Friday, October 21, 2016


No one expected the Cats to go 82-0 or undefeated......

They did play well at times. Down 0-2 the Panthers took over the game and tied it up at 2-2. Jagr popped his 750th NHL goal and all looked good. That is until The Caps took it back. Early on the Panthers allowed the Caps to camp out in front of Luongo and he had no chance on either of the first two against. It looked like it could be a blow out. I considered changing the channel but I saw the effort the Panthers displayed and it looked like they were still confident. Sure enough, they scored only to have the play blown dead milliseconds before the puck crossed the line.

I know the Bolts and Caps are both really good teams so these two games were excellent tests for the Panthers to see how they measure up. The results show us just how much work that needs to be done. I know it's a long season and with ten new players on the roster it'll take some time for the Panthers to gel but it's clear to me that the Panthers are not where they need to be just yet.

The Sun Sentinel recaps Jagr's 750th and the loss.

The Miami Herald does the same.

Like yesterday I'm not going to post a bunch of links to stories about the loss. Let's just move on. I have a tee time tomorrow that I'm really looking forward to. My buddy George is the course superintendent and they've just completed a renovation on all 18 holes. Boca Dunes was already a pretty good course and I expect it's even better now. If you're on twitter follow @hockeyangrybird and I'll post a link so people can follow my round live as I play. Tee time is 8:04 so if you're up, look for the link.

I started playing golf in 2010 after making fun of it for over 40 years. I always told me buddies if you are playing golf you're not winning championships. Well, my last game was in 2004 and I have to admit, I'm addicted. If I could I'd play every day. Oh, I won four ice hockey championships so if my delayed entry to the sport means I can't break 80 (except once) I'm OK with it. Those championships still make me smile.

----}- Bird

Thursday, October 20, 2016


How great are you if you never win a Cup?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that Alex Ovechkin sucks, I'm asking just how important is winning a Cup in regards to a players greatness. Last season I posted on twitter that Henrik Lundqvist, the NY Rangers King of a keeper just might be the best goalie ever to not win a Cup. A Swedish championship and an Olympic Gold medal are both nice, but unless he wins a cup he'll not be in the same category as let's say Marty Brodeur or Patrick Roy. The same might be said about Ovie. Sure, no one can deny his goal scoring ability. You can see when he's out hitting anything that moves that he cares. But for one reason or another, Ovie and the Caps can't seem to succeed in the playoffs.

The Caps have had the best record in the regular season before and still crapped out. Years from now when people compare Ovie to let's say Sid the Kid, the two Pens Cups will tip the scales in Crosby's favor. Unless Ovie can get his name on a Cup he will be thought of as a really great goal scorer and a fast, tough competitor but not a champion. He'd be more like Eric Lindross, tons of talent and potential but no rings. It must really bug him.........and that makes me smile. His wife is pretty hot though, and I bet that makes him smile.

The Sun Sentinel went overboard with their twelve sentence game preview.

The Miami Herald talks about our Kid Defenseman, Mike Matheson.

Due to time constraints I'm not going to look for more game preview articles today. Instead, let's look back to last season when the Panthers took the Caps to overtime and then the shoot out. I won't repeat my dislike for it.......the video below does show how exciting the fans think the shoot out is, especially when it takes the entire bench from both teams to finally get a winner.

Enjoy tonight's game and join in on the live tweets I'll be posting. ----}- Bird

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


It was a friday night and I had to fill in for a team in the playoffs.

Their keeper was Jewish and observing a holiday. I was called in as I had played with a few of these guys in a league run in the Syosset rink then known as the Long Island Skating Academy but now is called Ice Works. It's the NY Islanders practice rink. This game was played at Long Beach Arena where the NY Rangers once practiced before the Isles joined the NHL.

I think the score was 2-2 after three periods. Because it was an elimination playoff game there was a ten minute overtime. Then a second overtime. Then the shootout began. Seven or eight shooters in I gave up a goal but my guys tied it up. This kept going until I finally let in another and we didn't score. I was heartbroken. This was such a well played game, back and forth action with both myself and the opposing keeper keeping our teams even with big saves. The players left it all out on the ice. It must have been fun to watch these two teams battle it out. The winner was going to the finals.

To this day I'm still bothered by this and it's why I still hate the shoot out.

It's no way to end a playoff game. We don't settle an NBA game with a three point contest or an MLB game with a home run hitting contest so it's no surprise that as a keeper, the shoot out leaves such a bad taste in my mouth. That game should have gone until someone scored a real goal.

