Category Archives: Fake Panthers Jerseys

MacKenzie Weegar Jersey

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REST OF SEASON OUTLOOK AND POSITION RANK
Expect MacKenzie Weegar to be a reliable fantasy starter the rest of the season. His 61 projected fantasy points puts him at #50 behind Philippe Myers and ahead of Oscar Klefbom. He has averaged 1.27 fantasy points in his past 87 games. Our projected per game average is virtually the same. He is projected to average 1.24 fantasy points. His rank based on avg proj (#53) is worse than his rank based on total fantasy points. MacKenzie Weegar is expected to improve on this season-to-date’s #66 fantasy position rank.

REST OF SEASON RANK (D) PROJECTION FANTASY STATS SINCE 2019
#48 Rasmus Ristolainen (78% OWN) 62 FP, 1.32 per game 108 FP, 78 gp, 1.39 per game (#82)
#49 Philippe Myers (22% OWN) 62 FP, 1.27 per game 108 FP, 78 gp, 1.39 per game (#82)
#50 MacKenzie Weegar (27% OWN) 61 FP, 1.24 per game 66 FP, 64 gp, 1.03 per game (#126)
#51 Oscar Klefbom (87% OWN) 60 FP, 1.3 per game 88 FP, 61 gp, 1.44 per game (#75)
#52 Michal Kempny (49% OWN) 60 FP, 1.27 per game 125 FP, 71 gp, 1.76 per game (#50)
These projections power SportsLine’s Computer Picks and Fantasy Data. But for contest winning DFS optimal lineups by top experts like Mike McClure visit SportsLine’s new Daily Fantasy Hub.

SIT EM ALERT: MACKENZIE WEEGAR WEEK 11 AND 12 FANTASY OUTLOOK
MacKenzie Weegar is projected for 1.07 fantasy points in one game the rest of the week in week 11 which ranks him as the #101 projected defenseman for the week and a starter for most fantasy teams. This is projected to be a below average game with fewer fantasy points than he is projected to average per game the rest of the season. He is ranked above Ryan McDonagh but behind Rasmus Ristolainen the rest of the week. Week 12 will be better based on projected rank (#57). He is projected for 3.73 fantasy points.

12/13 TO 12/15 RANK (D) PROJECTION ROS FP PROJ AVG
#99 Tyler Myers (19% OWN) 1.1 FP, 2 GP 0.59 FP
#100 Rasmus Ristolainen (78% OWN) 1.09 FP, 1 GP 1.32 FP
#101 MacKenzie Weegar (27% OWN) 1.07 FP, 1 GP 1.24 FP
#102 Ryan McDonagh (47% OWN) 1.07 FP, 1 GP 1.12 FP
#103 Samuel Girard (37% OWN) 1.07 FP, 1 GP 0.75 FP
12/16 TO 12/22 RANK (D) PROJECTION ROS FP PROJ AVG
#55 Ryan Pulock (58% OWN) 3.79 FP, 3 GP 1.26 FP
#56 Oliver Ekman-Larsson (89% OWN) 3.76 FP, 3 GP 1.17 FP
#57 MacKenzie Weegar (27% OWN) 3.73 FP, 3 GP 1.24 FP
#58 Alex Goligoski (69% OWN) 3.65 FP, 3 GP 1.14 FP
#59 Justin Holl (2% OWN) 3.63 FP, 3 GP 1.06 FP
FANTASY PROJECTIONS AND ACTUAL STATS
The tables below show projected stats (totals and averages) for the rest of the season and upcoming weeks. Also included are actual stats from the current and last season.

MACKENZIE WEEGAR FP PTS G A SOG BLK
Rest of ’19-20 61 18.9 5.4 13.5 82 71
– Per Game (49 Proj) 1.23 0.39 0.11 0.28 1.68 1.44
12/9 to 12/15 (1 Game) 1.07 0.37 0.10 0.26 1.58 1.41
12/16 to 12/22 (3 Games) 3.73 1.15 0.33 0.82 4.8 4.1
’19-20 Season 44.5 11 3 8 41 25
– Per Game (23 GP) 1.93 0.48 0.13 0.35 1.78 1.09
’18-20 Seasons 110 26 7 19 120 128
– Per Game (87 GP) 1.27 0.30 0.08 0.22 1.38 1.47

Frank Vatrano Jersey

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Following a breakout 2018-19 season for the Florida Panthers, forward Frank Vatrano is continuing to thrive on Florida’s third line.
The 25-year-old native of Massachusetts was previously acquired from the Boston Bruins during the 2017-18 NHL season for only a third-round draft pick. As a member of the Florida Panthers, Frank Vatrano has produced consistent numbers on the offensive end, earning a permanent role on the top-nine forward unit.

