Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Jose Fernandez Mows Down Braves

     Jose Fernandez gave up two hits and struck out eight in eight innings as the Miami Marlins blanked the Atlanta Braves 9-0 at Marlins Park on Tuesday night. The time of the game was just two hours and seven minutes as Fernandez improved to 4-1 this season. It was the fourth shutout for the Fish in 2014.
     Miami(12-14) collected three runs in a two-out rally during the third inning against Alex Wood, who fell to 2-4. Christian Yelich tripled to deep center field then scored on a base hit to left by Ed Lucas. Giancarlo Stanton followed with his eighth home run of the season on a 1-0 pitch to right field.
     In the sixth inning, Atlanta(17-8) gave up another five runs. Casey McGehee walked and advanced to third on a double to left field by Jarrod Saltalamacchia. They both crossed the plate on a single by Marcell Ozuna into center. Wood would surrender another base hit by Jeff Baker before he was relieved by Anthony Varvaro. Adeiny Hechavarria then drove Ozuna in on a double to deep center. After Fernandez sliced a single toward right to score Baker, Hechavarria made it 8-0 as Yelich grounded out to second.
     Saltalamacchia completed the onslaught during the seventh inning with a one-out solo home run to right field on a 0-1 count for his fifth home run of the year.

Panthers Fire Peter Horachek

     The Florida Panthers have let go interim head coach Peter Horachek and will look for a replacement. Horachek finished with a record of 26-36-4 in 66 games with the team in 2013-14. He replaced Kevin Dineen back on November 8, 2013 following his stint as the head coach of the Panthers AHL affiliate in San Antonio.
     The Cats ended up 15th in the Eastern Conference and 29th in the league standings with 66 points ahead of only the Buffalo Sabres. The club was ranked last in the NHL on the power play and penalty killing. Florida recently won the draft lottery and will have the first pick of the 2014 NHL Draft in Philadelphia this June.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Heat Sweep Bobcats

     The Miami Heat swept the Charlotte Bobcats with a 109-98 victory in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at Time Warner Cable Arena on Monday night. The Heat, who defeated the Bobcats for the 20th consecutive time, advanced to the second round where they will face the winner of the Brooklyn Nets/Toronto Raptors series.
     It was the final game ever for the Charlotte Bobcats as they will change their nickname to the Hornets next season. The city had an NBA club named the Charlotte Hornets from 1988 until they moved to New Orleans in 2002.
     Charlotte began the game on a 10-3 surge and were up 27-26 after one quarter. Neither team led by more than four points during the second quarter and the Bobcats had a 54-52 halftime margin.    
     Miami outscored their opponent 32-17 in the third, which included a 20-6 run at the end of the period, to take a 84-71 lead as they headed into the final quarter. The Bobcats could get no closer than seven points from taking the lead in the fourth as the Heat pulled away.
     Four of the five Heat starters scored in double figures. LeBron James fell short of a double-double with a team-high 31 points, nine rebounds and seven rebounds. Chris Bosh put up 17 points with eight rebounds while Dwyane Wade contributed 15 points. Mario Chalmers added 10 points and Norris Cole had 13 points.
     Kemba Walker had 29 points, five assists and five rebounds in 43 minutes for the Bobcats while Josh McRoberts compiled a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. They got bench scoring from Gary Neal with 16 and Chris Douglas-Roberts with 14.

Jack Ramsay Dead

     Longtime Miami Heat television analyst Dr. Jack Ramsay has died at the age of 89. He broadcast the Heat on Sunshine Network and WBFS-TV Channel 33 along with play-by-play announcer Eric Reid and sideline reporter Dave Lamont from October 1992 until May 2000.
     He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992. He had the second most victories with 864 as a head coach in NBA history behind Red Auerbach when he stopped coaching in late 1988.
     Ramsay continued as an NBA game analyst with ESPN Radio where he announced the NBA Finals with Jim Durham for over a decade. They were a tandem until Durham unexpectedly passed away early in the 2012-13 season. Ramsay would leave the broadcast post in May 2013 due to health issues.
     Prior to becoming an announcer, Ramsay was involved in the NBA in several capacities with much success. He joined the Philadelphia 76ers as general manager and they won the NBA title during his first season there in 1966-67. In the process they stopped the Boston Celtics string of eight consecutive NBA championships which is still an NBA record.
     He would later coach the 76ers from 1968-69 to 1971-72 and then became the head coach of the Buffalo Braves from 1972-73 until 1975-76. Ramsay joined the Portland Trail Blazers in 1976-77 as head coach and they won their only NBA title that season as they were led by Bill Walton. He would stay there until the end of the 1985-86 season.
     He had one more coaching stint with the Indiana Pacers from 1986-87 to 1988-89 and would later join them as a television analyst. It would be the beginning of his broadcasting career and he moved on to work for Prism as the Philadelphia 76ers television game analyst.   

