Thursday, January 29, 2015

Panthers Cover Blue Jackets

     The Florida Panthers held on to defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 on Thursday night at BB&T Center and snapped a five-game losing streak. The Cats finished their five-game homestand with a 1-3-1 record and will play the next three games in the New York metropolitan area. They had not beaten the Blue Jackets since November 2007, a string of ten consecutive games.
     It was not until the second period when one of the squads scored. Columbus(21-23-3) got a goal at 1:08 when Cam Atkinson set things up with a pass from the left wing to Jack Johnson at the top of the zone for a slapshot.
     It took a short time for Florida(21-15-10) to respond as they put in a tally at 2:49 to tie the game. Aleksander Barkov had the puck on the end wall and slid it to Brad Boyes who then passed it to Jonathan Huberdeau in the low slot. He scored on a backhand shot for his ninth goal of the season. Barkov collected at least a point in six of the last seven games he has played.
     The Panthers took there first lead of the game at 11:36. Aaron Ekblad and Brian Campbell passed the puck back and forth until Ekblad blasted a slapshot from the right point that hit the inside top part of the Blue Jackets cage for his seventh goal in his rookie campaign.
     The Blue Jackets evened the contest at 2-2 with 1:26 remaining in the second. Artem Anisimov was at the right side of the net when his attempt to stuff in the puck popped up in the air. Alexander Wennberg was on the edge of the blue paint and batted it into the Panthers net for his second career NHL goal.
     The Cats pulled ahead 3-2 as they scored with 6:52 left in the third period. Dmitry Kulikov snapped a shot from the left point which was redirected in by Sean Bergenheim in the low slot area.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Red Wings Get By Panthers

     The Florida Panthers returned from the All-Star Game break with a 5-4 defeat to the Detroit Red Wings at BB&T Center on Tuesday night. It was the fourth game of a five-game homestand for the Cats who increased their losing streak to five games. The Red Wings won their sixth consecutive game and their eighth in the last nine games.
     Things began in an unusual way as Detroit(28-11-9) scored a shorthanded goal at 8:04 of the first period on the Panthers first power play. Jonathan Ericsson cleared the puck out of his zone to center ice and Drew Miller outhustled Aaron Ekblad for the loose puck at the Panthers blue line. He skated in on net and placed a backhand shot between the legs of Roberto Luongo for a 1-0 lead.
     The power play became a two-man advantage for Florida(20-15-10) and they were able to convert twice. Nick Bjugstad was in the left circle, fed a cross-ice pass to Aleksander Barkov in the low right circle and he snapped a shot by the left shoulder of Petr Mrazek to tie the game at 9:08. Brandon Pirri added another tally at 10:16 as he scored on a wrist shot from the edge of the right circle that barely crossed the goal line for a Panthers 2-1 margin. Prior to this game, the Cats were 1-for-23 on the power play in their last eight games.
     In the second period, the Red Wings responded quickly as they tied it 2-2 just 32 seconds into the frame. Gustav Nyquist shoveled a backhand pass from the end wall to the slot area which grazed off the stick of Justin Abdelkader. Henrik Zetterberg ripped a shot by the blocker of Luongo for his 15th goal of the season.
     Detroit regained the lead and then extended it in a time span of 1:19 as the same line scored twice. Riley Sheahan was to the left of the crease area and connected with Stephen Weiss and his backhand attempt was stopped by Luongo, however Luke Glendening pounced and scored on the rebound from the right of the blue paint at 7:07. They added another goal at 8:26 when Weiss scored from the left edge of the crease on a cross-ice pass from Sheahan.
     The Red Wings continued their momentum at 11:19 to make it 5-2. Weiss skated through the neutral zone and into the Panthers zone, threaded a lead pass to Glendening at the left circle dot and he released a wrist shot for his second goal of the contest. Al Montoya replaced Luongo in net for Florida one minute later.
     Florida attempted to climb out of the hole with 4:30 left in the second on the power play. Ekblad took a slapshot from the top of the zone which bounced off the back wall and Nick Bjugstad sliced a backhand shot from the left goal line into the top of the Red Wings cage as he tallied his 16th goal.
     The Panthers closed the margin down to 5-4 with 9:06 remaining in the third period. Barkov picked up a loose puck above the left circle, skated in and sent it to Brad Boyes in the slot where he redirected the puck by the left skate of Mrazek.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Former Local Talent On ESPN Radio

