Saturday, March 29, 2014

Habs Stop Panthers

     The Florida Panthers played their first game since they were eliminated from the playoff race and fell to the Montreal Canadiens 4-1 at BB&T Center on Saturday night. The Cats, who have lost five of their last six games, head out on a short two-game road trip to New Jersey and New York.
     It was midway through the first period when Montreal(43-26-7) got the first goal of the game. Thomas Vanek snapped a shot from the high slot area which was saved by Dan Ellis and trickled behind him. Vanek found the rebound and put it into the net at 10:47 for his 27th goal of the season. It was his sixth goal in the last seven games.
     The Habs, who won their fifth straight game and eight of their last nine, make it 2-0 one second after their second power play ended with 2:03 left in the first. Daniel Briere sent a cross-ice pass from the top right circle to Alexei Emelin in the low left circle. He threaded a pass across the crease to Max Pacioretty at the right edge of the blue paint and he followed through with a wrist shot into an open net for his 34th goal. He scored for the third consecutive game and for the fourth time in his last five games.
     The Canadiens extended their lead to 3-0 with six minutes to go in the second period. Vanek connected a pass to David Desharnais in the slot and he moved the puck to Pacioretty at the left of the crease. He then redirected the pass for his second goal of the game and 35th goal this season.
     The shutout was broken by Florida(27-40-8) at 16:09. Sean Bergenheim sent a pass from the low slot to Brad Boyes in the low right circle and he fired a shot by Carey Price for his 19th goal.
     It was not until the final minute of the third period when Montreal scored again when Desharnais put in a shot from center ice into an empty net for his 15th tally with 23.4 seconds remaining.  
     Florida was scoreless on the power play for the seventh straight game as they went 0-for-4 while the Habs were 0-for-5. Price improved to 32-18-5 as he made 36 saves. Ellis, who made his first home start since he was acquired from Dallas, stopped 15 shots as his record dropped to 5-9-0.

Heat Rout Pistons

     LeBron James compiled a triple-double as the Miami Heat rebounded with a 110-78 rout of the Detroit Pistons at Palace of Auburn Hills on Friday night. The Heat snapped a three-game losing streak on the road.
     Miami(49-22) was up 28-23 after one quarter. They went on a 19-5 run at the end of the second quarter to lead the Pistons at halftime 57-42. The Heat outscored Detroit(26-46) in the third quarter 35-18 and had a commanding margin of 92-60 at the end of the period.
     James put together 17 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds in just 30 minutes for the Heat. Udonis Haslem tied with a team-high 17 points along with five rebounds. Chris Bosh barely missed a double-double with 15 points and nine rebounds while Chris Andersen had 12 points coming off the bench.
     Greg Monroe and Will Bynum both had a team-high 12 points for the Pistons. Andre Drummond almost put up a double-double with nine points and 14 rebounds while Kyle Singler drained in 11 points.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Hurricanes Eliminate Panthers

     The Florida Panthers were eliminated in the playoff race on Thursday night as they were shut out by the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0 at BB&T Center. The Panthers will miss the NHL playoffs for the 12th time in the last 13 seasons and 16th time in 20 seasons. It was the first time in team history that the Cats were swept by the Canes in a season series.
     Carolina(32-32-9) put in their first goal at 9:09 of the first period. Hurricanes captain Eric Staal came in on the left side on a two-on-one breakaway and fed a cross-ice pass to Jiri Tlusty. He delayed then placed a wrist shot beyond the left glove of Roberto Luongo and into the net for a 1-0 lead.
     Former Panther Radek Dvorak collided with Luongo after he missed a shot on a breakaway and was given a five-minute charging penalty and a game misconduct at 12:48. Florida(27-39-8) was unable to get a shot on goal on the ensuing power play. Luongo, who made 11 saves, would leave the game after the first period and was replaced by former Hurricane Dan Ellis.
     In the second period, Tlusty scored his second goal of the game and 14th of the season at 2:30. Andrei Loktionov was on the right wing and sent a pass through the middle that was deflected twice by the Panthers. Tlusty hit a bouncing puck from the left of the crease by Ellis.
     The Hurricanes extended their lead to 3-0 just three minutes later as Jeff Skinner added his 28th goal of the season. Patrick Dwyer put a shot on goal from the left edge of the crease and got his own rebound. He skated behind the Panthers cage and passed to Skinner at the right of the crease for a one-time snap shot.
     Anton Khudobin recorded his first shutout this season and third career NHL shutout with 34 saves to improve his record to 16-12-0. Luongo dropped to 23-20-7 and Ellis made 18 saves in two periods. Both teams were scoreless on the power play as the Cats went 0-for-3 while the Canes were 0-for-1.

Greg Likens New Finsiders Show Host

     The Miami Dolphins have named Greg Likens as the new host of The Finsiders Show. He replaces Jesse Agler who left the program at the end of January to join the San Diego Padres. The program has been hosted by John Congemi and Troy Stradford in the last two months. The show will continues to air on 940 The Sports Animal WINZ-AM and Fox Sports Florida.
     Likens, a Syracuse University grad, will leave his position as the morning producer and sidekick of the Joe Rose Show on Sports Radio 560 WQAM-AM. He was also the morning sports anchor and weekend host at that station. He had a role on the morning show at WQAM since Joe Rose began his second stint at the station in 2007. In addition, Zack Krantz did his final show with Joe Rose as his producer on Wednesday and will become the afternoon show sidekick for Marc Hochman on WQAM next week.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Pacers Edge Heat