The undersized winger has seemingly developed into a reliable sniper and 5-v-5 weapon for Florida. While participating in 81 regular-season games during the 2018-19 campaign, Vatrano recorded career-high marks in goals (24), assists (15), points (39), penalty minutes (38), and games played (81).

More impressively, Frank Vatrano recorded 22 even-strength goals, providing the power-play reliant Cats with a much-needed 5-v-5 goal-scoring option. Furthermore, Vatrano also developed into a dependable two-way winger on Florida’s third line, playing a proficient game on the defensive end, too.

While averaging roughly 15 minutes of ice time per game, Vatrano recorded a whopping 139 hits as well as 74 blocked shots. As well, he even registered more takeaways (33) than giveaways (30) on the season. While things didn’t necessarily work out with Vatrano’s hometown Bruins, the Panthers certainly found themselves a diamond in the rough.

Vatrano’s contributions during the 2019 NHL season earned himself a well-deserved three-year contract extension. The extension carries an annual average salary of $2.53 million per season. Considering he’s already established himself as a polished top-nine scoring weapon, GM Dale Tallon locked up “Frank the Tank” for an absurd bargain price.

The 2019-20 season has been a pretty good one for the consistent producing Vatrano. While participating in 18 games, the durable Vatrano has already recorded 6 goals and 3 assists for 9 total points, averaging approximately 0.50 points per game.

In addition, Vatrano has seemingly gained the trust of new bench boss Joel Quenneville, playing a career-high of nearly 16 minutes of ice time per game.

As well, Quenneville has given the versatile, speedy Vatrano with opportunities on the power-play and penalty kill units. Despite producing mostly during 5-v-5 action, Vatrano has already recorded one goal on the PP and one goal on the PK, thus far.

On the defensive end, Vatrano has continued his brilliance in his own zone. The lightning-quick winger has produced 16 blocked shots as well as 14 total hits, along with more takeaways (5) than giveaways (3) on the season.

Essentially, Vatrano has been a crucial component in Florida’s race for a top-three seed in the Atlantic Division this season. Moreover, the feisty Vatrano has provided the Panthers’ third line with stability, forming excellent chemistry with speedy linemate Denis Malgin.

In essence, Frank Vatrano has unquestionably provided a positive impact on the Panthers, helping the Cats win a majority of games by embracing a more significant role on the team.

He’s arguably been one of the most underrated and underappreciated players on this team, as he always brings maximum effort and hustle on a nightly basis.

Jayce Hawryluk Jersey

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After deciding to keep pending UFA Mike Hoffman on the roster to start the season,there have been multiple differing opinions on about his value to the team.
There’s a lot of great things about Mike Hoffman‘s game as a Florida Panther. Led the team in power-play goals, held a massive point streak in his first month with the team, and has one of the loudest slapshots in the NHL. Since arriving, he’s been a massive part of the power play that ranked 2nd in the NHL last season.

There’s also a good amount of questionable things about Hoff’s play. He’s not the fastest skater, doesn’t use his size as well as a lot of others his frame, and shows a consistent struggle to contribute at even strength.

Personally, I’ve gone through a lot of different opinions on Hoffman. At times, I’ve had to appreciate how much work he’s done for the Panthers’ power play, whether it was him scoring or just providing an option. Others points, usually when the Panthers are struggling, it’s incredibly frustrating to watch Hoffman’s little creativity at even strength.

Hoffman, unlike Aleksander Barkov or Evgenii Dadonov, doesn’t really create his own shot effectively. He doesn’t have much of a go-to move when isolated, but rather creating space off the puck and waiting for a perfect saucer pass to clock into the top shelf.

In 108 games as a Panther, Hoffman has produced an impressive 88 points, with 46 of those being goals. Since the start of last season, that is the most goals out of any Panthers player in that time frame, with Barkov’s 42 as a close second.