     Several former local sports media members have been added to the weekend lineup of ESPN Radio. They have put Prim Siripipat on a Saturday midday show along with Sarah Spain. Siripipat once worked for WFOR-TV Channel 4 as a sportscaster back in the late 2000s until she joined ESPN as a sports anchor.
     ESPN Radio has also picked up a podcast hosted by Israel Gutierrez which will be heard on Sunday late mornings. Gutierrez, who was a former Miami Heat beat writer for the Miami Herald, has been seen on ESPN as a sideline reporter on NBA broadcasts along with being a panelist on The Sports Reporters and Around The Horn.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Miami Ratings Holiday 2014

     The ratings came up for the holiday season for the Miami/Fort Lauderdale region and it seems to have almost no change in the numbers that appeared in the month of December. The holiday season consists of only a couple of weeks instead of a full month. None of the three stations anticipated any change of on-air personnel for January as they all did at this time last year.
     104.3 The Ticket WAXY-FM remained the same as it did in December with a 1.6. They did have a full slate of Miami Heat broadcasts during the holiday season. Sports Radio 560 WQAM-AM dropped slightly from a 0.9 to a 0.8 during the holidays. There was a smaller amount of University of Miami basketball broadcasts along with Florida Panthers broadcasts. Miami Sports 940 WINZ-AM stayed flat at a 0.3 with the end of the Miami Dolphins season.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Ken LaVicka Shifts To Middays

     ESPN West Palm 106.3 WUUB-FM has decided to make a change in personnel as Ken LaVicka will move from the afternoon show with Evan Cohen to The Home Team midday show with Josh Cohen as of Wednesday. He will replace Joe Colella as the sports anchor and sidekick on the midday shift while Colella goes to the same position on the Evan Cohen Show.
     LaVicka, a Valiparaiso University grad, remains as the radio play-by-play announcer for Florida Atlantic University in football and basketball. He has held that spot since August 2011 when he replaced Dave Lamont. LaVicka is expected to drop his role as the Miami Dolphins reporter for the station due to his new position. He had previously been a sports reporter, weekend host and high school football play-by-play announcer with sister station ESPN Radio 760 WEFL-AM.

Kevin Rogers Leaves WIOD

     Kevin Rogers has left News Radio 610 WIOD-AM. He has been a weekend news anchor at the station since October. He also was called on to work as a fill-in host at sister station Miami Sports 940 WINZ-AM. Rogers will continue as a writer and handicapper for
     He had a long reign at Sports Radio 560 WQAM-AM prior to that. Rogers joined that station in 2008 as an evening host and later added duties as the studio host for the Florida Panthers Radio Network in September 2010. He lost both positions when he was released in August 2014.
     Rogers, a Florida State University grad, first appeared in Miami during the mid 2000s as a late night host at 790 The Ticket WAXY-AM. He was later elevated in the organization to evening host, late morning host and Florida Panthers studio host. Rogers started his professional broadcasting career at KCSP-AM in Kansas City as a sports talk host.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Canucks Skate By Panthers

     The Florida Panthers played their final game prior to the All-Star Game break and were beaten by the Vancouver Canucks 2-1 at BB&T Center on Monday night. Both teams met each other over a week ago on January 8 in Vancouver with the Cats victorious 3-1 in Roberto Luongo's return to British Columbia.
     Vancouver(26-15-3) struck quickly as they scored twice in the first nine minutes of the game. Radim Brbata made it 1-0 at 3:25 with a one-time shot from the right of the crease by Luongo for his 18th goal of the season. Henrik Sedin won the left circle face-off and his brother Daniel Sedin sent a cross-ice pass to Vrbata from the low left circle.
     The Canucks extended their lead to 2-0 at 8:03 of the first period. Bo Horvat took an initial shot from the slot area which was saved and then poked in the rebound when the puck was lying in the blue paint. Jannik Hansen and Dan Hamhuis were credited with assists on the play.
     Florida(20-14-10) had to wait until late in the third period to break the shutout with 2:32 left in regulation time. Dave Bolland won a left circle face-off and dropped the puck back to Brandon Pirri at the top of the left circle. His wrist shot went over the left shoulder of Ryan Miller for the score. It was the first goal given up by Miller in three games. He had back-to-back road shutouts on consecutive days before he entered the game tonight. He surrendered a goal for the first time in 200:45 and his first road goal in 212:52.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Oilers Shock Panthers