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Mets Shut Out Marlins

     Dillon Gee pitched eight scoreless innings and surrendered three hits as the New York Mets blanked the Miami Marlins 4-0 on Sunday at Citi Field. Gee, who struck out six Marlins(11-14), improved his record to 2-1 this season. The Fish finished the month of April with a record of 2-10 on the road.
     New York(14-11) waited until the second inning to take the lead against Tom Koehler. Daniel Murphy led off with a walk and advanced to second when Chris Young was hit by a pitch. Lucas Duda then knocked in Murphy on a ground-rule double to left field and made it 1-0.
     Koehler, whose record dropped to 2-2, gave up three more runs during the fifth inning. Curtis Granderson walked and scored on a double by David Wright into left field. Murphy grounded out to first which moved Wright to third. Young followed with a two-run homer to left field on the 11th pitch of the at-bat to give the Mets a 4-0 cushion.

Heat Pull Away From Bobcats

     The Miami Heat cruised by the Charlotte Bobcats 98-85 in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal on Saturday night as Time Warner Cable Arena. The Heat are one victory away from a sweep and advancing into the second round of the NBA playoffs.
     LeBron James compiled a double-double for Miami with 30 points, 10 rebounds and six rebounds in 36 minutes. Dwyane Wade had 17 points and six assists in 34 minutes. Chris Bosh and Mario Chalmers both added eight points each.
     Al Jefferson had a team-high 20 points for the Bobcats in 30 minutes of play. Josh McRoberts fell short of a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds while Kemba Walker poured in 13 points.
     Charlotte began the game on a 18-11 spurt until they surrendered ten straight points. They regained the lead and were up 27-23 after one quarter. The Heat went on a 25-9 run at the end of the second quarter and led at halftime 58-46. Miami would hold the lead for the entire second half and extended their margin up to 21 points as they were ahead 86-65 after three quarters.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Marlins Squander Game To Mets

     After 33 consecutive save opportunities converted, Marlins closer Steve Cishek was unable to hold on to a save as the New York Mets came back to beat Miami 4-3 at Citi Field on Friday night. It was the first blown save for Cishek since June 2013. The Marlins are now 1-9 on the road this season.
     In the third inning, New York(13-10) scored twice to take the lead against Henderson Alvarez. Eric Young Jr. got an infield single, stole second and went to third on a fly out to right by Curtis Granderson. He scored on a base hit by David Wright to left field. Daniel Murphy then doubled to deep left field as Wright crossed the plate to make it 2-0.
     The Marlins pulled to within one run during the fifth inning. Marcell Ozuna knocked in Derek Dietrich from third on a two-out single off Zack Wheeler to center field.
     Miami(10-13) got back-to-back home runs on a two-out rally against Gonzalez Germen for their first lead of the game at 3-2. Jarrod Saltalamacchia homered to left center on a 3-2 pitch for his third home run with his new team then Garrett Jones followed with a solo shot to right on a 2-1 count which was his fourth round-tripper this season.
     Cishek came in for the ninth inning to try and stop the Mets. Lucas Duda led off with a single into left center and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Travis d'Ardaud. After pinch-hitter Bobby Abreu flew out to left, Omar Quintanilla singled to left field for Duda to tie the game at 3-3. Kirk Nieuwenhuis pinched-hit and slammed a double to center as Quintanilla advanced to third. He would score the game-winning run on a base hit to right field by Granderson.

