occasions.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Heat Handle Bulls

     Even with the absence of LeBron James due a broken nose, the Miami Heat beat the Chicago Bulls 93-79 at American Airlines Arena on Sunday. The Heat, who have won five straight games and eight of their last nine, played their first home game since February 3.
     Two players for Miami(40-14) were able to pick up a double-double in the game. Chris Bosh had 28 points and 10 rebounds while Dwyane Wade added 23 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. Greg Oden made his first NBA start since December 2009 as he compiled five points and five assists in 13 minutes. Mario Chalmers fell short of a double-double with 12 points and nine assists.
     Chicago(29-26) also had two players who get a double-double. Joakim Noah knocked down 20 points and 15 rebounds while Taj Gibson put in 20 points and 10 rebounds. Carlos Boozer was held to eight points and seven rebounds.
     Neither squad had a lead of more than four points in the opening quarter as the Bulls were up 24-20 after one. Miami was able to tie the game at 40-40 by halftime. The Heat pulled off a 16-2 run at the end of the third quarter to go ahead 65-52. They continued to have a double-digit lead throughout the fourth quarter.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Heat Storm By Thunder

     LeBron James drained down 16 first-quarter points and 33 points overall as the Miami Heat defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 103-81 at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Thursday night. The Heat, who won their fourth straight game, finished their six-game Western Conference road trip with a 5-1 record.
     James scored Miami's first ten points of the game on five consecutive shots and helped the Heat get out to a 28-12 lead eight minutes in. They would stay up 34-17 after one quarter on 76 percent shooting. It was the highest shooting percentage in a quarter by Miami(39-14) this season. Oklahoma City(43-13) was able to cut the deficit with a 10-1 edge during the second quarter and made it 54-47 by halftime.
     The Heat rolled the score up to 22 points at 75-53 seven minutes into the second half. The Thunder were down 76-65 after three quarters. James had a bloody nose when he left the contest with 5:56 left in the fourth and a Heat 90-74 advantage.
     Dwyane Wade put up a double-double for the Heat as he had 24 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds. Chris Bosh compiled 24 points and eight rebounds.
     Oklahoma City was led by Kevin Durant who had 28 points and eight rebounds in 39 minutes. Serge Ibaka added 14 points and eight rebounds while Russell Westbrook contributed 16 points.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Heat Take Mavericks

     LeBron James scored a season-high 42 points and led the Miami Heat to a 117-106 victory over the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center on Tuesday night. It was the first game for both teams since the All-Star Game break.
     Miami(38-14) is now 4-1 on this Western Conference road trip and have won six of their last seven games. The Heat captured their sixth consecutive win over Dallas(32-23) since they met in the 2011 NBA Finals.
     The game was close in the first two quarters as neither team led by more than six points in the first 21 minutes of the first half. Miami had a 60-54 advantage at halftime.
     The Mavericks went on a 20-8 spurt to begin the second half and were up 74-68 with 6:08 remaining in the third. The Heat bounced back, went on an 18-4 run midway in the fourth quarter and gained their largest lead in the game at 106-95 with 3:10 left.
     It was the 50th 40-point game for James in his NBA career as he also added nine rebounds and six assists. Chris Bosh compiled 22 points while Chris Anderson dropped in 18 points. Dwyane Wade contributed 13 points with seven assists and Mario Chalmers fell short of a double-double with 10 points and nine assists.
     Dirk Nowitzki drove through with 22 points, nine rebounds and seven assists for the Mavs while Vince Carter came off the bench and nailed down 15 points and seven rebounds.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Miami Ratings January 2014

     The Miami/Fort Lauderdale region remained the same for the fifth consecutive month as 104.3 The Ticket WAXY-FM finished on top among all the local sports format radio stations. Sports Radio 560 WQAM-AM narrowed the margin while 940 The Sports Animal WINZ-AM fell further behind.
     104.3 The Ticket trended upward from a 1.2 to a 1.5 in January. Jonathan Zaslow maintained his ratings in the morning after the departure of Marc Hochman, Dan Le Batard continued to roll in afternoon drive on the social buzz being on ESPN Radio and Brian London, a.k.a. The Beast, has garnered an audience being the only local late night sports host in South Florida. The Miami Heat was also an additional ratings boom.
     Sports Radio 560 plugged in a bunch of new shows during the daytime in January and went up from a 0.7 to a 1.0 to begin 2014. They put together Alex Donno and Brandon Guzio for middays, reunited Adam Kuperstein with Channing Crowder in early afternoons and added The Sports Brothers on a temporary basis in afternoon drive until Hochman begins there in early April. Morning host Joe Rose still remains their stronghold in the schedule. 
     940 The Sports Animal saw a slight dip in their ratings during January as they went from a 0.4 to a 0.3 for several reasons. Their main property the Miami Dolphins had ended their season, the audience needed to get use to the new mid-afternoon program with Andy Slater and the announcement that Jesse Agler was going to depart the station at the end of the month to join the San Diego Padres.