     The Florida Panthers played the second game of a two-week, five-game homestand and fell to the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 in a shootout on Saturday night at BB&T Center. The Panthers were unable to win their first home game against the Oilers since 2002. The Oilers, who stopped a 14-game losing streak on the road, have now won six straight games in Sunrise.
     There was no scoring until the second period when Edmonton(11-26-9) broke the tie at 3:25. After Erik Gudbranson lost the puck at the Oilers blue line, Matt Fraser sent a lead pass to Jordan Eberle at center ice. He went in alone on a breakaway and put the puck over the left glove of Roberto Luongo.
     It did not take long for Florida(20-13-10) to tie it up as they did it at 5:41. Jussi Jokinen had the puck on the left point and passed it across to Gudbranson on the right point where he took a wrist shot that sailed over the left shoulder of Victor Fasth. It  was his second goal this season and his first goal in 38 games.
     The Cats took the lead with 5:31 left in the second. Dmitry Kulikov soft shot was stopped by Aleksander Barkov in the right circle and turned around and fired a shot off the left post. Jonathan Huberdeau followed up with a goal from the left edge of the blue paint.
     In the third period, the Panthers got their first power play of the game and they gave up a shorthanded goal at 6:32. A clearing pass by Aaron Ekblad was picked up by Mark Fayne in the neutral zone and he brought it into the Panthers zone. He spotted Boyd Gordon ahead of him in the high slot who then connected with Matt Hendricks streaking down the middle and he shot the puck by Luongo's blocker.
     Edmonton got the only tally during the shootout as they scored during the first round. Nail Yakupov was called upon to take his first shootout attempt of the season and he scored to the stick side.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Iginla Ties Bossy And Avs Edge Panthers

     The Florida Panthers returned home from a six-game road trip and lost to the Colorado Avalanche 4-2 at BB&T Center on Thursday night. Jarome Iginla scored an empty-net goal with 27 seconds left in regulation to tie Mike Bossy for 20th all-time in NHL career goals with 573. The Cats are currently in a stretch of facing seven straight Western Conference opponents.
     Early in the first period, Colorado(19-17-9) got on the scoreboard at 2:11. Tyson Barrie, son of former Florida Panther Len Barrie, skated in from the right point and snapped a shot from inside the right circle over the left shoulder of Roberto Luongo. John Mitchell fed him a pass from the left point to set up the goal.
     Florida(20-13-9) got an opportunity for the man advantage with a 5-on-3 situation and they scored at the beginning of the second power play. Brian Campbell guided the puck from the left wing to Aaron Ekblad at the top of the zone and he fired a slapshot by the right blocker of Semyon Varlamov at 5:15.
     The Avalanche regained the lead at 13:02 of the second period. Ryan O'Reilly cycled the puck from the right wing to the end wall. Gabriel Landeskog forced his way toward the Panthers cage and stuffed the puck in the short side.
     It was a quick response by the Cats as they evened the contest 23 seconds later. Jonathan Huberdeau poked the puck toward the right wing for Brad Boyes. His centering pass was redirected into the Avs net by Aleksander Barkov who was at the top of the crease.
     Colorado finally scored on the power play during their fifth attempt with 8:57 left in the third period. There was one second remaining on the penalty when a shot by Nick Holden from the top of the zone was deflected off a defender in front of him and into the Panthers net. Iginla capped things in the final minute with an empty-net goal for his 13rd tally of the season.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Heat Fall To Warriors