While that’s one way to look at it, you also have to look at the points shares between 5v5 and 5v4/5v3. Out of Hoffman’s 88 points, 42 of them have been on the power play, the most amongst forwards since Hoffman’s debut. Keith Yandle‘s 50 points top Hoff’s 42, however, Yandle has only had eight goals amongst those 50 points, whereas Hoffman has 22 power-play goals.

So, there’s a clear sign that Hoffman is much more of a threat on the man advantage in comparison to 5v5, but even still, he’s scored the most goals amongst Panthers since he joined. That continues to raise the question, how do you value him?

He’s played on three lines since joining the Panthers, showing he has too much talent compared to the third liners, but not being able to consistently play with Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau on the top line. Hoffman has typically played on the second line with Vincent Trocheck and Frank Vatrano (or Brett Connolly this season).

With all that considered, a glaring problem with Hoffman at the moment is that he is a pending UFA. With the Panthers having to pay both Hoffman and Dadonov this off-season, it seems more likely Dadonov will be the one who is extended.

With players like Kevin Hayes getting $8 million, it’s likely that both Hoffman and Dadonov, both 30, will look for around that same price tag. The Panthers will likely have around $12.4 million in free cap space with Jayce Hawryluk and Mark Pysyk coming off the books, and it’s very unlikely that Hoffman and Dadonov will call it even and take $6 million each.

With that, it makes Hoffman expendable, to an extent. If Florida can dangle him to a team in need of goalscoring in exchange for a decent defenseman, Dale Tallon could consider pulling the trigger. Trading Hoffman, someone who’s shown he can put together a consistent point streak at any time, might not be a good idea for a team that wants to make a deep playoff run.

Josh Brown Jersey

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ISLANDERS (20-7-2) at PANTHERS (15-10-5)

7 p.m. ET; FS-F, MSG+, NHL.TV

The Game
The New York Islanders will look to complete a season sweep of the Florida Panthers when they meet at BB&T Center on Thursday.

The Islanders, 4-2-0 in their past six games, won 3-2 in a shootout at Nassau Coliseum on Oct. 12 and 2-1 at Barclays Center on Nov. 9.

Goalie Thomas Greiss will start for New York; he’s 1-3-0 with a 2.84 goals-against average and .917 save percentage in his past four starts after winning his previous eight starts.

The Panthers look for their fourth victory in six games (3-2-0) following a three-game losing streak. Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky will make his fourth consecutive start after stopping 109 of 113 shots against the Columbus Blue Jackets (4-1 win on Saturday), San Jose Sharks (5-1 win on Sunday) and Tampa Bay Lightning (2-1 loss on Tuesday).

Players to watch
Islanders forward Josh Bailey has seven points (one goal, six assists) in his past six games.

Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau has six points (one goal, five assists) in a four-game point streak.

They said it
“Both Florida teams have outstanding special teams. [The Panthers have] got some high-end guys. We can’t lose the special teams war; that’s a big advantage for them. Five-on-five we can play with anybody.” — Islanders coach Barry Trotz

“He’s been unbelievable. He’s absolutely stood on his head. We kind of let him down the other night against Tampa [Bay]. He did a great job behind us, but we’re looking to build on his big performances so far.” — Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad on goalie Sergei Bobrovsky

Islanders projected lineup
Ross Johnston — Mathew Barzal — Josh Bailey

Anthony Beauvillier — Brock Nelson — Michael Dal Colle

Anders Lee — Derick Brassard — Jordan Eberle

Matt Martin — Casey Cizikas — Cal Clutterbuck

Noah Dobson — Johnny Boychuk

Adam Pelech — Ryan Pulock

Devon Toews — Scott Mayfield

Thomas Greiss

Semyon Varlamov

Scratched: Leo Komarov

Injured: Nick Leddy (lower body)

Panthers projected lineup
Jonathan Huberdeau — Aleksander Barkov — Evgenii Dadonov

Mike Hoffman — Vincent Trocheck — Brett Connolly

Frank Vatrano — Noel Acciari — Denis Malgin

Dominic Toninato — Brian Boyle — Colton Sceviour

Keith Yandle — Aaron Ekblad

MacKenzie Weegar — Anton Stralman

Mark Pysyk — Josh Brown

Sergei Bobrovsky

Chris Driedger

Scratched: Mike Matheson

Injured: Jayce Hawryluk (upper body)

Status report
Leddy practiced Wednesday and took part in the morning skate Thursday but will miss a second consecutive game. Trotz said Leddy was “progressing quite well.” … Hawryluk, a center, was assigned to Springfield of the American Hockey League on a conditioning loan Monday. … Malgin will return to the lineup after being a healthy scratch the past three games. He will replace forward Aleksi Saarela, who was loaned to Springfield on Monday. … Matheson will be a healthy scratch for the first time this season.