Roberto Luongo TSN Studio Analyst

     Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo will be a guest studio analyst for TSN in Canada on April 27 and April 28. He will join the panel that will include studio host James Duthie, hockey analyst Bob McKenzie along with studio analysts Jeff O'Neill and Jamie McLennan.
     Luongo helped the Vancouver Canucks win the Western Conference championship in 2010-11 and fell the Boston Bruins in seven games during the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. He also has been a member of two goal-winning Olympic teams for Canada in 2010 and 2014.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Heat Up Two Games Over Bobcats

     The Miami Heat notched another victory over the Charlotte Bobcats with a 101-97 win on Wednesday night at American Airlines Arena in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. The Heat, who beat the Bobcats for the 18th consecutive time, lead the best-of-seven series 2-0 and will play Game 3 in Charlotte on Saturday night.
     LeBron James compiled 32 points, eight assists, six rebounds and four steals in 40 minutes for the Heat. Chris Bosh put together 20 points along with five rebounds while Dwyane Wade pounded in 15 points and six rebounds. Mario Chalmers also contributed 11 points for Miami.
     The Bobcats got a double-double by Al Jefferson with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had a team-high 22 points along with 10 rebounds for his own double-double. Kemba Walker dropped down 16 points and Gerald Henderson scored 15 points before he fouled out late in the fourth quarter.
     Miami went on a 16-6 tear at the end of the first quarter to get up by double digits 29-13. They were still ahead 57-47 at halftime. Charlotte stayed within striking distance and trailed 79-72 after three quarters. The Heat scored ten straight points and led by 14 points at 91-77 with 6:54 remaining. The Bobcats chipped away at the deficit in the final six minutes with a 20-7 run and were down 98-97 with 11 seconds left.   

MLB Network Adds Ryan Dempster

     Former Florida Marlins pitcher Ryan Dempster has joined MLB Network as a studio analyst. He pitched for the Boston Red Sox last year and helped that club win the 2013 World Series over the St. Louis Cardinals. Former Marlins teammates Kevin Millar and Cliff Floyd both currently work with MLB Network.
     Dempster played with the Marlins from 1998 until 2002 and had a record of 42-43 along with 628 strikeouts and a 4.64 ERA. He had stints with the Cincinnati Reds(2002-2003), Chicago Cubs(2004-2012) and the Texas Rangers(2012).

Marlins Fall To Braves

     The Miami Marlins finished a three-game set with the Atlanta Braves and were defeated 3-1 at Turner Field on Wednesday. The Marlins are now 1-8 on the road this season and play the Mets in New York this weekend.
     The Bravos moved ahead during the fourth inning against Nate Eovaldi. Chris Johnson led off as he reached base on a throwing error by shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria and went to second on a wild pitch. He scored on a single by Ryan Doumit into center field.
     The Fish were able to tie it 1-1 as they picked up one run off Aaron Harang in the sixth inning. Jeff Mathis got to first on a bunt single to the left side. After Eovaldi and Christian Yelich struck out, Marcell Ozuna singled to left field and advanced Mathis to second. Giancarlo Stanton followed with a base hit to shallow center field to score Mathis.
     In the eighth inning, the Braves regained the lead against the Marlins bullpen. Johnson walked to first against Mike Dunn with one out and Ramon Pena replaced him as a pinch runner. Dan Uggla got on base with an infield single up the middle. Evan Gattis came up to pinch-hit for Jordan Schafer and smacked a two-run double down the left field line off A.J. Ramos to give them a 3-1 margin.     
     Harang pitched six innings for Atlanta(14-7), gave up one run on six hits and stuck out 11 Marlins. Eovaldi went six innings, stuck out seven and allowed one run on five hits for Miami(10-12).

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Marlins Blank Braves

     Jose Fernandez pitched eight innings, struck out 14 batters and allowed no runs on three hits as the Miami Marlins shut out the Atlanta Braves 1-0 at Turner Field on Tuesday night. Fernandez improved his record this season to 3-1 as the Marlins won for the fourth time in their last five games. The Fish won their first road game this year after they lost their previous seven away games.
     Miami(10-11) got the only run in the game during the fourth inning against Alex Wood. Giancarlo Stanton doubled to left field with one out. Casey McGehee then knocked in Stanton with a base hit into center field. 
     Wood, whose record dropped to 2-3, went eight innings for Atlanta(13-7) as he struck out 11 Marlins and gave up just one run on four hits. Steve Cishek picked up his 33rd consecutive save for the Fish as he finished the final inning.