     The Miami Heat had their two-game win streak snapped by the Golden State Warriors 104-89 at Oracle Arena on Wednesday night. The Warriors swept the Heat during the regular season for only the second time since the 1993-94 season. Dwyane Wade did not dress for the Heat in this game.
     The Heat began the contest with a 7-3 edge until the Warriors responded with a 23-7 run. Golden State(31-5) controlled the first half as they led 26-18 after one quarter and 55-38 at the half. Chris Bosh compiled 16 points by halftime for Miami(17-22).
     The Warriors had a double-digit lead throughout the entire third quarter with the exception of a two-minute span and were up 81-63 at the end of the period. Miami got as close as nine points several times during the frame. They did not get within 12 points in the final quarter.
     Bosh had a team-high 26 points along with seven rebounds for the Heat while Hassan Whiteside made his first career start and finished with a double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds in 29 minutes. Luol Deng put together 19 points and seven rebounds. Stephen Curry led the Warriors with a game-high 32 points on 11-for-19 shooting from the field in 32 minutes.

Heat Coast By Lakers

     The Miami Heat continued their Western Conference road trip as they went wire-to-wire to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers 78-75 at Staples Center on Tuesday night. The Heat, who won consecutive games for the first time since November 23, are now 9-1 in their last ten encounters with the Lakers.
     Miami(17-21) shocked the entire arena and scored the first 18 points of the game. The Lakers put together a 12-4 spurt at the end of the frame and trailed 22-12 after one quarter. Dwyane Wade, who scored only four points, suffered a leg injury with just under six minutes left in the second quarter and did not return to the game. The Heat remained ahead by at least eight points for the remainder of the quarter and were up 44-34 at halftime.
     Los Angeles(12-27) was able to cut the deficit down to two points several times during the third quarter, however they were behind 61-53 as they entered the final quarter. The Lakers scored the first seven points of the fourth as they were down 61-60 with 10:18 left. It would be the closest they came from taking the lead in the game.
     Kobe Bryant was held to 3-for-19 from the field and compiled 12 points, seven assists and six rebounds in 31 minutes for the Lakers. Ed Davis and Jordan Hill both had a team-high 12 points for Los Angeles. Mario Chalmers put together a game-high 19 points and eight assists for Miami in 34 minutes. Hassan Whiteside came off the bench as he fell short of a double-double with 15 points and nine rebounds while Chris Bosh had a balanced game of eight points and eight rebounds.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Jets Blast Through Panthers

     The Florida Panthers finished their six-game road trip as they were pounded by the Winnipeg Jets 8-2 at MTS Centre on Tuesday night. The Cats completed the trip with a 4-2-0 record and return to Florida to play their first game of the calendar year on Thursday against Colorado.
     The first period belonged to Winnipeg(22-14-8) as they got two goals from Mathieu Perreault. The Panthers committed a giveaway at the top of their zone and the Jets capitalized. Zach Bogosian received the puck behind the Cats net from Michael Frolik at the left point. His centering pass was one-timed by Perreault from the crease at 7:24.
     The Jets added to their lead while they were at the end of their first power play at 11:24. Dustin Byfulien put the puck from the left point down to Bryan Little on the left wing. His cross-ice pass went to Perrealt at the inner edge of the right circle and he placed a wrist shot by the left glove of Roberto Luongo.
     Florida(20-12-9) surrendered four more goals during the second period. Byfulien put in two tallies for the Jets at 3:39 and 6:23. Dave Bolland scored his first goal as a Panther, after being signed as a free agent last July, at 5:14 on a wrist shot from the doorstep to break the shutout. Luongo was replaced in net by Al Montoya at the 6:37 mark.
     Winnipeg moved the margin up to 5-1 with 4:37 remaining in the second when a Toby Enstrom slapshot from the top left circle was deflected by Perrault in the crease area for his third goal of the game and the hat trick. Perrault compiled another goal with a backhand shot on the same shift just over a minute later at 16:32.
     In the third period, the Jets continued to roll and scored at 4:26. Jim Slater won a left circle face-off and the puck slid to Mark Stuart on the left point. He passed to his right where recent acquisition Jay Harrison blasted a one-time slapshot from the blue line through traffic.
     The Cats got one back at 5:39 on a 3-on-2 breakaway as Brad Boyes finished the play with a top-shelf shot from the right of the crease over Michael Hutchinson. Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov were both credited with assists on that play.
     The Panthers gave up another power-play goal later in the frame at 13:47. Evander Kane fired a shot from the top right circle on a feed from Enstrom on the top of the zone. Adam Lowry, son of former Florida Panther Dave Lowry, also had an assist on that tally.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Panthers Strike Oilers