     The two teams with the best records in the Eastern Conference met on Wednesday night as the Miami Heat fell to the Indiana Pacers 84-83 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Heat are now three games behind the Pacers for first place in the Eastern Conference. Miami lost their fourth one-point game this season.
     Indiana(52-20) started the game on a 21-12 edge after ten minutes and were up 23-17 after one quarter. Miami(48-22) to within three points 31-28 on a Dwyane Wade dunk with 5:22 remaining in the second, but the Pacers responded with a 9-2 spurt to go up by double digits 40-30. The Heat went on a 15-4 run at the end of the first half to lead 45-44.
     The Pacers began the second half as they outscored the Heat 15-8, however Miami stomped back on a 15-2 run to get ahead 68-61 with under one minute left in the third. Miami had their seven-point margin in the fourth quarter evaporate as Indiana went on an 13-2 spurt to regain the lead 76-72 with 5:01 to go. The Heat would score the next eight points and moved ahead 80-76 with 3:23 remaining. Indiana followed with eight consecutive points down the stretch which was capped on a three-point shot by David West with 50.2 seconds left to make it 84-80.       
     LeBron James compiled 38 points, five assists and eight rebounds in 43 minutes for the Heat. It was the 26th time this season that he scored at least 30 points in a game. Wade contributed 15 points and Chris Bosh added eight points.
    Paul George led Indiana with 23 points and eight rebounds while Roy Hibbert nailed down 21 points. West fell short of a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds. Lance Stephenson, who was ejected with 5:01 left in the game, dropped in 15 points.

Rickie Ricardo New Yankees Announcer

     Former Miami disc jockey Rickie Ricardo has been named Spanish radio play-by-play announcer and game analyst for the New York Yankees Radio Network on WADO-AM in New York City. He will be joined in the broadcast booth by Francisco Rivera.
     Ricardo, whose real name is Rickie Santana, was once the morning host on WZTA-FM in Miami back in the mid 2000s. He became the Spanish radio voice for the Philadelphia Phillies from 2007 until 2013. He is also a weekend sports host on Sports Radio 94 WIP-FM in Philadelphia and the Spanish radio voice of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Panthers Overcome Senators

     The Florida Panthers avoided elimination from the playoff race on Tuesday night with a 3-2 shootout victory over the Ottawa Senators at BB&T Center. The Panthers avoided not being in the postseason for the 12th time in the last 13 seasons.
     In the second period, Mark Stone scored his second career NHL goal at 11:34 for Ottawa(29-29-14). He passed the puck to Eric Karlsson in the right circle and he returned a cross-ice pass to him for a snap shot from the left circle.
     The Sens made it 2-0 at 16:11 on the power play when Patrick Wiercioch blasted a slapshot from the left point and was deflected in by Clarke MacArthur while inside the left circle for his 22nd goal.
     The Panthers mounted a comeback with two goals in a 23 seconds to tie the game 2-2. Brian Campbell fed the puck from the right corner to Sean Bergenheim in the right circle and he scored on a wrist shot with 2:28 left in the second for his 15th goal this season.
     Florida(27-38-8) evened the contest on a two-on-one breakaway. Vincent Trocheck pulled off a give-and-go with Scottie Upshall in the offensive zone and connected with his third career NHL goal with 2:05 remaining.
     It would go into a shootout to decide the winner. Kyle Turris converted on the first shootout attempt for Ottawa with a snap shot over the blocker of Roberto Luongo. Florida would score on their only two attempts during the shootout. Trocheck dazzled with a double fake on Robin Lehrer and finished with a forehand shot. It was followed by Brandon Pirri as he went five-hole between the legs with a wrist shot.
     Both goalies were the main players of the game. Luongo kept his team in the game with 37 saves and he moved his record to 23-20-7. Lehner made 39 stops for the Senators and dropped to 8-15-6 this season. The Cats went 0-for-2 on the power play while the Sens were 1-for-2.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Ducks Stomp Panthers

     Two teams who are celebrating their 20th year in the NHL played on Sunday as the Anaheim Ducks pounded the Florida Panthers 6-2 at Honda Center. The Cats have lost seven of their last nine games and are one point away from being eliminated from the NHL playoff chase. Dan Ellis, who once played for the Ducks, made his 200th career NHL start in net.
     In the first period, Anaheim(46-18-7) scored on their first power-play opportunity as Patrick Maroon scored on a rebound shot on the left edge of the crease at 11:57. Corey Perry got the puck in the low slot area where Ryan Getzlaf took the initial shot. It was the ninth straight game that Florida(26-38-8) gave up a power-play goal.
     Teemu Selanne scored just 15 seconds into the second period on a one-time slapshot from the high slot to give the Ducks a 2-0 margin. It was his ninth goal this season and his 684th career NHL goal. The Ducks extended their lead to 3-0 at 4:08 as Jakob Silfverberg stole the puck from Brandon Pirri at center ice, went on a breakaway and put in an unassisted goal on a backhand shot.
     The Panthers would climb back in the contest with two straight goals. Dmitry Kulikov passed the puck from the low right circle to Krys Barch and he flung a wrist shot from the top right circle that was redirected by Jimmy Hayes past Jonas Hiller at 7:59. Two minutes later, Vincent Trocheck won a left circle face-off and carried the puck around the Ducks cage. His wraparound backhand pass went across the crease to Tomas Fleischmann and he put in a snap shot from the left of the crease at 10:00. It was the first NHL assist for Trocheck.
     Anaheim got one goal back just 55 seconds later as they picked up a two-goal cushion again as they made two passes in the crease area and Kyle Palmieri finished the play with a wrist shot from the right side of the blue paint. Perry would score his 37th goal one minute later at 11:55 on a tip-in and he got his own rebound in front of the Panthers net to make it 5-2.
     Getzlaf and Selanne performed a give-and-go at the top of the left circle and Getzlaf fired a wrist shot from the high slot for his 30th goal this season to give Anaheim a 6-2 edge at 6:32 of the third period.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Kings Blank Panthers