That said, the Panthers lost in a shootout to the Bolts in a game that was over with less than a minute to go. Give the Bolts credit, they mounted a comeback and won fair and square. The Cats not only had opportunities to win it in regulation but killed off a power play in OT to get to the shoot out. As I've mentioned, I don't like a trend I'm seeing with the Panthers not able to kill off the opposition when they have a chance to. Giving two points to a division rival is never a good thing.

Miami Herald has a photo gallery to view from last night's game. Here's their recap.

The Sun Sentinel suggests the Cats blew a lead.

The Rat Trick recaps the Panther's first loss of the year.

Quite honestly I thought the Panther goal in the shoot out should not have counted. The Refs saw otherwise. Not everyone agrees with the call.

I'll take a well earned night off to watch tonight's debate featuring two of the most disliked people ever to run for president.......on second thought, maybe I should just drink.

----}- Bird

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


The battle for Florida resumes tonight in Tampa Bay as the Cats roll into town to take on the Bolts.

Well before I moved to Florida, my Dad and Mom left Long Island for the west coast of Florida and ended up in Spring Hill which is a hour north of Tampa Bay. Soon after they arrived the Lightning joined the NHL thanks to Phil Esposito getting Japanese investors to spring for some cash. Phil says he kept saying Hockey, hockey but thought they heard Sake, sake. True or not, the Bolts entered the league and Dad started to go to games. It didn't take long for him to become a fan and I still remember him telling me about this little guy who he hoped would make the team out of camp. Martin St. Louis no only made the team but eventually became captain and helped the team win it's only Stanley Cup in 2004. I know, I go out of my way to mention how I was at game seven that year and watched them win right in front of my eyes. I had attended NY Ranger playoff games before but had never been to a Cup final let alone a Stanley Cup Game Seven.

Many Ranger fans who read Hockeybird got upset with me for speaking kindly about the Bolts. I'll say this, they have a fanbase, A Cup and when you go to games it's not filled with fans of opposing teams. If they can do it SO CAN THE PANTHERS!

That said, I'm not sure this is on the same level as a Canadiens - Leafs game or a Ranger - Islander game. But it's up there and getting better.

Unlike the old days where players had off season jobs, these guys make some cash. Enough to buy a nice house on the water.

The Sun Sentinel has two articles here and here.

Game preview from the Litter Box Cats.

Did you know you can Uber to tonight's game?

The Bolts also have two good keepers.

"I don't even think the governor knows what the Governor's Cup is," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "There is no rivalry. There's no history. It's amazing."

I'll tell ya this......if these two teams ever face off in the playoffs, the rivalry you seek will be there with intensity.

Beers in the fridge and ready to go. I'll be live tweeting at @hockeyangrybird tonight. Follow along for the mad capped fun!

----}- Bird

Read more here:

Monday, October 17, 2016


No need for OT this time.

That's me at the Nassau Coliseum during my playing days

Saturday night's win over the Detroit Redwings was satisfying in that even though the Cats allowed the Wings to hang around too long like game one, they did finally take advantage of the their out shooting and out playing the opposition. On Jagr bobble head night I was hoping that when the Wings pulled their keeper the Cats would feed Jagr so he could score his 750th NHL goal. Unfortunately it didn't happen.

The Miami Herald thinks the new guys are meshing together pretty well. A 2-0 start does that to a team ya know.

Sports Illustrated talks about the Captain and how he's filled that role before.

This article questions Derek MacKenzie as the Cats Captain. True, Roberto Luongo was captain of Vancouver and Jagr captained the New York Rangers but both would rather lend their leadership in a different way. In fact, there's plenty of leadership on this team and the youth have teachers for the future. Derek will be a fine captain and while he will make an excellent role model for the kids he will also take some responsibility away from Louie and JJ leaving them to do what they do best without the distraction of being captain. Personally, I like it.

This preview of Saturday's game reminds us that Luongo now has 438 NHL wins. The Sun Sentinel also had the game recap here.

Since there's little print & online media covering the Cats down here, I expect to get some coverage from Canada during the season and from the writers of other teams I used to follow when covering the Rangers. Here's and a Bobble head video.

Here's the CBC which I'll link to from time to time.

The Cats hit the road tomorrow to face cross state rivals, the Tampa Bay Lightning. These games can get chippy and hotly contested. I'm really looking forward to this early test.

----}- Bird