     The Florida Panthers played the fifth game of their six-game road trip and topped the Edmonton Oilers 4-2 on Sunday night at Rexall Place. The Cats have won four of the their last five games and will meet the Oilers in Sunrise this Saturday.
     It took short notice for Florida(20-11-9) to get the lead as they scored 4:01 into the first period. Nick Bjugstad placed a soft pass from low left-circle dot to the slot area and Jimmy Hayes made a turnaround wrist shot by Ben Scrivens for his 13th goal this season.
     In the second period, Edmonton(10-24-9) was able to tie it at 4:07. Taylor Hall had a close-range shot saved by Roberto Luongo, however Jordan Eberle raced in and put in the rebound on a backhand shot from the crease area.
     The Panthers regained the lead a little over two minutes later as they cycled the puck around. Jussi Jokinen sent it to Aaron Ekblad at the right point and he forwarded it to Brian Campbell for a slapshot goal from the left point at 6:56.
     Both teams exchanged goals in less than a one-minute span early in the third period. Tomas Kopecky put in a one-timer from the low slot after it was pushed out from the end wall by Scottie Upshall and Derek MacKenzie at 5:08. Benoit Pouliot closed the gap for the Oilers to 3-2 just 32 seconds later. Sean Bergenheim lifted the Panthers to a 4-2 margin on a tally with 4:32 left in regulation.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Luongo Wins In Vancouver Return

     Roberto Luongo made his first appearance in Vancouver as the Florida Panthers beat the Canucks 3-1 at Rogers Arena on Thursday night. Luongo, who played eight seasons in Vancouver, was traded by the Canucks to the Cats at the trade deadline last year. He helped that club to the 2011 Western Conference championship and fell to the Boston Bruins in seven games during the Stanley Cup Final.
     Vancouver(23-13-3) got ahead early in the first period as they led 1-0 at 3:39. Henrik Sedin passed the puck from the end wall to Daniel Sedin in the slot area and he snapped a shot by Luongo.
     Florida(18-11-9) evened the contest as they buzzed around the Canucks cage. Brad Boyes sent the biscuit from the left goal line to Jonathan Huberdeau in the low slot for a one-time shot at 9:33. Alexander Edler accidentally put the puck by Ryan Miller into his own goal.
     In the second period, the Panthers captured their first lead of the game at 7:10. Aaron Ekblad fired a slapshot from the right point which was deflected in by Aleksander Barkov in the low slot.
     The Cats extended their margin to 3-1 with 3:17 left in the period. Dmitry Kulikov connected with Huberdeau on a long lead pass to set up a breakaway. He skated in and scored on a wrist shot for his second goal of the game and sixth this season.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

American Airlines Arena Celebrates 15 Years

     The American Airlines Arena in Miami celebrated its 15th anniversary at the beginning of the year. The facility has been the home of the Miami Heat of the National Basketball Association. The franchise moved just four blocks east from where Miami Arena once stood on N.W. 8th Street and Miami Avenue.
     It has hosted musical concerts, award shows, circuses, boxing and wrestling events in the past 15 years. The first event held at the Triple A involved Miami musical legend Gloria Estefan in concert on December 31, 1999 to bring in the new year, decade, century and millennium.
     The Miami Heat would play their inaugural game in their new arena on January 2, 2000. It would be the first NBA game ever played in the 21st century. The Heat defeated the Orlando Magic 111-103 in that contest. Magic center John Amaechi scored the first points this century with a five-foot shot in the lane during the opening minute.
     The Heat found success in their new home and captured three NBA championships as they topped the Dallas Mavericks in 2006, beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2012 and got by the San Antonio Spurs in 2013. In addition, they won two Eastern Conference titles in 2011 and 2014. The Heat have won numerous division titles during their 15-year stay in 2000, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.