Stat pack
The Islanders are 18-0-1 when scoring three or more goals. … New York has been outshot in each of its past seven games. … Florida has been assessed the fewest penalties (88) and fewest penalty minutes (204) in the NHL. … Barkov has seven points (three goals, four assists) in his past six games.

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Rostislav Olesz Jersey

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před závěrečnou sirénou vítězství 2:0 nad Zlínem.

„Chtěl jsem to dostat ven směrem k bráně. Ani jsem kvůli ledu nevěděl, jestli to tam dojede,“ popsal Olesz, který hrál ve třetím útoku s Vilémem Burianem a Lukášem Nahodilem.

Po konci utkání si pak střihl i skromnou děkovačku, před kterou si zašel i pro radu k brankáři Branislavu Konrádovi. „Je těžké hned vědět, co se vše dělá. Led tomu nepřál, aby se nějak skákalo,“ usmíval se.

Nejen fanoušci, ale i trenér Zdeněk Moták byl s výkonem svého nejnovějšího svěřence spokojený. „V zápase ukázal, že tou svou zkušeností a spolehlivostí dokáže mužstvu opravdu pomoct,“ hodnotil starší z trenérské dvojice hanáckého celku.

Rostislav Olesz
Olesz: Skromnější Olomouc? Věděl jsem, do čeho jdu
PŘEČÍST ČLÁNEK ›
ŠÍLENÉ PODMÍNKY PRO HOKEJ, ŠTVALO MOTÁKA
Jinak se mu zápas navzdory výhře hodnotil těžko. Na vině byly špatné podmínky.

„Led byl šílený, počasí ten zápas hodně ovlivnilo. Každý kotouč, který jel po ledě, tak skákal. To v přesilovkách nemůžete chtít po hráčích vůbec nic,“ řekl po utkání, v němž jeho tým nevyužil osm početních výhod.

Olesz přikyvoval: „Byly těžké podmínky, ale snažili jsme se nějak hrát. Bylo tam několik šancí, ale i ten led přispěl k tomu, že to třeba nakonec nedopadlo,“ zmínil. Sám měl velkou šanci už v první třetině, únik mu ale faulem překazil Žižka. K údivu tribun se nepískalo trestné střílení, zlínský kapitán dostal jen menší trest.

V ZÁVĚRU BERANI DVAKRÁT ZAZVONILI
První gól utkání padl až v 36. minutě, kdy Valenta krásně našel volného Strapáče, který sám před brankářem nezaváhal. Berani sahali po vyrovnání v závěrečných minutách střetnutí, když Dufek a po něm Nosek nastřelili tyč Konrádovy branky. Vyrovnat se jim ale nepovedlo a následně přišlo Oleszovo razítko.

Hanáci tak Zlín porazili v přípravě i podruhé, tentokrát navíc s nulou, kterou se jim povedlo připsat poprvé během testovacího období. „Nula určitě těší. I když tam byly na konci tyčky, pro sebevědomí mužstva je to dobré,“ uvedl Moták.

K dalšímu zápasu nastoupí olomoučtí hokejisté v úterý. V rámci přípravy se představí naposledy doma, hostit budou brněnskou Kometu s ex-trenérem Kohoutů Petrem Fialou.

Alex Rašner
Obránce Mory Alex Rašner se připravuje s Havířovem
PŘEČÍST ČLÁNEK ›
HC Olomouc – PSG Berani Zlín 2:0 (0:0, 1:0, 1:0)
Branky a nahrávky: 36. Strapáč (Valenta, Kolouch), 60. Olesz. Rozhodčí: Mrkva, Kubičík – Gebauer, Rožánek. Vyloučení: 6:8. Bez využití.