     The Florida Panthers were shut out by the Los Angeles Kings 4-0 on Saturday at Staples Center. Roberto Luongo was in net for the Cats and lost for the fourth time this season to the Kings. The Cats have lost six of their last eight games.
     The first period belonged to Los Angeles(40-25-6) as they got out to a 2-0 lead. Trevor Lewis scored on a snap shot at 11:03 and Mike Richards added a tally with a wrist shot at 17:16.
     They extended their margin to 3-0 over Florida(26-37-8) at 8:54 into the second period as Kings captain Dustin Brown scored on a wrist shot from close range for his 13th goal of the season. Alec Martinez made it a four-goal cushion for Los Angeles with 8:01 remaining in the third period with a power-play goal.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Coyotes Squeck By Panthers

     On the second game of their four-game West Coast road trip, the Florida Panthers were edged by the Phoenix Coyotes 2-1 on Thursday night at Arena. The Cats will play two games over the weekend in Southern California against the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks.
     Phoenix(34-25-11) was able to get two goals during the first period. Radim Vrbata scored a power-play goal on a wrist shot at 2:56 and Antoine Vermette put in a rebound shot for a tally with 1:22 remaining in the first.
     It was not until 4:07 left in the third period that Florida(26-36-8) got on the scoreboard. Scott Gomez broke the shutout with a wrist shot over the right shoulder of Mike Smith. Dmitry Kulikov added an assist on the play.

Heat Lose To Celtics

     The Miami Heat played against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night without LeBron James and were defeated 101-96 at TD Garden. The Heat, who have been defeated in four of their last five road games, lost the season series to the Celtics.
     Miami(46-20) was led by Dwyane Wade with 17 points along with five assists and Chris Andersen compiled 16 points with eight rebounds. Udonis Haslem and Ray Allen both put up 14 points for the Heat.
     Rajon Rondo finished barely short of a triple-double for Boston(23-46) with nine points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds. Avery Bradley had 23 points and Brandon Bass added 18 points for the C's.
     The Heat had a 12-point lead at 34-22 after one quarter and were up 59-53 at halftime. The Celtics moved ahead 80-78 after three quarters. The game was tied 94-94 with under three minutes left in the final quarter until Jeff Green made a three-point shot from the right side with 2:31 to go. It would part of a 7-2 finishing run by Boston as Rondo would later score on two running jumpers down the stretch.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Miami Ratings February 2014

     Things remained the same as 104.3 The Ticket WAXY-FM was the highest rated sports format radio station in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale region for the sixth consecutive month. It was their biggest margin of victory since June 2012. The other two main competitors in the market loss more ground than expected during the month of February.
     104.3 The Ticket went down slightly from a 1.5 to a 1.4 in February. The Miami Heat game broadcasts kept the station ahead of the pack as they stand alone as the top team in the region. Daytime programming remained on point with Dan Le Batard and Stugotz in afternoons, Jonathan Zaslow in mornings and Eric Reed in early afternoons.
     Sports Radio 560 WQAM-AM fell from a 1.0 to a 0.7 in the month of February. It was a dismal showing by The Sports Brothers in afternoon drive as their interim program could not gain any traction. In addition, WQAM had a limited amount of game broadcasts with the Florida Panthers off for three weeks. The University of Miami Hurricanes basketball team was unable to perform up to the high standards they had from last year.
     940 The Sports Animal WINZ-AM dropped for the second straight month, but this time from a 0.3 to a 0.2. The station hit a low point due the adjustments in their schedule during February. No permanent host was named to replace Jesse Agler on the Finsiders Show during afternoon drive as they plugged in John Congemi and Troy Stradford. They carried the Winter Olympics for several weeks to an audience that really had no interest. The loss of Steve Goldstein for three weeks from the morning show alongside Jeff DeForrest did not help either.

Heat Get By Cavs

     LeBron James scored 25 of his 43 points in the first quarter as they defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 100-96 on Tuesday night at Quicken Loans Arena. The Heat are now 13-1 against Cleveland(26-42) since James joined Miami(46-19) as a free agent in 2010.
     Chris Bosh added 21 points with six rebounds while Ray Allen dropped down 14 points for the Heat. Jarrett Jack scored 22 points for the Cavs and Dion Waters compiled a double-double of 17 points and 11 assists. Spencer Hawes fell short of a double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds.

Len Weiner New WAXY Program Director

     Lincoln Financial Media in Miami has named Len Weiner as the new program director at 104.3 The Ticket WAXY-FM and 790 The Ticket WAXY-AM. He will join the organization next week and replaces Tod Castleberry who was let go last November. Weiner leaves his position at Genesis Communications in Tampa Bay as program director at WHBO-AM, WWBA-AM and WMGG-AM which he has held since 2011.
     Weiner has been a program director for many sports stations in the nation. His first stop was at KMPC-AM in Los Angeles then worked at ESPN Radio in Connecticut. He moved to Chicago where he was at WMVP-AM followed by a stint at news/talk station WGN-AM. Weiner went to Boston and worked at WAMG-AM before heading down to Tampa Bay.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Panthers Survive Sharks