Braves Get By Marlins

     The Miami Marlins almost pulled off a late-inning comeback, but fell to the Atlanta Braves 4-2 in ten innings on Monday night at Turner Field. The Fish had their three-game winning streak snapped after they had swept the Seattle Mariners at home over the weekend.
     In the second inning, Garrett Jones smacked a lead-off solo homer to right field off Julio Teheran on a 1-2 pitch to give Miami(9-11) a 1-0 lead. It was his third home run with his new club this season.
     The contest with evened by Atlanta(13-6) during the fifth inning as Andrelton Simmons belted a home run with one out to left field on a 1-0 count against Tom Koehler.
     The Bravos got to the Fish again in the seventh inning to take their first lead 2-1. After Evan Gattis grounded out to short, Simmons singled to center field with one out and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Pinch-hitter Ryan Doumit slashed a base hit into right and Simmons moved to third. Mike Dunn then relieved Koehler and surrendered an RBI-single by Jason Heyward to right field for Simmons to score.
     The Marlins survived in the ninth inning when they faced Braves closer Craig Kimbrel. Jarrod Saltalamacchia started with a walk and Reid Johnson came into the game to pinch-run. Adeiny Hechavarria reached base on catcher's interference as Johnson went to second. Derek Dietrich followed with a double to deep left field to score Johnson and tie it at 2-2.
     Atlanta was victorious in the tenth inning against Arquimedes Caminero. Dan Uggla led off with a single into center field. Gattis then blasted a game-winning home run to left field on a 1-0 pitch for his fifth homer of the season.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Heat Roar By Bobcats

     The Miami Heat began a path toward their third consecutive NBA title on Sunday with a 99-88 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats at American Airlines Arena in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. The Heat have a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
     It was the second playoff series ever for the Bobcats franchise since they came into the NBA in 2005. The Heat have not played a team from Charlotte in the postseason since 2000-01 when they faced the Hornets, who later moved to New Orleans, and lost in the first round.
     LeBron James led the way for the Heat as he fell short of a double-double with 27 points and nine rebounds in 39 minutes. Dwyane Wade pumped in 23 points and Chris Bosh added 13 points. James Jones had a surprising 12 points off the bench while Chris Andersen carried through with eight points and 10 rebounds.
     Al Jefferson compiled a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Bobcats in 35 minutes. Kemba Walker had a team-high 20 points and six assists while reserve Gary Neal dropped down 17 points.
      Charlotte jumped out to a 19-11 margin and had a 23-19 lead after one quarter. Miami had a 20-4 spurt during the second quarter and were up 49-42 at halftime. The Bobcats scored the first ten points in the second half, but they were still behind 72-65 after three quarters. The Heat went on a 21-6 run midway through the fourth quarter and had a comfortable 95-75 lead with 4:31 remaining.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Miami Ratings March 2014

     104.3 The Ticket stayed on top as the highest rated sports radio station in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale region for the seventh straight month. It was an unusual period in which all three competitors in the market almost remained flat.
     The leader was 104.3 The Ticket as they went down slightly from a 1.5 to a 1.4 in March. Their overall lead was cut to a minimum. The station continued to have consistency with Miami Heat broadcasts along with their daytime lineup.
     Sports Radio 560 WQAM-AM went slightly up from a 0.7 to a 0.8 in the month of March. It was helpful that Florida Panthers games returned to the schedule even though they were far away from playoff contention. The midday block still held on to their audience. There is much anticipation at WQAM on the launch of their new afternoon show with Marc Hochman and Zach Krantz in April.
     940 The Sports Animal WINZ-AM remained the same at a 0.2 for the second consecutive month. The combination John Congemi and Troy Stradford finished the period as The Finsiders interim hosts, however Greg Likens will take over as the new host in April and the program will expand its time slot. The station also expects to see a positive response with the start of the Miami Marlins regular season broadcasts next month.

