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It really didnt come as a surprise that the Florida Panthers fired head coach Kevin Dineen Friday, but its not like a change in the coaching staff is going to magically cure what ails this team. Cheap NFL Jerseys China . Any time a team fails to meet expectations, coaches end up on the chopping block, but that leads to the question: why would there have been expectations put upon the Florida Panthers for the 2013-2014 season? Go back to the 2011-2012 season, when the Panthers won the Southeast Division, with 94 points in 82 games, despite recording 32 regulation and overtime wins, a total that tied non-playoff teams Buffalo, Carolina (who finished last in the Southeast Division) and Colorado for 20th in the league. The Panthers also had a minus-24 goal differential, so anything beyond the point total in the standings suggested they were not really a playoff-calibre team. Consider them a prime example of a team not being what its record is. Then the Panthers proceeded to lose in double-overtime of Game Seven (after losing in overtime in Game Six) in the first round of the playoffs against the eventual Eastern-Conference-Champion New Jersey Devils, making it easy to sell the idea that the Panthers were "this close" to competing with the top teams in the league. It needs to be noted, however, that the Panthers overachieved in 2011-2012, to even generate mediocre results disguised as playoff-worthy. Florida needed to spend a lot of money in the summer of the 2011 season just to get above the salary floor and, as a result, cobbled together a make-shift roster, handing out some contracts that had surprisingly long-term implications. Sure, Florida signed Tomas Fleischmann (four years, $18-million), and he scored a career-high 61 points in 2011-2012, and has generally been a productive scorer since. C Marcel Goc (three years, $5.19-million) has been okay and G Jose Theodore (two years, $3-million) was a low-risk move, but the Panthers also inked RW Scottie Upshall (four years, $14-million), D Ed Jovanovski (four years, $16.5-million) and LW Sean Bergenheim (four years, $11-million), none of whom has provided a decent return on investment. (Injuries have admittedly played a part in their lack of production.) The Panthers also dipped into GM Dale Tallons past and traded for some former Chicago Blackhawks: D Brian Campbell, RW Kris Versteeg and RW Tomas Kopecky. That roster didnt have any business harbouring playoff expectations yet, with Dineen taking over for Peter DeBoer behind the bench, the Panthers defied the odds and reached the postseason, thanks in large part to Fleischmann, Versteeg and Stephen Weiss, their top line that combined for 70 goals and 172 points. Campbell added 53 points while playing nearly 27 minutes per game. That quartet made up the entire list of Florida Panthers to record more than 33 points that season, so there wasnt a lot coming from the supporting cast. The 2013 season brought much worse results, particularly when injuries limited Weiss and Versteeg to a total of 27 games and the goaltending went from decent, ranking 11th with a .914 save percentage, to a league-worst .887 save percentage in the lockout-shortened 2013 season. Those injuries, and subpar goaltending, over a small-sample season may have been what led Tallon to still harbour expectations for this team coming into the 2013-2014 season. Or maybe its because there is a new owner calling the shots that the Panthers couldnt simply see the 2013-2014 season as one for development of their young talent. After all, the Panthers have added some promising young players including LW Jonathan Huberdeau, C Aleksander Barkov and C Nick Bjugstad, who are all playing significant minutes. D Erik Gudbranson, the third overall pick in 2010, and D Dmitry Kulikov, the 14th pick in 2009 are still works in progress, but young enough to be part of what the Panthers are trying to build. G Jacob Markstrom is supposed to be the goaltender of the future, even if the 23-year-old has struggled this year. Forwards Vincent Trocheck and Drew Shore and defencemen Alex Petrovic and Colby Robak have been in the AHL, playing for new head coach Peter Horacheck. Trocheck, who has 11 points in 11 games as a first-year pro and nearly made the Panthers out of training camp, could get his opportunity soon. In the summer of 2013, the Panthers didnt spend big money, but brought in a lot of veterans on low-money deals. Defencemen Tom Gilbert has been a bargain as a top-four defenceman while Matt Gilroy and checking forward Jesse Winchester have been decent. Veteran forwards Brad Boyes and Scott Gomez along with blueliner Ryan Whitney have not been effective and goaltender Tim Thomas hasnt been able to stay healthy in his attempt to return to action after a year off. As a result, the Panthers have the leagues 28th-ranked goal differential (minus-1.36 per game), ahead of only the Edmonton Oilers and Buffalo Sabres. Unfortunately, the goaltending hasnt gotten any better this season, ranking 28th with an .885 save percentage, and no team can win with goaltending of that calibre, let alone a team that isnt scoring at the other end of the ice and the Panthers rank 29th in 5-on-5 shooting percentage when the score is close. The good news, according to the probabilities of advanced stats, is that the Panthers arent likely to maintain such terrible shooting and save percentages all season, so they are due to get some better results; a little "puck luck" as it were. Of course, being better than their current 3-9-4 record doesnt mean all that much. When those young players start to control play more consistently and the Panthers start getting adequate goaltending, they may turn the corner, but thats going to require patience and the expectations placed on this team dont necessarily allow for patience. Trouble is, when a general manager makes moves that appear to reveal a lack of patience, its fair to start wondering if the next one on the chopping block will be the GM. Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook. Cheap Jerseys China . With a pair of freshmen leading the way -- and breaking some long-standing school records in the process -- the Panthers edged Bowling Green 30-27 on Thursday night in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. Cheap NFL Jerseys . With their star forward out for a second straight night with an unspecified upper-body injury, Washington won its second game in a row with a 3-2 a shootout victory over the Florida Panthers on Saturday night. http://www.cheapjerseyschinanfl.us.com/ . Vancouver Canucks trade Cam Neely & 1st Round Pick to Boston Bruins for Barry Pederson (1986)Few remember that Neely, the original power forward, spent the first three years of his career with the Canucks. BALTIMORE -- Paul Blair, the eight-time Gold Glove centre fielder who helped the Baltimore Orioles win a pair of World Series titles while gliding to make catches that former teammates still marvel at more than four decades later, has died. He was 69. Blair died Thursday night at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, according to a hospital spokeswoman. Blairs wife, Gloria, told The Baltimore Sun, that Blair played a round of golf with friends Thursday morning and later lost consciousness at a celebrity bowling tournament in Pikesville. "Paul was honestly too tired, but he never says no," Gloria Blair told the newspaper. "During a practice round, he threw two or three balls, then sat down and told a friend, I feel funny and kind of collapsed. He lost consciousness and they called 911 and the ambulance took him to (Sinai), but the doctors there told me they never got a pulse." A member of the Orioles Hall of Fame, the popular Blair patrolled the outfield from 1964-76, playing key parts when Baltimore won its first two World Series crowns in 1966 and 1970. He won two more titles with the New York Yankees in 1977 and 1978 and also played for Cincinnati. In an era before highlight reels were a daily staple on TV, Blair frequently made catches that became the talk of baseball. Thin and quick, he played with a flair -- at the end of an inning, he would tuck his glove up against his chest for a regal trot back to the dugout. "He played very shallow. People talked about how Willie Mays played shallow, and Paul did the same thing. He played with assuredness," Don Buford, an All-Star left fielder who played alongside Blair for five seasons in Baltimore, told The Associated Press late Thursday night. "When you talk about the greatest defensive centre fielders, he was right in the mix," Buford said. "With me in left and Frank Robinson in right, we played toward the lines and gave him a lot of room. He could really go get it." In 17 seasons in the majors, he hit .250 with 134 home runs, 620 RBIs and 171 stolen bases. Blair appeared in six World Series, two AAll-Star games and won Gold Gloves in 1967 and 1969-75.dddddddddddd In the 1966 World Series, Blair homered for the only run in Baltimores Game 3 victory over Los Angeles. The underdog Orioles completed an unlikely sweep the next day, with Blair jumping high above the fence at Memorial Stadium to snare Jim Lefebvres bid for a tying home run in the eighth inning. It was a timely grab, too -- Blair had just been inserted in the game as a defensive replacement. Blair caught a routine fly by Lou Johnson with two runners on base for the final out in a 1-0 victory in Game 4, and leaped high in the air after the clinching grab to begin Baltimores celebration. Blair led the Orioles in the 1970 World Series with a .474 average in Baltimores five-game victory over Cincinnati. That year, he hit three home runs and had six RBIs in a game against the Chicago White Sox. Beaned by a pitch in late May that season, Blair came back from the injury to boost the Birds. Ever mindful of being hit in the face, he would shield his face at first base when retreating to the bag on pickoff throws. "It affected his hitting a little bit after that, but not his fielding," Buford said. Inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame in 1984, Blair coached Fordham in 1983 and at Coppin State from 1998-2002. He had a heart attack in December 2009. Blair played baseball and basketball and ran track at Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles. Blair was originally drafted by the New York Mets and spent one season in their minor league system. The Orioles drafted him from the Mets in late 1962. He fit neatly into a team built on strong defence -- led by third baseman Brooks Robinson -- and pitching, and Baltimore reached the World Series four times in six years. He was surrounded by stars, yet a picture or drawing of Blair often made the cover of the Orioles game programs. Friendly in the clubhouse, he was called "Motormouth" for his constant banter. "Hed be talking about something, and maybe youd get two words in, and then hed be off starting another conversation," Buford recalled. cheap nfl jerseys cheap jerseys cheap jerseys cheap nfl jerseys wholesale jerseys ' ' ' 
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