     The Florida Panthers began a four-game West Coast road trip with a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on Tuesday night. The Cats have won two of their last three games as Roberto Luongo had 52 saves in the win and 28 saves in the third period.
     In the second period, San Jose(45-18-7) scored on a power play at 4:02. Marty Havlat carried the puck into the Panthers zone and passed it to Brent Burns on the right wing. His centering pass went off the right skate of Tom Gilbert and Havlat put in a shot from the slot area.
     Florida(26-35-8) bounced back with two goals in 17 seconds and took the lead 2-1. Brandon Pirri scored an unassisted goal at 11:23 as he dashed through the middle of the ice and snapped a shot from the high slot that hit Antti Niemi, went up in the air, rolled down Niemi's back and into the net for his ninth goal.
     The Panthers sticked with the same line and they were rewarded at 11:40. Pirri blasted a shot from the top right circle and Quinton Howden was to the left of the crease and swept in a backhand shot. It was his third goal in the last four games after he was called up from San Antonio in the AHL.
     The Sharks fell behind 3-1 with 14.8 seconds in the second. Nick Bjugstad was in the left corner and poked the puck to Joey Crabb. He sent a cross-ice pass to Scottie Upshall in the right circle for a one-time slapshot for his 14th goal this season.
     San Jose made it closer with 3:03 left in the third period. Joe Thornton won a faceoff in the left circle and Burns put a soft shot from the low left circle between the pads of Luongo and into the Panthers cage.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Luongo And Panthers Fall To Canucks

     Roberto Luongo was in goal against his former team the Vancouver Canucks for the first time on Sunday as the Florida Panthers lost 4-3 in a shootout at BB&T Center. He played for the Canucks for eight seasons from 2006 until earlier this month. The Cats, who have lost four of their last five games, now go on a four-game West Coast road trip following this game.
     In the first period, Florida(25-35-8) scored on their second power play at 16:28. Jimmy Hayes moved the puck to Brandon Pirri in the low right circle. He passed it to Tom Gilbert in the top right circle, he skated a couple of feet in and ripped a wrist shot which was deflected by Hayes past the right blocker of Eddie Lack for his eighth goal.
     It was matched by Vancouver(31-29-10) with 2:18 left in the first. Dan Hamhuis took a slapshot from the top of the zone that went through a screen in the crease and over the right shoulder of Luongo.
     The Canucks continued their momentum less then a minute later as they capitalized on a Panthers clearing pass with 1:25 remaining. The puck bounced off Henrik Sedin on the left wing to Alexandre Burrows. His centering pass went to Nicklas Jensen and he scored on a snap shot from the slot area.
     The Panthers were able to tie the game 2-2 at 4:19 of the third period. Quinton Howden came in from the right corner and tried to stuff in the puck which was saved by Lack. Vincent Trocheck went around the Canucks cage and put in a wraparound shot for his second NHL goal.
     Vancouver regained their lead one minute later at 5:34 on the power play as Burrows scored on a backhand shot in the crease following a save by Luongo. Kevin Bieksa set the play up from the left point and passed to Alexander Edler on the right point for a slapshot.
     The Cats picked up a power-play goal with 1:35 to go and tied it at 3-3. Brian Campbell blasted a slapshot from the left point. Hayes had two shots on the doorstep and put the second one in for his second goal of the game and ninth of the season.
     There was no scoring in overtime and the contest went into a shootout. Jensen scored the only goal on Vancouver's second attempt as he snapped a shot beyond the stick side of Luongo that barely got inside the net.
     Luongo made 29 saves and dropped his record to 21-18-7 while Lack improved to 12-13-4 as he stopped 26 shots. The Cats had one of their better days on the power play as they went 2-for-4 and Canucks were 1-for-5 with the man advantage.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Panthers Slay Devils

     The Florida Panthers snapped a three-game losing streak with a 5-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Friday night at BB&T Center. Roberto Luongo of the Cats and Cory Schneider of the Devils, who both played goalie for the Vancouver Canucks last year, faced each other for the third time this season with Luongo victorious each time.
     Midway through the first period, Florida(25-35-7) was able to get up 1-0 at 9:59. Jon Merrill gave the puck away to Jimmy Hayes in the left circle. He pivoted to the middle and took a snap shot which was saved by Corey Schneider. Brian Campbell swooped into the crease area and put in the rebound for his seventh goal of the season.
     The game was evened by New Jersey(29-25-13) on their first power play with 1:15 left in the first as Jaromir Jagr collected his team-high 22nd goal of the season and 703rd in his NHL career. Travis Zajac took a slapshot in the left circle that was saved buy Lunogo. Damien Brunner got the rebound in the right circle and fired a shot toward the net that was redirected by Jagr.
     The Devils took the lead early in the second period at 2:02. Patrick Elias had the puck in the right circle and sent it to Bryce Salvador at the left point. He put a wrist shot at the net from the top left circle that went in.
     They increased their margin to 3-1 at 13:13 of the second. Brunner sent a backhand pass from the left point ahead to a charging Elias and he snapped a shot from the left circle with a screen in front by Dainius Zubrus for his 15th goal.
     Quinton Howden cut the deficit down to 3-2 a little more than one minute later at 14:30 for his second goal in two games. Scott Gomez had the puck in the left circle and put the Panthers first shot on goal in 17 minutes. He got his own rebound and fed Howden in the low slot for the goal. Those would the Cats only shots on goal in the second period as they were outshot 14-2.
     In the third period, the Panthers tied the game 3-3 at 4:24 on a giveaway. Mark Fayne had a cross-ice pass from his own right circle intercepted by Brad Boyes in the high slot. He skated in alone on net and put it between the pads of Schneider for his team-high 18th goal this campaign.
     The Cats regained the lead 4-3 at the ten-minute mark of the third. Boyes handled the puck in the right corner and found Scottie Upshall in the low right circle. He scored his 13th goal on a wrist shot as Nick Bjugstad set up a screen in front.
    Vincent Trocheck picked up a clearing pass at center ice from Brian Campbell and rushed down the right side and wrapped it up with his first NHL goal with 32.5 left in the third. New Jersey lost a game in regulation for the first time this season when they had the lead after two periods.
     Luongo got his second victory in his second stint with the club and improved to 21-28-6 as he made 28 saves on 31 shots. Schneider moved his record down to 12-14-9 as he had 17 saves in the loss. The Devils scored on their only power play while the Cats were 0-for-3 with the man advantage.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Lightning Sweep Panthers