Denis Potvin Out As Senators Voice

     Former Florida Panthers television game analyst Denis Potvin announced his final Ottawa Senators game for Sportsnet in Canada on Sunday. His contract was not renewed as TSN will pick up the television rights for the club as of next season.
     He was the television game analyst for the Florida Panthers from their first season as an NHL franchise in 1993-94 until 2008-09. His broadcast partners as Panthers play-by-play announcer included Columbus Blue Jackets television voice Jeff Rimer, NBC Sports Network hockey voice Dave Strader and current Florida Panthers television play-by-play announcer Steve Goldstein.
     Potvin, who captained and captured four Stanley Cup championships with the New York Islanders during the early 1980s, worked as a freelance announcer for several Canadian television companies in 2009-10 until he began to work Ottawa Senators games in 2010-11.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Florida Panthers Get First Pick

     The Florida Panthers won the 2014 NHL Draft Lottery on Tuesday night in Toronto. They will select first with the number one overall pick for the 2014 NHL Draft in Philadelphia on June 26. The team was represented at the televised event by Vice President of Hockey Operations Travis Viola.
     The Panthers finished 29th overall in the National Hockey League during the 2013-14 ahead of the Buffalo Sabres. Due to a weighed lottery, the Cats had an 18.8 percent chance to get the top selection while Buffalo had a 25 percent chance.
     Florida finished last overall in the NHL back in 2012-13, however the second seeded Colorado Avalanche won the lottery and would select Nathan MacKinnon. The Panthers followed as they chose Aleksander Barkov with their selection.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Florida Panthers End Season

     The Florida Panthers concluded their 20th anniversary season with a 3-2 defeat to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night at BB&T Center. The Panthers, who lost 10 of their last 13 games, finished with a record of 29-45-8. The Blue Jackets ended up as the top wild card in Eastern Conference with the victory and will face the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round of the playoffs.
     In the first period, Columbus(43-32-7) scored on their first shot of the game just 47 seconds into the game. Matt Calvert made a lead pass to Brandon Dubinsky in the left circle, he put a cross-ice pass which was redirected by Cam Atkinson in the crease area. The Blue Jackets started out with a 16-3 shot advantage in the first ten minutes of the first period.
     After Panthers captain Ed Jovanovski received a five-minute elbowing penalty and a game misconduct, the Cats pulled off a shorthanded goal by Vincent Trocheck. He stole the puck from Atkinson at the Panthers line and carried it down the middle of the ice on a breakaway. His initial shot from the low crease was saved, but Trocheck poked in the rebound between the pads of Sergei Bobrovsky to tie it with 1:01 remaining in the first.
     Florida took their first lead early in the second period at 6:35. A right-angle pass by Brandon Pirri was received by Jimmy Hayes at the top right circle and he released a wrist shot from the right-circle dot for his 11th goal.
     A power-play goal by the Blue Jackets with five second left in the man advantage would even it 2-2 at 10:14. Ryan Johansen was in the left circle when he connected a pass to Mark Letestu at the top right circle. His slapshot got by Roberto Luongo as there was traffic in the blue paint.
     The Blue Jackets would get the eventual game-winning goal from Johansen at 5:58 on the power play. James Wisniewski fed a cross-ice pass from the right point to Johansen in the low left circle for a one-time slapshot.
     Luongo had his season record fall to 25-23-7 as he stopped 35 of 38 shots while Bobrovsky made 33 saves and improved to 32-20-5. The Panthers, who finished the season with the worst power play and penalty killing in the NHL, were 0-for-4 with the man advantage and Columbus was successful on two of five occasions.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Nationals Breeze By Marlins

     The Miami Marlins finished a three-game set in Washington D.C. with a 7-1 defeat to the Nationals on Thursday at Nationals Park. The Fish were swept by the Nats and will play a three-game weekend series in Philadelphia.
     Stephen Strasburg(1-1) got the victory for Washington(7-2) as he went 6 2/3 innings, gave up one run on three hits and struck out 12. Tom Koehler dropped to 1-1 for Miami(5-5) as he surrendered two runs on five hits in six innings.
     The Nationals got a two-out rally in the third inning to take the lead 2-0. Anthony Rendon walked and Jayson Werth followed with a two-run homer to center field on a 3-0 pitch.
     The Marlins made it 2-1 in the seventh inning as Marcell Ozuna popped a solo home run to left field on a 0-1 count for his second home run this year.
     In the eighth inning, Washington mowed down the Fish with five runs in the frame against Arquimenes Caminero. Rendon doubled to deep left and advanced to third on a base hit by Werth to center. After Adam LaRoche grounded out to first, pinch-hitter Kevin Frandsen walked to load the bases. Bryce Harper would then walk to score Rendon and increased the Nats lead to 3-1. Ian Desmond smashed a grand-slam home run to center field on a 1-1 pitch for his third homer this season.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Panthers Put Down Maple Leafs