Olomouc: Konrád – Škůrek, Vyrůbalík, Jaroměřský, Ondrušek, Švrček, Dujsík, Valenta – Tomeček, Knotek, Ostřížek – Klimek, Kolouch, Strapáč – Olesz, Nahodil, Burian – Hecl, Handl, Laš.

Zlín: Huf (31. Kořének) – Žižka, Gazda, Ferenc, Řezníček, Nosek, Freibergs, Buchta, Talafa – Fořt, Okál, Šlahař – Honejsek, Szturc, Fryšara – Popelka, Köhler, Dufek – Sedláček, Kratochvíl, Fajkus.
Zdroj: https://olomoucky.denik.cz/hokej_region/mora-na-silenem-lede-skolila-zlin-olesz-slavil-premierovy-gol-20190829.html

Roberto Luongo Jersey

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It was only a couple of months in and already Roberto Luongo was bored.

He had barely left behind his NHL career, having retired June 26 at 40 years old. But as he told NHL.com on Wednesday, “There are just so many naps you can take during the day before you’ve reached your limit.”

So when training camp began for the Florida Panthers, there was the former goalie, watching games and practices, having conversations with executives, hanging around and learning. He was even in Boston on Tuesday for the Panthers’ come-from-behind shootout win against the Boston Bruins, a day before his role with the organization would become official, as a special advisor to general manager Dale Tallon.

And yet, this hadn’t been the plan from the start.

Luongo said he hadn’t contemplated rejoining the organization where he spent 11 of his 19 NHL seasons, or certainly not quite so soon, though he thought it was something that eventually might appeal to him. But the Panthers approached him during the summer and, given his empty schedule and the long days stretching before him, he was happy to listen.

NHL Now: Goldstein on Luongo
06:46 • June 27th, 2019

“My decision was made, knowing that it was time for me to step away,” Luongo said. “Obviously I wanted to somehow stay involved in the future with the team, but I didn’t expect it to come this early.

“It was something that excited me right away because I was, at that point, not in a great space. Really kind of in limbo. I wasn’t training to get ready for the season, so I was having a tough time with it at that point.”

He wasn’t missing the game, exactly. But he felt adrift.

This made sense.

He started shadowing people in the organization, from director of player personnel Bryan McCabe, to assistant general manager Eric Joyce, to director of hockey operations and salary cap management Braden Birch.

NHL Tonight: Luongo retires
02:15 • June 27th, 2019

“Right now it’s just about learning everything,” Luongo said. “The day-to-day activities is what makes it exciting, roster construction, roster decisions, what do we do, what can’t we do, as far as the cap. There’s kind of a big puzzle piece that you’re trying to put together every day. I find that super interesting and it’s something that I like doing.”

For years, Luongo has played fantasy sports, of both the daily fantasy and season-long varieties.

“I’m a huge fantasy guy, fantasy baseball, fantasy football, and I know it’s a lot different, but the concept is a little bit the same, as far as managing teams, making rosters, and all that kind of stuff,” he said. “It was always something I had a fascination with, that I enjoy.”

Add that to nearly two decades of time around the NHL, including a trip to the 2011 Stanley Cup Final as a member of the Vancouver Canucks, losing in Game 7 to the Bruins, and he thinks he has the tools and experience to add to the Panthers.

Luongo, who lives year-round in Parkland, Florida, is second in NHL history in games played by a goalie (1,044), third in wins (489), and ninth in shutouts (77), and is one of three goalies to have topped 1,000 games.

Best of Roberto Luongo
01:04 • June 27th, 2019

He can see himself, eventually, being part of the decision-making process, being part of making the Panthers a perennial contender. They have missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of the past three seasons and have not won a round since they made a surprising run to the Stanley Cup Final in 1995-1996, their third season in the League.

“It’s home,” Luongo said. “I think the main thing is just to bring a little stability to the franchise and I think we’re right there, about [to turn] the corner, just being a team that’s there every year. You look at [the Tampa Bay Lightning], they’re a contender every year now, for how many years straight? You want to be in that same type of place, where every year you’re contending. People get excited about that.”

Quinton Howden Jersey

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The Winnipeg Jets’ run on versatile forwards continues, with the signing of 2010 1st rounder Quinton Howden to a one-year, two-way deal worth $650,000 AAV at the NHL level.