    The Florida Panthers remained winless this season against the Tampa Bay Lightning as they fell 5-4 on Thursday night at Tampa Bay Times Forum. The Bolts had already captured the inaugural Governor's Cup back on December 23 when they won the season series.
     Dan Ellis made his Panthers debut in goal after he was acquired from the Dallas Stars last week for Tim Thomas. The Cats have lost three straight games and eight of their last ten.
     Little time was wasted for Florida(24-35-7) as they scored at 1:44 on their first power play. Brad Boyes stole the puck on the end wall and passed it to Dmitry Kulikov on the left point. He put a soft shot toward the net that was stopped by Tomas Fleischmann and he snapped a shot from the slot area by the stick side of Ben Bishop.
     It became a tie game again at 5:38 as Tampa Bay(35-24-7) evened it up. Valtteri Filppula won the face-off in the left circle and Sami Salo blasted a slapshot from the top left circle by Ellis.
     Quinton Howden. who was called up from the Panthers AHL affiliate in San Antonio, would score his first NHL goal just 12 seconds later to give the Cats a 2-1 lead. Jimmy Hayes advanced the puck down the left-wing boards and Howden put in a wrist shot from an acute angle in the low left circle.
     The Bolts kept up with the Panthers and matched them again at 8:18 of the first. Teddy Purcell moved the biscuit from the left corner to the high slot where Michael Kostka converted on a slapshot.
     Tampa Bay got ahead for the first time in the contest at 12:04 of the second period as Ryan Callahan picked up his first tally with the new club. He made it 3-2 on a wrist shot from close range that was set up by Ondrej Palat.
     They extended their lead to 4-2 with 1:07 left in the period. Steven Stamkos fed the puck from behind the Panthers cage to Tyler Johnson in the right corner. His centering pass went off Ed Jovanovski's left skate and into the Panthers net.
     In the third period, the Lightning converted on a power play with 9:13 remaining. Filppula flicked a cross-ice pass from the right circle to Stamkos and he powered through a one-time slapshot from the low left circle for his 15th goal this season.
     The Cats did get two more goals in the final minute to make it close. With 1:05 to go, the Panthers came in on a two-on-one as Nick Bjugstad passed across to Scottie Upshall and he finished the play with a wrist shot from the edge of the left circle.
     They picked up another tally with 26.5 seconds left when Brandon Pirri put in a wrist shot from the slot area after he received a pass from Alex Petovic at the right point.

Victor Oquendo Shifts To News

      WPLG-TV Channel 10 sportscaster Victor Oquendo has been promoted to a news anchor position at the station. He will work on the 4:30pm and 5:30pm newscasts. WINK-TV sports director and sports anchor Clayton Ferraro in Fort Myers is expected to replace Oquendo as the weekend sports anchor.
     It has been a trend in the Miami television market over the last 20 years to move a sports anchor to a news anchor spot on the broadcast. WTVJ-TV Channel 6 first did it with longtime sportscaster Tony Segreto during the 1990's. It was later done by WPLG for Steve Alvarez and by WFOR-TV Channel 4 when they shifted Khambrel Marshall. During the past ten years, WFOR took Jim Berry from sports to news and returned him back to his prior position while WTVJ promoted Adam Kuperstein from sports to the news desk in December 2011 and he is currently their evening news co-anchor.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Nets Drag Down Heat

     The Miami Heat were unable to handle the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night with a 96-95 loss at American Airlines Arena. The Heat, who had their seven-game home winning streak snapped, lost to the Nets in Miami for the first time since 2008. The Nets also captured the season series for the first time since 2007-08 as they defeated Miami for the third time this season.
     The first quarter was close as neither team led by more than six points as they were tied at 22-22 after one quarter. Brooklyn(33-30) pulled ahead 42-34 with 3:58 left in the second quarter, but Miami(44-18) came back with eight consecutive points and they were tied 42-42 at halftime.
     The Nets held a six-point margin twice in the third quarter and were up 73-71 at the end of the period. They led 87-81 midway through the fourth until Miami were on a 11-5 run to tie the game at 92-92 with two minutes to go. Brooklyn would regain the lead for the rest of the contest and got the one-point victory.
     Dwyane Wade dropped down 22 points while Chris Bosh put together 24 points and seven rebounds. LeBron James added 19 points with seven assists and Mario Chalmers compiled 14 points and nine rebounds.
     Paul Pierce gathered a game-high 29 points for the Nets while Mirza Teletovic came off the bench with 17 points. Shaun Livingston moved through with 13 points and seven rebounds.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Coyotes Sneak by Panthers

     The Florida Panthers finished a three-game homestand with a 3-1 loss over the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday night at BB&T Center. The Cats have lost three of their last four games and seven of nine.
     Late in the first period on the first power play for Phoenix(31-24-11), Mike Ribeiro scored with a deflection in front on a one-time slapshot from the right point by Keith Yandle at 17:43. He got the feed from Radim Vrbata at the top of the zone. Yandle continued on his four-game point streak and now has nine points in the last nine games. Ribeiro has always been Panthers killer as he collected his tenth goal and 23rd point against the Cats in 23 games.
     The Coyotes extended their lead to 2-0 midway through the second period at 9:53. Vrbata passed the puck from the left circle to Oliver Ekman-Larsson at the blue line and his wrist shot sailed over the left shoulder of Roberto Luongo.
     Florida(24-34-7) fell further behind at 5:52 of the third period as they were down 3-0. Antoine Vermette came down the left side on a two-on-one, passed across to Vrbata in the right circle and he snapped home a shot into a half-open net.
     The Panthers broke the shutout on their fourth power-play attempt of the game at 8:53 as Brandon Pirri picked up his first goal as a Florida player. Dmitry Kulikov carried the puck at the blue line and moved it to Pirri who rocketed a slapshot from the top left circle by Mike Smith.
     The Cats were 1-for-5 on the power play while the Coyotes went 1-for-3. Luongo made 23 saves as his record dropped to 20-18-6 and Smith moved to 24-19-10 as he stopped 31 of 32 shots.