     The Florida Panthers played their second-to-last game this season and beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 on Thursday night at BB&T Center. The Cats, who have won two of their last three games, conclude their 20th NHL season on Saturday against the playoff-bound Columbus Blue Jackets. The Maple Leafs lost their third straight game and 11th of its last 13 games.
     Florida(29-44-8) got on the scoreboard quickly at 6:06 of the first period to take the early lead. Quinton Howden sent a backhand pass from the left corner to Brandon Pirri at the top left circle and he snapped a shot by Drew MacIntyre. It was his 13rd goal this season and his sixth point in the last six games.
     In the second period, Toronto(38-35-8) was able to even the game at 4:13. Jake Gardiner carried the puck into the Panthers zone, fed Tyler Bozak in the left circle and he fired a slapshot through Roberto Luongo for the tally.
     The Panthers got a backbreaker of a goal with three seconds left in the period to make it 2-1. Nick Bjugstad skated the puck around the Maple Leafs cage for a wraparound pass from the left of the crease to Brad Boyes to the right of the blue point. He scored on a wrist shot for his 21st goal of the season.
     The Cats continued with their momentum early in the third period at 3:23 as they extended their lead to 3-1. Boyes cycled the puck from the left wing to behind the Leafs net, Sean Bergenheim tipped it to Bjugstad and he entered the low crease area and scored on a snap shot.
     Bjugstad would then score a shorthanded goal several minutes later at 6:02 for a three-goal cushion. Tomas Fleischmann came in on a 2-on-1 breakaway down the left side and give Bjugstad a cross-ice pass in the slot area for him to rip a wrist shot beyond the left glove of MacIntyre for his 16th goal. It was the second shorthanded goal by Florida at home this year and their seventh overall. Toronto gave up their league-leading 11th shorthanded goal on the road in 2013-14.
     The Maple Leafs closed to within two goals at 4-2 with 6:03 remaining. Bozak set up a slapshot by Paul Ranger at the top of the zone which went through traffic in the low slot and into the net. 
     Luongo improved his record this season to 25-22-7 this season as he made 27 saves. MacIntyre, who made his first start in net this year for Toronto, stopped 33 shots and fell to 0-1-0. Neither team scored on the power play as the Cats were 0-for-3 while the Leafs went 0-for-2.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Flyers Playoff Bound Over Panthers

     The Philadelphia Flyers clinched a playoff spot with a 5-2 victory over the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center on Tuesday night. The Cats lost for the sixth time in their last seven games and have two more home games left this season. The Flyers won six of their last seven games they have played in Sunrise.
     The first period was split based on both clubs momentum as neither team scored. Florida(28-44-8) outshot the Flyers 9-1 in the first ten minutes of the game then Philadelphia(41-29-9) had an 11-1 shot advantage for the remainder of the stanza.
     Philadelphia dominated the second period as they compiled four goals. Colby Robak fanned on a clearing pass behind his own net and Adam Hall put a shot on goal from the left of the crease. Vincent Lecavalier got the rebound and placed a wrist shot from the low shot between the pads of Dan Ellis for a 1-0 lead at 2:02. Lecavalier, who has scored five goals in the last seven games, became the seventh Flyer this season to hit the 20-goal plateau.
     The Flyers extended their lead to 2-0 at 6:29 when Nicklas Grossman gave a pass to Claude Giroux at center ice, he entered the Panthers zone and fired a snap shot from the top right circle into the net.
     Giroux would pick up his second goal of the game and his 27th goal this season just over two minutes later at 8:50. Mark Streit was in the right corner when he backhanded the puck to Giroux in the high slot for a one-time wrist shot.
     The Panthers would be down 4-0 with five minutes left. Braydon Coburn took a shot from the right point that went off Matt Read in traffic. Sean Couturier then scored on a snap shot from the low right circle for his 11th tally this year.
     Florida tried to chip away at the four-goal deficit during the third period. Erik Gudbranson made it 4-1 just 1:14 into the period. Former Flyer Scottie Upshall fed a pass from the right wing to Gudbranson at the right point and he sailed a wrist shot by Steve Mason.
     Jonathan Huberdeau followed with his ninth goal of the season at 5:38 as he snapped in a shot from the top left circle. He scored for the first time in 20 games since January 20 against Pittsburgh.
     The Flyers got a three-goal cushion with 4:54 to go. Hall won a faceoff in the right circle, Lecavalier carried the puck down the right circle and sent a cross-ice pass to Tye McGinn for him to redirect it into the Panthers cage. It would be one of only three shots by Philadelphia in the third period as they were outshot 16-3 by the Panthers.
     Ellis dropped to 5-11-0 this season as he stopped 22 of 27 shots. Mason made 38 saves and improved his record to 33-18-7. Both teams were scoreless on the power play as the Cats were 0-for-1 while the Flyers were 0-for-3.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Flames Slip By Panthers