The 24-year-old native of Oakbank, Manitoba was not extended a qualifying offer by the Florida Panthers, thus becoming an unrestricted free agent on July 1st. Harvey Fialkov of the Sun Sentinel recently shed some light on the situation:

He had six goals and five assists while playing mostly on the fourth line and penalty-killing unit.

Howden, who was arguably the fastest skater in the Panthers’ organization, averaged nearly 33 goals in his final three seasons with the Moose Jaw Warriors in the Ontario Hockey League, but hasn’t shown a finishing touch in the NHL. Howden is arbitration eligible and the Panthers didn’t want to deal with defending their position.

The article goes on to quote Panthers GM Tom Rowe, who said “He didn’t put up the numbers he wanted to and what was projected when he came out of junior”. Between Howden’s arbitration eligibility and apparently underwhelming returns, it becomes easier to understand why Florida allowed him to walk.

Howden’s scouting report, as per The Hockey News:

Assets: Displays great versatility up front, as well as two-way acumen. Kills penalties effectively, too. Can put up good numbers at lower levels. Owns a very projectable frame.

Flaws: Does not own elite skills to produce top-six forward numbers at the National Hockey League level. Must add more bulk to his 6-2 frame in order to thrive in a bottom-six forward role.

Career Potential: Inconsistent two-way winger with a little upside.

Contract-wise, Howden is coming off an NHL salary of $850,500, or over 200k more than his deal with Winnipeg. With that said, the deal’s two-way nature cements his status as a bubble player, one just as liable to be headlining the Moose as providing bottom-six NHL depth. It should be noted that while the 6’2″, 189 lb C/LW has a penalty killing reputation, he played just 06:34 min shorthanded time on ice last season, good for a per game average of 00:06. Considering his organizational fall from grace in Florida, there’s only so much to gather from this usage or lack thereof.

Abundantly clear #NHLJets prospects/hopefuls will have to fight for a chance to jump up to the big club. Internal competition will be strong

— Sean C. Reynolds (@snseanreynolds) July 1, 2016
Bringing Howden aboard is a minor yet excellent move by the Jets. It’s exactly the kind of no-risk free agent flyer a team mostly leaning on internal succession should use contracts on. His days with Moose Jaw may be a distant memory, but Howden remains a young-ish player with still-untapped potential. The worst case scenario here is that Howden provides capable depth with the Manitoba Moose, hardly an undesirable end considering how their 2015-16 season unfolded. In training camp, the 24-year-old will serve as competition for those younger still. And should he earn an NHL roster spot, he’ll allow others greater development time and opportunity in the AHL. The bar is low for Winnipeg to have found real value here.

What’s your reaction to the Quinton Howden signing? Is he destined for the Winnipeg Jets or the Manitoba Moose? Are there any other young-ish players without qualifying offers you would like to see Winnipeg bring into the fold? And how long until I misspell Quinton?

Share your thoughts, questions and concerns in the Comments section below, and as always, thanks for reading!

Peter Worrell Jersey

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Fayetteville hockey teams haven’t had a full-time assistant coach since the FireAntz helped form the Southern Professional Hockey League for the 2004-05 season.

That changed — in a big way — Monday when the second-year Marksmen announced the hiring of former NHL enforcer Peter Worrell to be Jesse Kallechy’s assistant coach. Worrell, 6-foot-7 and 230-pounds-plus as a pro player, spent the bulk of five seasons and parts of two others in the NHL. He racked up more than 1,500 minutes in NHL penalty boxes with the Florida Panthers, who drafted him in the seventh round in 1995, and Colorado Avalanche.

“I was trying to cast a wide net,” Worrell said Monday evening. “I sent resumes to teams at a whole different bunch of levels, and this is one of the groups that called me back. After talking to Jesse and seeing what his vision was and how his philosophy is in coaching hockey, I thought we aligned pretty well and I thought this would be a good situation.”

Since 2010, the 40-year-old Worrell has been the head coach of a club hockey team at Florida Atlantic University, and he later added the dual role as varsity coach at North Broward Prep School.

“I put some feelers out there and posted the job on a pretty credible hockey website,” Kallechy said. “I got probably 200-plus applicants, some of whom were really, really good. I got everything from assistant coaches in the NHL to one guy who had never played or coached hockey and was a football coach.