Monday, March 10, 2014

Heat End Losing Streak

     The Miami Heat snapped a season long three-game losing streak with a 99-90 victory over the Washington Wizards at American Airlines Arena on Monday night. Dwyane Wade played in both ends of back-to-back games for the third time this season.
     The first three minutes of the game belonged to Miami(44-17) as they went up 10-1 and they extended their margin to 16-6 five minutes in. The Heat still had the lead after one quarter 31-23. Washington(33-30) stepped with a 9-2 edge at the start of the second quarter to pull within one point, however they were down at halftime 53-45 when LeBron James scored 10 of the last 12 Heat points in the first half.
     The Wizards scored 11 consecutive points during the third and were tied with Heat 73-73 after three quarters. Midway through the fourth quarter, Miami put in 12 straight points to pull ahead 95-84 with 3:13 left.
     James, who for the second straight game did not have a free throw attempt, compiled a team-high 23 points, seven rebounds and eight assists. Chris Bosh added 22 points and seven rebounds while Wade contributed 22 points.
     Washington got 18 points from Bradley Beale and seven points from John Wall. Marcin Gortat nailed down a double-double for them with 14 points and 18 rebounds.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Bruins Hold Off Panthers

     The Florida Panthers fell to the Boston Bruins 5-2 on Sunday at BB&T Center. The B's swept the season series against the Cats for the second consecutive season and have knocked them off eight straight times. The Bruins, who are now in first place in the Eastern Conference, also extended their winning streak to a season-high five games.
     There was no scoring in the first period, but Florida(24-33-7) was able to get the lead seven minutes into the second. Sean Bergenheim sent a pass from the right corner to Nick Bjugstad in the right circle. His snap shot was saved by Chad Johnson, however Jimmy Hayes put in the rebound for his sixth goal of the season.
     The game was evened by Boston(42-17-5) on the power play at 9:58. Reilly Smith passed the puck from the left point to Andrei Mezsaros, who made his Bruins debut, on the right point. He pounded a one-time slapshot which was tipped in by Carl Soderberg at the top of the crease and went past Roberto Luongo. It was 12th goal of the campaign.
     In the third period, Boston took their first lead of the game at 7:38. Patrice Bergeron moved a left outlet pass ahead to Andrew Marchand in the Cats zone. He spun around in the left circle and blindsided a backhand pass to Torey Krug in the slot for a one-timer for his 13th goal this year.
     Both teams then combined for three goals in 52 seconds. The Bruins got their second power-play goal at 11:21. Loui Eriksson had the puck below the icing line and fed Bergeron for a one-time snap shot from the right circle for his 18th goal.
     Jimmy Hayes picked up his second goal of the contest for the Panthers at 11:50. Jonathan Huberdeau controlled the puck to the right side of the crease and put a shot on net. Hayes was able to poke it between the pads of Johnson inside the blue paint.     
     The B's moved it back to a two-goal margin just 23 seconds later. Milan Lucic had the puck in the left circle and connected with Jarome Iginla as he ripped a wrist shot from the slot area for his 20th goal of the year. It was his 550th career NHL goal as he moved to 26th on the all-time list just six goals behind former Bruins Johnny Bucyk.
     Chris Kelly blocked a shot in his own zone at the right point and skated in alone in the Panthers zone as he scored into an empty net with 1:08 remaining. Luongo dropped to 20-17-6 this season as he made 37 saves while Chad Johnson improved to 13-3-1 as he stopped 20 shots. The Cats were 0-for-4 on the power play while Boston converted on two of four attempts.

Bulls Beat Heat In Overtime

     The Chicago Bulls scored the first nine points in overtime as they got by the Miami Heat 95-88 on Sunday at United Center. The Heat have matched their season-high with a three-game losing streak. They open up a four-game homestand on Monday against Washington.
     LeBron James led the way for Miami(43-16) with 17 points, eight assists and nine rebounds in 45 minutes. It was the first time since 2009 that he did not attempt a free throw in a game. Dwyane Wade added a team-high 25 points while Chris Bosh dropped in 15 points.
     Two players for Chicago(34-28) were able to put together double-doubles in the contest. Joakim Noah compiled 20 points and 12 rebounds while Jimmy Butler knocked in 16 points with 11 rebounds in 47 minutes of play. D.J. Augustine had a team-high 22 points for the Bulls.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Roberto Luongo Returns With Shutout

     Roberto Luongo made his first appearance in net with the Florida Panthers for the first time since April 2006 as they shut out the Buffalo Sabres 2-0 on Friday night at BB&T Center. Luongo gathered his 66th career shutout and his 27th as a Panther. He has the all-time record in career wins and shutouts for the franchise.
     The Panthers capitalized at the end of a five-minute boarding penalty on Marcus Foligno with a power-play goal at 11:11. Scottie Upshall sent a lead pass to Jesse Winchester and he snapped a shot from the slot area for his ninth goal of the season.
     In the second period, Sean Bergenheim was awarded a penalty shot as he came in alone on net and was slashed from behind by Drew Stafford. His attempt was stopped on a poke check by Michael Neuvirth, who made his Buffalo(19-36-8) after he was acquired from Washington.
     Florida(24-32-7) was able convert on their sixth power play early in the third period. Brad Boyes gave a pass from the left circle to Dmitry Kulikov at the top of the zone and he fired a slapshot through traffic for his seventh tally.
     Luongo improved his record to 20-16-6 as he stopped 25 shots while Neuvirth dropped to 4-7-2 as he made 42 saves. The Cats were 2-for-8 on the power play and the Sabres went 0-for-2 with the man advantage.