Dan Marino Out At CBS

     Former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino has been let go by CBS from his NFL studio analyst role. He has held that position since the 2002 regular season. He once was a studio analyst for Inside The NFL on HBO from 2002 to 2007.
     Marino played for the Miami Dolphins from 1983 until 1999. When he left the National Football League, he was the all-time leader in completions, passing yards and touchdown passes. Marino led the Dolphins to the 1984 AFC championship before they fell to the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl 19. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Jillian Barberie Goes To Radio

     Former South Floirda weathercaster Jillian Barberie will move into the radio field for the first time as a midday talk co-host on 790 KABC-AM in Los Angeles as of February 17. She worked as a weathercaster for WSVN-TV Channel 7 in Miami during the early 1990's. Her former husband is Bret Barberie who once played second base for the Florida Marlins in 1993 and 1994 .
     Barberie was the first of several WSVN weathercasters that eventually moved to Los Angeles for television work. She became known nationally for a weather segment on the Fox Sports NFL Sunday football pregame show from 2000 until Super Bowl 42 in February 2008.   

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Jim Rome At WMEN

     The Jim Rome Show was picked up by 640 Sports WMEN-AM on Monday and piped in from CBS Sports Radio. He replaced Jon Linder who aired an early afternoon show at that station for the past three weeks since January 20.
     It was a cost-cutting decision by management due to the recent situation of chapter 11 bankruptcy made by James Crystal Radio. Linder, who started as a fill-in host at 640 Sports in December 2013, was a sports reporter and occasional talk host on Sports Radio 560 WQAM-AM from 2007 until early 2013. 640 Sports program director and midday host Marc Eisenberg had his program scaled back to two hours from 10 a.m. to noon.
     The last time Rome was heard on the South Florida airwaves was in late December 2012 at 940 The Sports Animal WINZ-AM when he finished his tenure at Premiere Radio Networks. He has been part of the CBS Corporation hosting a sports show at CBS Sports Radio since January 2013 and a television host on Showtime.

Lynn Kerney To ESPN

     Lynn Kerney will join ESPN as a sports anchor and studio host in late February. She has been the morning sports anchor at WCBS-TV Channel 2 in New York City since January 2012. Prior to that, she was a sports reporter for MLB Network from October 2010 until December 2011.
     Kerney, a Lynn University grad, was a point guard and later captained the women's basketball team. Her first professional job was at KXLF-TV in Butte, Montana as a sportscaster from 2004 to 2005. She moved to Seattle to become a weekend sports anchor at KING-TV from 2005 until 2010.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Panthers Fold To Hurricanes

     It was the final game for the Florida Panthers before the three-week Winter Olympic break and they were defeated by the Carolina Hurricanes 5-1 at PNC Center on Friday night. The Cats, who have lost five of their six games and six of eight, will be at least behind 13 points behind for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot when they resume play in late February.
     The first period was controlled by Carolina(26-21-9) as they got out to a 3-1 lead. The Hurricanes picked two goals in under two minutes with tallies by Riley Nash at 9:17 and Alexander Semin at 10:44.
     Nick Bjugstad cut into the margin to score the only goal for Florida(22-29-7) in this game at 15:30. It was his 13th goal of the season with assists from Dylan Olsen and Scottie Upshall. Brett Bellemore made it 3-1 for the Canes with 1:39 left in the first.
     Carolina got an early goal in the second period by Jiri Tlusty at 4:36 which led to Tim Thomas being pulled from net by Florida and replaced by Scott Clemmensen. Andrej Sekera extended the lead to 5-1 with a tally on the power play at 12:48 of the third period.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Zach Krantz named WQAM afternoon sidekick