“Peter and I talked for about an hour and a half the first time we talked, and we spoke on and off for a couple of weeks. So it was probably about a month in the making with the interview process and me weeding through the candidates.”

Worrell was a fearsome force in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, racking up 464 penalty minutes in one season for the Hull Olympiques and 495 the following year. Those two seasons came after he had been drafted 166th overall by Florida, and he spent 19 games on the Panthers roster as a rookie in addition to 50 with the New Haven Beast in the Triple-A American Hockey League.

The next season, he played in 62 of the Panthers’ 82 games, followed by four full years in Florida. In 2003-04, he joined the Avalanche, then was forced to sit out the next season due to an NHL lockout. He completed his pro playing career in Charlotte in 2005-06 with the Double-A ECHL Checkers.

During his NHL days, especially in Florida, he was a team’s go-to tough guy — someone who didn’t back down from dropping the gloves against the likes of Bob Probert, Zdeno Chara, Tie Domi and Stu Grimson.

Worrell said he can bring a different perspective to the bench from most players who toil in the Single-A SPHL in their attempt to reach higher levels and more.

“I know where they’re coming from and what they’re trying to aspire to,” Worrell said. “I was by no means that top prospect destined to be in the NHL, I had to work for it. I had to get a lot of lucky breaks, I had to do things the right way, and I was able to persevere. If I can teach guys above and beyond the game about how they can represent themselves, that’s one way I can help out.”

He’ll be a valuable asset to Kallechy, a first-time head coach who was hired in the offseason after helping guide Huntsville to the 2017-18 SPHL crown as a Havoc assistant.

A full-time assistant coach “is something I talked with Chuck about,” Kallechy said of team owner Chuck Norris. “I know the value that an assistant coach can bring, and I know that being a head coach is a lot of work for somebody to do by themselves.

“One thing I’ve learned is that in this job, the right partnership between the head coach and an assistant is pretty fluid. There’ll be issues that’ll come up that we won’t be prepared to deal with, but we’ll try to balance our strengths and weaknesses and help each other as much as possible. I’m excited to see where it goes. With his experience, all of the players and myself would be silly not to take advantage of it.”

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The Maple Leafs and Flames are on similarly odd trajectories this season. Slow starts. Unexpected and coaching changes. Recent surges that have begun to sow seeds for optimism.

And so it was they met Thursday night at the Saddledome in a game that promised drama. Calgary came in with six straight wins and points in eight consecutive games. Toronto had won six of its last nine, including two previous outings on the road.

Cue up the theatrical music, please.

It was evenly played until the third period, and in that way, as good as it gets. Momentum see-sawed back and forth like an NBA game. Close chances drew gasps from the crowd.

In the end, it was a hard-fought 4-2 loss for the Maple Leafs. The good they had accomplished for 40 minutes was undone when the Flames scored three times in less than three minutes to start the third. Johnny Gaudreau scored 19 seconds in and then again on a deflection to end the uprising. In between, Michael Frolik did the damage.

Calgary climbed into second place in the Pacific Division. Toronto has a chance to get back on track against the Oilers in Edmonton on Saturday. Connor McDavid and Co. have lost three in a row but still have 40 points, same as the Flames.

The Maple Leafs aren’t advancing much in the standings because they fell too deep into a hole with their erratic play to start the season. But they are gaining in confidence and playing better since Sheldon Keefe replaced Mike Babcock on the bench. They have killed 21 of the last 23 penalties. They were a dam looking for a hole to burst in the first 20 or so games.

Toronto held the lead twice, once on a first-period goal by John Tavares, then later when Mitch Marner put them ahead with 5:54 remaining in the second period. For Tavares, the Maple Leafs captain, it was the sixth goal in as many games.

With the exception of those three badly played minutes, and that is a big exception, it was game played well enough by both to be admired.

For much of the evening, the goalies shined. In one span of a half-minute in the second period, the Flames’ David Rittich and the Maple Leafs’ Frederik Andersen swapped spectacular saves. Milan Lucic, who is becoming a fan favourite in the Stampede city with hustle and grind, made a bone-rattling hit.

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Toronto’s loud and boisterous fans did their best to drown out Calgary’s followers. They traded cheers and jeers with equal aplomb.