Dolphins Shift Harvey Greene

     The Miami Dolphins have moved longtime public relations chief Harvey Greene to the role of vice president of historical affairs. Up to today he had the third longest reign as a public relations director in the National Football League. Jason Jenkins has been upped to the vice president of media relations position.
     Greene joins the Dolphins as their public relations director back in 1990. He was elevated to vice president of media relations by the organization in 2002. Prior to his stint with the Fins, he worked as a public relations director for the New York Yankees.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Spurs Burn Heat

     In a rematch of the 2013 NBA Finals, the Miami Heat fell to the San Antonio Spurs 111-87 at AT&T Center on Thursday night. The Heat are now 3-23 when they have played a game in San Antonio during their franchise history. It was also their largest defeat of the season.
     The Spurs slipped out to an 18-10 advantage six minutes into the game and added a 12-2 spurt to go up 30-16 with two minutes left in the first quarter. By the end of the opening quarter San Antonio(45-16) was ahead 37-22. They had a double-digit margin throughout the second quarter and led 62-51 at halftime.
     Miami(43-16) was able to cut the deficit down to six points at 71-65 with 5:09 to go in the third, however the Spurs answered back with seven straight points. The Heat trailed 82-74 as they entered the fourth quarter. They were unable to get as close as eight points during the fourth as they were outscored 29-13.
     The Heat got 19 points, seven assists and eight rebounds from LeBron James. Dwyane Wade contributed 14 points and seven assists while Chris Bosh put together 24 points and seven rebounds.
     Tim Duncan led the way for the Spurs as he had a double-double with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Tony Parker nailed down 17 points and Boris Diaw compiled 16 points along with eight rebounds.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Tim Thomas Goes To Dallas

     The Florida Panthers made a deal on Wednesday to exchange goalies as they sent Tim Thomas to the Dallas Stars for Dan Ellis. This trade was expected because Florida acquired Roberto Luongo from the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday and it seemed the club has committed to him as their starting goalie for the next couple of seasons.
     Thomas signed a one-year contract with the Panthers during their training camp. He had a 16-20-3 record, 2.87 goals-against-average and a .909 save percentage in 40 games this season for the Cats. Thomas had previously played for the Boston Bruins for eight seasons and led the team to a Stanley Cup championship in 2010-11 for the first time in 39 years.
     Ellis just finished his second stint with the Dallas Stars as he went 5-6-0 with a .900 save percentage and a 3.04 goals-against-average in 14 games in 2013-14. He has played for several teams during his NHL career which included Nashville, Tampa Bay, Anaheim and Carolina.

Panthers Trade Marcel Goc

     The Florida Panthers have traded center Marcel Goc to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a fifth-round pick in 2014 and a third-round pick in 2015 on Wednesday. Goc has played with the Cats for the last three seasons and helped the team make the playoffs in 2011-12 after a 12-year wait.
     He played 62 games for the Panthers this season and had 11 goals and 12 assists. He had previously been with the San Jose Sharks for five seasons and the Nashville Predators for two seasons prior to joining Florida.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

LeBron James Scores 61 Points

      LeBron James scored a career-high 61 points as the Miami Heat defeated the Charlotte Bobcats 124-107 on Monday night at American Airlines Arena. In the process, James set a Miami Heat franchise record for most points by a player in game. It was previously set by Glen Rice when he poured 56 points in the final regular season game of the season at Miami Arena against the Orlando Magic on April 15, 1995.
     James, who led Miami(43-14) to their eighth consecutive victory, had 24 points by halftime and added another 25 points in the third quarter for 49 points entering the final quarter. He broke the franchise record with 5:46 remaining in the third quarter. In addition, he set team records with most points scored in one quarter with 25 points in the third and most field goals made in a game with 22.
     The game seemed closer than expected based on James performance as Charlotte(27-33) was down 29-26 after one quarter and 60-54 at halftime. The Heat went on a 29-15 run at the start of the second half to get a 20-point cushion 89-69 with 2:40 left in the third quarter. The Bobcats never came closer than 14 points for the rest of the way.
     Chris Bosh had 15 points and seven rebounds for the Heat while Toney Douglas added ten points. Al Jefferson got a double-double for Charlotte as he contributed a team-high 38 points with 19 rebounds.

Bruins Blast Panthers

     Among all the trades that the Florida Panthers made on Tuesday, they played a game in Boston and lost to the Bruins 4-1 at TD Garden. The Cats, who have now lost eight of their last ten games, acquired Roberto Luongo earlier in the day from the Vancouver Canucks for Shawn Matthias and Jacob Markstrom. They also traded away Mike Weaver to the Montreal Canadiens.
     The first period belonged to Boston(39-17-5) as they got out to a two-goal lead. David Krejci snapped in an unassisted goal at 7:29 and Jarome Iginla put in a wrist shot from the right circle at 11:01.
     In the final minute of the second period, the B's would extend their margin to 3-0 with 47.9 seconds remaining. Dylan Olsen was unable to clear it as Krejci passed the puck from the left wing to Kevan Miller on the right point. His slapshot was saved by Tim Thomas, but Krejci followed with a snap shot from the slot.
     The shutout was broken by Florida(23-32-7) with 7:13 to go in the third period when Brian Campbell scored on a backhand shot with an assist from Sean Bergenheim. It was the sixth goal this season by Campbell.
     Krejci would finish up with the hat trick as he scored his third goal of the game with 13.3 seconds left in the third as he put the puck into an empty net from the red line.