     The Florida Panthers lost their fifth straight game as they fell to the Calgary Flames 2-1 at BB&T Center on Friday night. It was the first game of a five-game home stand for the Cats to finish their 20th anniversary season.
     All the scoring in this game occurred during the second period. Calgary(33-38-7) got out to a 1-0 lead when Kenny Agostino scored his first NHL career goal in his fifth game with the Flames at 1:34. Brian McGrattan attempted a shot from the slot area and Agostino followed with a wrist shot from the left circle that went by Roberto Luongo.
     Florida(27-43-8) tied the game on their second power play at 2:21. Brandon Pirri was in the high slot and passed to Jimmy Hayes in the right circle. His slapshot was saved to Joey MacDonald, however Vincent Trocheck put in the rebound with a snap shot from the slot for his fourth goal this season.
     The Flames would regain the lead several minutes later at 6:09. Jiri Hudler carried the puck around the Panthers net and sent a cross-ice pass from the right circle to Mike Cammalleri. He scored from the left circle for his 26th goal this year, 500th career point and 11th goal in the last 14 games.
     Luongo, who played in his 800th NHL game, dropped to 23-22-7 as he stopped 15 shots. MacDonald made 34 saves and raised his record to 5-4-1. The Cats were 1-for-2 on the power play while the Flames went 0-for-4 with the man advantage.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Alonzo Mourning Elected To Basketball Hall Of Fame

     Former Miami Heat center Alonzo Mourning has been elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. He had two stints with the Miami Heat where he played the majority of his 15-year NBA career. The Basketball Hall of Fame committee takes into consideration what a player accomplished both in college and pro basketball.
     Mourning was first noticed nationally as a center for Georgetown University from 1988 until 1992 alongside Dikembe Mutumbo. He was named the Big East Conference Player of the Year and Tournament MVP in 1992. Mourning was selected by the Charlotte Hornets as the second overall pick in the 1992 NBA Draft behind future Heat teammate Shaquille O'Neal.
     He would play three seasons with them and led them to the NBA playoffs twice along with Larry Johnson. A rift between both of them forced the club to traded Mourning to the Miami Heat in November 1995.
     The Miami Heat would win the Atlantic Division championship four consecutive years from 1997 to 2000 led by him and Tim Hardaway under head coach Pat Riley. They won their first two playoffs series in 1996-97 which included a seven-game series win over the New York Knicks in the second round. The Heat fell to the eventual NBA champion Chicago Bulls in five games during the Eastern Conference Finals. Miami would be eliminated in the next three postseasons from 1998 to 2000 by the Knicks.
     Mourning was an NBA First Team All-Star in 1999 and an NBA Second Team All-Star in 2000. He won a gold medal as a member of the USA basketball team at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.
     The Heat lost in the first round of the playoffs in 2001 to the Hornets after he played a limited amount of games during the season due to kidney disease. He would sit out the entire 2002-03 season and he eventually became a free agent.
     He signed with the defending two-time defending Eastern Conference champion New Jersey Nets in 2003-04, but retired one month into the season due to his kidney disease. Mourning would undergo a kidney transplant in December 2003. He would return to the Nets and played two months for them in 2004-05 until he was traded to the Toronto Raptors. He never played one game for them as his contract was bought out in February 2005.
     Mourning returned to the Miami Heat for his second stint in March 2005. He helped the franchise win their first NBA championship during the 2005-06 season as they came back from two games down to defeat the Dallas Mavericks in six games. He contributed eight points, six rebounds and five blocks in the title-clinching game.
     He played one more season for Miami in 2006-07 and injured his right knee after two months into the campaign. Mourning officially announced his retirement from the NBA in January 2009. At the time of his retirement, he was the all-time leader in career points and rebounds for the Heat.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Heat Drill Bucks