     Zack Krantz will be moved to the afternoon shift as a sidekick to Marc Hochman in early April on Sports Radio 560 WQAM-AM. He is currently in his second stint with that station as a morning producer on the Joe Rose Show.
     Krantz began his local broadcasting career as a producer with WQAM. He moved to 790 The Ticket WAXY-AM in August 2004 when they flipped to a sports format and became the morning producer for the Joe Rose Show. When WQAM picked up the radio rights to the Miami Dolphins in 2007, Krantz returned with Rose back to the station.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Red Wings Edge Panthers

     The Florida Panthers played their final home game before the three-week Winter Olympic break on Thursday night at BB&T Center as they fell to the Detroit Red Wings 3-1. The Cats have lost four of their last five games and five of seven. The Panthers took the season series over the Red Wings in their first campaign together as division opponents.
     The first period was dominated by Detroit(26-19-12) as they outshot the Cats 11-1 in the first 19 minutes of the game. That did not matter with 25.4 seconds left in the first as Florida(22-28-1) took their only lead.
     Scottie Upshall came out of the penalty box behind the Red Wings defense at center ice and received a lead pass from Tomas Kopecky in the Panthers zone. Upshall skated in alone and put the puck by Jimmy Howard for a Florida 1-0 lead. It was Upshall's tenth goal this season and Kopecky's 100th NHL assist.
     The Red Wings converted during their third opportunity on the power play at 6:30 of the second period. Niklas Cronwall took a slapshot from the top of the zone which was saved by Tim Thomas. Justin Abdelkader swept the rebound to the left side of the crease and Daniel Alfredsson scored on a wrist shot for his 13th goal in a Red Wings uniform. Alfredsson tied Nicklas Lidstrom for second-highest scoring Swedish player in NHL history with that point.
     Gustav Nyquist gave Detroit the lead with 6:38 left in the second on an unassisted goal. He skated with the puck through the neutral zone on the left side and snapped a shot from the top left circle over the right shoulder of Thomas for his 14th tally this season. Detroit had a 23-8 shot advantage over Florida after two periods.
     In the third period, the Red Wings wrapped up the contest as Brian Lashoff scored into an empty net with 19.1 seconds remaining to make it 3-1. He had just finished serving a two-minute penalty, got the puck after it hit the back boards behind the Panthers cage and shot into the open net.
     Detroit went 1-for-7 with the man advantage while Florida went scoreless on the power play on three occasions. Thomas kept the Cats in the game as he made 30 saves and dropped to 15-17-3. Howard stopped 23 of 24 shots and raised his record to 12-12-9 this season.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Palm Beach County National Signing Day

     It was national signing day on Wednesday for all high school senior players throughout South Florida. Colleges and universities wait for the decision from student athletes where they will attend and play for the next four years.
     Dwyer was the only school in Palm Beach County to win a state title last year as they captured the FHSAA 2013 Class 7A championship. There will be a load of players who were with the Panthers that will play on the next level. Wide receiver Johnnie Dixon leads the way as he has already enrolled at Ohio State while defensive back Shawn Boone will attend North Carolina State. Others players will move into the MAC which includes wide receiver Clint Stephens(Bowling Green), wide receiver Ezra Saffold(Northern Illinois) and running back Alonso Smith(Miami-Ohio).
     The University of Miami Hurricanes were able to pick up several players from the Palm Beach County area. They consist of Palm Beach Central offensive lineman K.C. McDermott, Park Vista defensive back Marques Gayot and Santaluces wide receiver Darryl Langham.
     Several local wide receivers will be heading to the Atlantic Coast Conference. Travis Rudolph of Cardinal Newman will join the 2013 NCAA national champions Florida State University, Stephen Louis of Palm Beach Lakes moves to North Carolina State and Adly Enoicy of Atlantic shifts to Syracuse.