Panthers Acquire Roberto Luongo

     Roberto Luongo is once again a Florida Panther as he was acquired from the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday along with minor league prospect Steven Anthony for Jacob Markstrom and Shawn Matthias. Luongo was traded by the Cats with Lukas Krajicek to the Canucks in June 2006 for Todd Bertuzzi, Bryan Allen and Alex Auld.
     Luongo played for the Panthers in his previous stint with the team from 2000 until 2006. He has franchise records for the club as a goalie with 108 wins, 26 shutouts, 35 wins in a season and seven shutouts in a season.
     He led the Canucks to a Western Conference title in 2010-11. They lost to the Boston Bruins in seven games in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. Luongo had a record of 19-16-6, a 2.38 goals-against-average and a .917 save percentage with Vancouver this season. He is currently second among active NHL goalies with 367 career wins behind Martin Brodeur with 683.
    Markstrom was seen as their goaltender of the future for the Panthers and had limited time with the club this season as he went 1-6-3 in 12 games with a 3.52 goals-against-average. He appeared in a backup role for the past four seasons.
     Matthias was picked up by Florida in a trade with Detroit Red Wings for Todd Bertuzzi in February 2007. He played seven seasons with the Cats as a center. His best season was in 2011-12 when the team made the playoffs for the first time in 12 years as he had a career-high 14 assists and 24 points. Matthias had nine goals and 16 points in 59 games this season.

Gatos Coach Sal DeRosa Dead

     Former Miami Gatos head coach Sal DeRosa died on Tuesday at the age of 82. He was the first coach for the new North American Soccer League(NASL) squad when they moved from Washington D.C. in 1972. It was the first professional soccer team to be located in South Florida.
     He had a record of 3-8-3 in his one-year stint with the team which finished last in the Southern Division. The club would be renamed the Miami Toros from 1973 to 1976 and the Fort Lauderdale Strikers from 1977 until 1983.
     DeRosa won a NASL Championship and the NASL Coach of the Year Award in his first season as the head coach of the Rochester Lancers in 1970. It would be the only title for that franchise. He coached the Lancers in 1970, 1971 and 1973 with a regular season record of 26-23-18. He was moved up to assistant general manager from 1974 to 1975 and was promoted to the general manager post in 1976.

Craig Counsell Brewers Radio Voice

     Craig Counsell has been named by the Milwaukee Brewers as a radio announcer for the team. He will mainly work road games that their primary radio play-by-play announcer Bob Uecker will not travel with the club and broadcast.
     Counsell played for the Florida Marlins as a second baseman from 1997 until 1999. He scored the winning run in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series to give the Marlins their first championship. He had two stints with the Brewers in 2004 and from 2007 to 2011.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Panthers Rally Over Islanders

     The Florida Panthers scored four goals in the third period and overcame the New York Islanders 5-3 on Sunday at Nassau Coliseum. The win stopped a four-game losing streak for the Panthers as it was their first victory since February 4 at home against Toronto.
     The first period belonged to New York(23-32-8) as Thomas Vanek scored two goals for them. He snapped in a shot at 6:45 then scored a power-play goal at 7:39 for his 20th and 21st goals this campaign.
     It looked like Florida(23-31-7) was back in the game when they cut the deficit down to 2-1 with 1:45 left in the second period. Lubomir Visnovsky turned the puck over when he advanced it and Matthias passed it to Marcel Goc in the right circle. His slapshot was saved and Matthias put in the rebound beyond Anders Nilsson. The Isles moved the gap up to two goals again when Dylan Olsen was unable to clear the puck out and Ryan Strome snapped a shot from the left of the crease by Tim Thomas with 46 seconds left in the second. 
     In the third period, the Cats scored four goals to take the eventual lead. Goc fired a shot from the top left circle to make it 3-2 at 3:16 for his 11th goal. The Islanders committed another turnover in their defensive zone as Matthias scored his second goal of the game on a backhand shot from the low slot at 4:18.
    Scottie Upshall got the go-ahead goal to make it 4-3 at 10:31 as he scored on a rebound to the right of the crease following a right circle shot by Matthias. Upshall added another tally during the power play on a wrist shot from the slot area with 4:34 to go in the third for his 12th goal this season. He received the feed from Olsen in the right circle.

Blue Jackets Cover Panthers

     The Florida Panthers began a three-game road trip on Saturday and fell to the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-3 at Nationwide Arena. The Panthers have lost seven of their last eight and play on Sunday against the New York Islanders.
     Columbus(30-25-5) scored on the power play at 7:42 of the first period for a 1-0 lead. James Wisniewski took a shot from the top right circle that was saved by Scott Clemmensen. R.J. Umberger was on the doorstep and put in the rebound.
     The Blue Jackets added another power-play goal at 11:04 as Florida was down 2-0. Cam Atkinson  scored on a deflection from a slapshot by David Savard.
     The Panthers pulled to within one goal with 6:10 left in the first. Shawn Matthias skated into the Columbus zone on the left side, through the left circle and sent a wrist shot by Sergei Bobrovsky from the left of the crease. It was an unassisted goal and his seventh tally this season.
     Nick Bjugstad tied it up for Florida(22-31-7) at 6:54 of the second period on a backhand shot for his 14th goal of the season. The Blue Jackets regained the lead when they converted on their third power play of the day as Savard scored on the backhand at 10:50. The Cats would make it 3-3 as Sean Bergenheim tipped in the puck at 11:30 fot his 14th goal this year. Artem Anisimov scored an unassisted goal with just 10 seconds left in the second to gain momentum.
     In the third period, the game was put away by two empty-net goals by Columbus as Nick Foligno scored with 1:01 to go and Matt Calvert added one with 37 seconds remaining.