     The Miami Heat easily handled the Milwaukee Bucks 96-77 on Wednesday night at American Airlines Arena. The Heat, who are 30-6 at home this season and extended their winning streak to three games, remained ahead of the Indiana Pacers for first place in the Eastern Conference.
     Miami(52-22) led from wire-to-wire as they began the game with an 11-4 edge. The Heat continued their momentum as they were up 33-19 after one quarter and led 56-38 at halftime.  
    Milwaukee(14-61) stayed behind by more than double digits during the third quarter and were down 77-57 at the end of the period. The Bucks scored the first four points of the final quarter, but Miami responded with 11 consecutive points and had their biggest lead of 27 points at 90-63 with 5:37 to go.
     LeBron James had 17 points and eight assists in 29 minutes for the Heat. Chris Bosh added 15 points while Mario Chalmers contributed 14 points.
     Ramon Sessions led Milwaukee with a team-high 19 points and six assists while Pine Crest grad Brandon Knight poured in 11 points. Zaza Pechulia fell short of double-double as he had eight points along with 16 rebounds.

New Gig For The Amigo

     Larry Milian, a.k.a. The Amigo, has joined SoFloRadio.com as a Saturday late morning host. He will still continue to write for StateOfTheU.com and host a Wednesday evening show on that website.
     Milian has made numerous stops at several South Florida radio stations. He recently worked as a mid-afternoon co-host on 940 The Sports Animal WINZ-AM with Phil Domanic, a.k.a. Dizz, and later Troy Stradford from January 2012 until August 2013.
     Milian began his broadcasting career when he and Alan Strauss won an on-air contest in late 2005 to join 790 The Ticket WAXY-AM. They would be known as Dos Amigos, hosted a weekend show and later were elevated to the late night shift one year later. In addition, Milian was a high school football game analyst on 1360 WKAT-AM for several years.
     He moved on to 640 Sports WMEN-AM in late 2009 and co-hosted the afternoon show with Andy Slater until December 2009 when Ed Kaplan was hired by the station. Milian would work as a weekend host for the next several months.
     He then co-hosted the Armando and The Amigo morning show with Miami Herald sports columnist Armando Salguero from July 2010 until December 2011. They were joined in their tenure by South Florida Sun Sentinel sports columnist Chris Perkins as a third co-host in August 2011. Milian also did a Saturday late morning show with Domanic called the New York Sports Report from late June 2011 until December 2011.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Islanders Pounce On Panthers

     The Florida Panthers played there second-to-last game ever at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and were defeated by the New York Islanders 4-2 on Tuesday night. The Panthers were swept on their short two-game road trip as they fell on Monday night to the New Jersey Devils.
     It was the final road game this season for the Cats who have lost seven of their last eight games. They with finish the schedule with a five-game homestand beginning on Friday against the Calgary Flames.
     In the first period, Florida(27-42-8) scored on unassisted shorthanded goal just 1:50 into the game. Quinton Howden stole the puck at center ice, skated down the middle of the ice and ripped a shot over the blocker of Evgeni Nabakov for a 1-0 advantage. It was the fifth shorthanded goal by the Panthers this season all of which occurred on the road.
     The game was evened quickly by New York(30-35-10) at 2:35 on a power-play goal. Travis Hamonic took a slapshot from far range for just his third goal this year.
     The second period belonged to the Islanders as they tallied two goals. Ryan Strome dug the puck out of the right corner to Colin McDonald in the crease area for a close-range shot. Josh Bailey followed the play as he slapped it in from the top of the crease at 11:18.
     The Isles were able to pick up a two-goal cushion with 2:24 left in the period. McDonald placed a shot on net from the low right circle and Matt Martin came through the slot to put a wrist shot by Scott Clemmensen.
     The Islanders scored their fourth unanswered goal at 4:21 of the third period. Mike Halmo skated down the left side on a two-on-one and shot the puck from the left circle which was a blocker save by Clemmensen. Halmo would then bat in the rebound on the fly for his first career NHL goal.
     The Panthers came up with one final goal on the power play with 5.9 seconds remaining in the third. It was a mad scrabble for the puck until Brandon Pirri scored on a wrist shot from the right circle for his 11th goal this season.