Broward County National Signing Day

     Wednesday was national signing day for all high school football seniors throughout South Florida. It is the occasion where colleges and universities find where football players will be attending school for the next four years.
     American Heritage in Plantation won the 2013 FHSAA Class 5A championship and was the only Broward County school to capture a state title last year. Running back Sony Michel kept his long commitment to attend the University of Georgia. The big shocker of the day was that his teammate wide receiver/defensive back/return specialist Isaiah McKenzie would also decide to play college football with the Bulldogs. Linebacker Carter Jacobs will go to Cincinnati while defensive back Juwan Dowels heads to Syracuse.
     St. Thomas Aquinas had a slew of players that selected a school to attend. Among them included running back Madre London(Michigan State), quarterback Wade Freebeck(Vanderbilt), Corey Holmes(Notre Dame), defensive tackle Anthony Moten(Miami), offensive lineman Nicolas Linder(Miami), defensive back Al Harris(South Carolina) and offensive lineman Ryan Crozier(Connecticut). All the players mentioned won the 2012 FHSAA Class 7A title with the Raiders except for Freebeck.
     Broward County Soul Bowl rivals Blanche Ely and Dillard have several players who will stay local and move to Dade County. Tigers linebacker Terry McCray will play in Miami while Panthers quarterback Lee "Bud" Martin and wide receiver Dennis Turner signed with Florida International University. Dillard defensive back Randy Ramsey will attend Arkansas. Northern Illinois gets Blanche Ely wide receiver Kenneth Rawls.
     Cardinal Gibbons had a number of athletes on the offensive side who will go to the next level. Quaterback Peyton Bender(Washington State), wide receivers George Rushing(Wisconsin), Trevon Lee(Duke) and Christian Blake(Northern Illinois).
     Impact senior players in 2013 made their selections that included Plantation quarterback/defensive back Chris Lammons(South Carolina), Deerfield Beach running back Brandon Powell(Florida), Boyd Anderson defensive back Derrick Tindal(Wisconsin), University School quarterback Sean White(Auburn) and wide receiver Chris Taylor(Duke).

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Panthers Get By Maple Leafs

     The Florida Panthers returned from a four-game road trip with a 4-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs at BB&T Center on Tuesday night. The win snapped the Cats three-game losing streak. They face the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday in their final home game before the three-week break for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
     It was one-sided during the first period as Florida(22-27-7) had the first nine shots and a 16-2 shot advantage 16 minutes into the game. It remained scoreless after one as the Cats outshot Toronto(30-22-6) 19-4.
     In the second period, the Cats would score on their first power play at 1:14. Brian Campbell passed the puck from the left point to Tom Gilbert in the high slot where he rifled a slapshot over the left shoulder of Jonathan Bernier. Gilbert's fourth goal this season gave Florida a 1-0 lead.
     The Panthers kept up the shooting pace as they were up 35-10 with six minutes left in the second and 37-12 going into the third.
     Florida extended the margin to 2-0 at 5:21 of the third on Jesse Winchester's eighth goal of the season. Scott Gomez received a pass in the left circle. He dropped the puck to Campbell at the left point and he snapped a shot in from beyond the top left circle that was redirected by Winchester in the crease area.
     The Maple Leafs capitalized on a turnover by the Panthers in their own end to make it 2-1 with 10:29 to go. Nazem Kadri had the puck in the left corner, fed it to David Clarkson and he put in a wrist shot from the high slot by Tim Thomas.
     With 6:38 left in the third, Florida regained their two-goal cushion. Shawn Matthias stole the puck from Cody Franson at the red line and skated down the left side. He blasted a slapshot from the top left circle for his sixth goal this year.
     The Cats finished things off with an empty-net goal with 2:30 remaining. Tomas Kopecky picked up a loose puck at center ice and sent a lead pass to Marcel Goc at the Leafs line. He skated in alone and put it into the cage from the slot area.
     Thomas improved to 15-16-3 as he stopped 20 shots while Bernier fell to 20-16-5 as he made 44 saves in a losing effort. The 48 shots that the Panthers had were the most they had in a game this season. It broke the season-high of 45 shots against Buffalo on October 25. The Cats were 1-for-2 on the power play and Toronto had no opportunities in the game.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Panthers Week In Review

     The Florida Panthers recently completed a four-game road trip and finished 1-3-0. The Panthers began the trip last Sunday at Joe Louis Arena as they edged the Detroit Red Wings 5-4 in a shootout.    
     They were shelled two nights later by the Boston Bruins 6-2 at TD Garden. That was followed by a 6-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre on Thursday. Florida finished off against a new conference opponent on Saturday night as they fell to Columbus 4-1. The Panthers were outscored 16-6 in their last three games and are now more than ten points out from a playoff spot.
     The Cats play two consecutive home games this week against divisional foes. They host the Maple Leafs for the first time this season on Tuesday and then face the Red Wings for the third and final time at home this year on Thursday.