Until very recently, both teams were on missions of misadventure. The Maple Leafs dismissed Babcock after a slow start — and then allegations arose that raise eyebrows about his coaching techniques, if not his acumen. The Flames were just starting to come around when Bill Peters resigned after he was accused of using a racial slur against a former player.

Calgary has not yet lost since Geoff Ward was named interim head coach for the rest of the season. He is 7-0. That is something to be excited about in Calgary.

Toronto is 15-14-4 and 6-4 under Keefe.

“I feel like I’m getting a pretty good handle on the group, but we are still a long way from where we want to be,” he said after the morning skate.

There were more dramatic moments in the NHL last night — Jack Eichel scored twice for Buffalo, to extend his point streak to 15 games. Joe Thornton skated in the 1,600th game of his career when the Sharks hosted the Rangers in San Jose.

But this wasn’t. Even when they trailed 4-2 in the third, the outcome looked a bit iffy. The Maple Leafs had a 5-3 power-play for 1 minute 34 seconds and failed to score. Auston Matthews whistled one that ricocheted around but never crossed the goal line.

It came at the end of a flurry of hard shots. When it was over, he leaned against the cross bar and caught his breath.

“It should be a pretty good game,” Tavares said earlier. “Both of us are trying to build on good things.”

He was right about that. The Flames look like they are in control of the season again. The Maple Leafs have to go back to building.

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Šestatřicetiletý obránce Lukáš Krajíček má bohaté zkušenosti s NHL, a za Česko si dokonce zahrál pod pěti kruhy. Nyní už nějaký ten pátek dobývá extraligu s třineckými Oceláři. Zkušený zadák v pátečním duelu v Liberci zaokrouhlil počet svých startů v české nejvyšší soutěži na 200. Všechny navíc absolvoval v dresu jediného týmu. „Ani bych o tom nevěděl,“ říkal po utkání kapitán úřadujících šampiónů.

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Hokejová kariéra Lukáše Krajíčka bere dech. NHL, reprezentace a nyní už 200. zápas v extralize. „Ani bych o tom nevěděl,“ přiznal zkušený bek, který všechna utkání v nejvyšší soutěži odehrál za Třinec. Významné jubileum by však nejspíše vyměnil za lepší výkon svého celku. „Takové číslo určitě potěší, je to fajn informace, ale mrzí hlavně porážka. Byl to pro nás hořký zápas.“

Zároveň se kapitán mistrů z letošního jara za nic neschovával. „Musím uznat, že Liberec byl celý zápas lepším týmem,“ pokyvoval Krajíček po utkání s Bílými Tygry, které pro Oceláře skončilo neslavnou prohrou 0:5. „Vše k tomu směřovalo. Nehráli jsme dobře.“

Liberec – Oceláři 5:0 KARTA ZÁPASU
Gólový účet dlouho vyrovnaného utkání otevřel sváteční střelec šelem Petr Kolmann. „Měli jsme situaci tři na dva, kterou jsem podporoval. Puk se odrazil za bránu, tak jsem pro něj dojel. Poté se kotouč dostal nahoru, já si najel do brankoviště a snažil se tečovat,“ popisoval úvodní trefu liberecký hráč zápasu.

Definitivní klid však šelmám dodala až závěrečná dvacetiminutovka, v níž šelmy čtyřmi góly definitivně otupily tlak Ocelářů. „Když člověk vede 1:0, tak je to takové ošemetné. Po druhé trefě už to z nás spadlo, více jsme si věřili. Následoval třetí gól a bylo v podstatě rozhodnuto,“ pokračoval Kolmann.

Petr Kolmann: V našem týmu je síla
Vítězná série Severočechů tak vesele trvá dál, což se podle Kolmanna odráží i na atmosféře v týmu. „Předtím jsme prohráli pětkrát za sebou, byli jsme psychicky dole. O to víc si teď vážíme toho, že vítězíme, a budeme tu šňůru chtít co nejvíce natáhnout,“ komentoval desátou výhru v řadě liberecký čahoun.

V Třinci naopak čtvrtá prohra z posledních pěti duelů znamená zdvižený prst. „Hokej je o bojovnosti a pokud tam nebude tento atribut, vyhrávat nebudeme. Každý v extralize chce Třinec porazit a teď je to vidět,“ hledal příčiny posledních krachů Ocelářů Krajíček. „V neděli proti Plzni musí být náš přístup úplně jiný!“

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